Deignan’s sound, heavily influenced by The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, mingled between southern rock and soulful pop. After playing “Turn Back Around” by Tracy Chapman, Deignan’s band segued into “Meet Virginia” by Train.
It was Daniela Guzman’s first ever First Friday experience and she and her husband, Carlos Guzman, brought her parents Patricia and Marcelo Mendez who were visiting from Chile.
“(The concert) is a big deal for Rome,” said Guzman. “Everybody comes and it will be fun to do something different, too.”
Guzman said she has only heard good things about First Friday Concerts.
“I always hear about it and I never have the time, but now (my parents are) here so I decided to come see what it is,” she said. “I mean, I have heard good things about it all the time.”
The music, she said, was the type that could be enjoyed by a diverse crowd.
A few yards away, Shay Momon of Rome and Victor Abercrombie were watching their children play with toy trucks on a blanket.
Momon and Abercrombie said they came with their wives and children because of the family environment.
“It’s family friendly,” said Momon as he watched his 3-year-old son, Colton, and 6-year-old daughter, Kaydence, play. “She’s enjoying the music,” he said nodding to his daughter, Shaylin, 8.
“It’s good for the kids and for us to get out in a nice little family atmosphere,” said Abercrombie, who brought his 3-year-old, Brad, and 6-year-old, William.
“I think it’s good all around music that everybody can listen to. Just about any music that’s live is better,” said Abercrombie.
Herrick Kroeger of Rome said he decided to hit the concert after finishing his shift at Blue Sky Outfitters.
“It’s easy enough to walk out the back door and enjoy a little off time,” he said. “I love the idea of First Friday, every cute little town in America does it.”
Kroeger said the band’s bassist, Chris Price, was his old roommate and he enjoys The Ben Deignan Band’s sound.
“They do a lot of covers that range anywhere from new age pop music that would appeal to teenagers all the way up to old school Michael Jackson or classic rock,” he said. “It’s a good variety of music, all great covers so I think they appeal to everybody.”
Kroeger said Deignan’s voice is great enough to draw anyone in.
“The dude’s vocals are amazing,” he said. “Wait until he covers a Michael Jackson song, it’ll blow you away. Very rarely can you see a little white guy belt out soul like that. He’s just full of soul and real down to earth too.”