Don Merkle & The Blacksmiths, which arose from the ashes of Bareknuckle Champions… is a 5 piece band out of Columbia, SC. Acoustic guitarist/lead vocalist Donald Merckle and bassist/vocalist Kevin Pettit founded the band during the summer of 2010. BKC is rounded out by Chris Lawther/banjo, David Kelly/drums and Tim McManus/Accordion and tin whistle.
BKC’s sound is equal parts Bluegrass, Celtic rock and American Punk, a sound that has been honed and updated since Merckle and Pettit began playing together in the Celtic Rock band LOCH NESS JOHNNY in 1999. Lawther and McManus also performed with LNJ for several years so the switch to the rawer more energetic BKC was a natural transition.
Since their first performance in 2010, BARE KNUCKLE CHAMPIONS have played the 5 Points St. Patrick’s Day Festival, The CMC Steel Rhythm on the River Concert Series and venues in Augusta, Columbia, Charleston and Charlotte. BKC has been interviewed and performed on both WXRY 99X and WWNQ 94.3 “The River”
The 5 men who comprise BKC have a rich history in the Columbia, SC music scene. Chris Lawther was also the banjoist for Bill Wells and the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass and plays guitar wit Tom Hall and the Plowboys, Bentz Kirby and Alien Carnival and Jackaroe. David Kelly also plays drums for Riptide. Tim McManus has literally performed all over the world and performs locally as a solo artist. Merckle also founded American gun and performed with them for over 5 years releasing 3 albums while Pettit most recently performed with The Blues/Rock band Delta Swagger. Each of the members of this band has between 15 and 25 years of experience as professional musicians with countless recordings and live performances under their belts so you can be assured that every performance is well worth your money!
“Raucous”, “Creative” and “High-Energy” all describe this band but fall far short of fully capturing the spirit of a Bare Knuckle live performance.