PIQUA — They came into the world together, went through school together, work together, perform together, and if the Younce brothers have any hand in their destiny, they’ll make their mark in Nashville together.
Natives of Piqua, the 21-year-old sons of Tom and Angie Younce share the special bond that comes with brotherhood, and the even more unique tie that comes with twindom is evident when they speak of each other.
“We feel we could make it individually, but we want to focus on being a duo,” Justin Younce said of himself and his twin, Jared. “We’re a team; we’re in this together.”
The Younces embarked on their musical journey about a decade ago, when they saved up their birthday money to purchase their first pawnshop guitar. By 14, they were performing at open mic nights in Piqua and Troy, and a year later, they got their first paid gig, which Justin remembers quite clearly.
“Our parents had to drive us there,” he said, with a laugh. “It was at Heck Yeah! on 25-A (in Piqua).”
Some might recognize the twosome from their performance at one of last year’s Rock Piqua! Riverfront Concerts, where they and their band, ReFlektion, served up a mix of country covers and originals that was so well-received that they were invited back this year. The Aug. 19 show in Lock 9 Park will feature ReFlektion opening for Covington crooner, Clark Manson.
“Rock Piqua! gave us our start as a full band, which is totally cool,” Jared said. “It also helps us build a bigger fan base. Justin and I are pretty humble to begin with, but being up there on that big stage made us way more humble and so proud to be in Piqua.”
Justin and Jared are 2014 graduates of Piqua High School, and alumni of the International School of Broadcasting, where they studied audio engineering and sound production, which has given them considerable know-how when producing their own material.
“We record small projects at our house,” Justin said. “And when we record our own album, it helps us know what we’re talking about.”
Like many musicians, the brothers have day jobs — they unload freight for FHI at the Meijer Distribution Center in Tipp City — but that doesn’t mean their craft takes a back seat. Music is, and will always be, their first love.
“We’re very committed,” Justin said. “We work our jobs around our performing schedule as much as possible. We want music to be our main income.”
To that end, the brothers — whose influences include Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, as well as some “new country” artists — have been discussing moving to Nashville in the next year or so.
In their collective minds’ eye, they see themselves not as overnight sensations, but more realistically paying their dues along the way to making a name as singer-songwriters.
“I can see doing some audio engineering and working to pay off college, and do some playing around Nashville,” Jared said. “In maybe five years, I’d like to be opening on someone else’s tour. I’d like us to open for bigger and bigger acts,” Justin said. “Play some bigger fairs and branch out to bigger crowds.”
Their next endeavor will find them in front of a decidedly different crowd than usual — the fancy footwork fans who will attend the annual “Dancing with the Piqua Stars” event presented by Piqua Arts Council on April 22 at A Learning Place.
“I’m not sure how we got involved; I think someone nominated us,” Justin said, chuckling and adding that he and Jared are “definitely not dancers.”
“But we couldn’t pass up the chance to bring attention to the Arts Council and the opportunity to share with people what the Arts Council does for Piqua,” he said.
Jared admitted when he learned they’d been tapped to perform in the event, he, too, initially laughed at the idea of he and his brother cutting a rug in front of an audience.
“But it’s for a great cause. We definitely couldn’t say no,” he said. “We’re pretty funny people, so it should be interesting.”
The brothers have found that learning to dance isn’t the hardest part of preparing for the DWTPS.
“The dancing part is a lot of fun,” Justin said. “The fundraising is really challenging; it’s like a full-time job!”
In addition to hosting DWTPS fundraisers during their shows at Mulligan’s Pub, Justin and Jared will be holding a quarter auction on April 14 in the ballroom of the Fort Piqua Plaza Hotel. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Until then, those who want to know more about this dynamic duo can visit the ReFlektion Facebook page, which includes a schedule of their upcoming shows.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341