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What's Up Magazine

Music Review: The Cheaters

Jul 18, 2012 06:22PM ● By Anonymous


After a few years of band member comings and goings, the group’s current lineup consists of lead singer and guitarist Jason Morton, lead guitarist Brett Wilmer, drummer Brian Mirsch, and bassist Scott Hommel.

Morton played his first show with the group in 2004. “For the next five years we went from playing bars to touring Europe, Japan, and Guam, and opening for ZZ Top at the Baltimore Arena, alongside Stray Cats, The Pretenders, and REO Speedwagon,” he says. “It was crazy, and happened so fast!”

The Cheaters developed their current roster in 2009. And boy, is it working.

“Since bringing on Scott and Brian, we have played more than 100 shows together,” says Morton. “The new lineup adds so much more to our sound.”

A genuine take on southern rock, The Cheaters’ music is the type of stuff that makes you want to hop in the car and go for a long, windows-down road trip. It’s music that seems as natural on a classic rock station as it does an opening act for Bret Michaels (which the group did at the State Fair in 2010).

“Our biggest influences are artists like The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynrd, CCR, Marshall Tucker, and Tom Petty,” says Morton. “We really dig and respect the bands that put their heart and soul into their music.”

And that’s just what The Cheaters try to do with theirs. All musicians since a young age, Mirsch, Hommel, Morton, and Wilmer put everything they’ve got into their work. It shows in their live performances.

“We have really made it a point this year to make our shows as memorable as possible,” says Morton.

Eager to show their audiences that everyone in the band can both play and sing, The Cheaters often bring a variety of instruments on stage. During one song, for example, Wilmer might play a steel guitar while the rest of the group plays electric. For another, Hommel could switch things up and sing leads.

“It’s so important for us to know that our fans feel good about our music, not just think it sounds good,” says Morton.

But The Cheaters don’t just leave their energy on stage. They pour it into their records, too. “We really make an effort to not just write great songs, but also great albums,” says Morton. “A lot of artists really seem to focus too much on that one song, and then the rest of the album is just filler.”

The Cheaters have a lot of great things coming up in the next few months. They’re set to release their third album this summer, and will follow it up with a European tour. Be sure to check out their homecoming show at Island Bay Day in Centreville on October 13th. And, if you want to catch them before they leave, head to The Whiskey in Annapolis on July 21st.

To find out more about The Cheaters, visit