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MADISON — Non-Friction likes to have fun.

The Kanawha County-based group of seasoned musicians enjoys the festival atmosphere.

“We really focus on crowd participation and we feed off of that energy,” said lead vocalist Amy Bare. “We like to have a good time, and I think you can see that in our shows. ”

Non-Friction will open for former Eric Church lead guitarist Eldon Huff on June 26 at the 2021 West Virginia Coal Festival, which celebrates 27 years of the event.

Bare comes from a musical family, so fronting a band came naturally.

“I come from a family where my dad sang and my mom played the piano and sang in church since she was 9 years old, and she’s 76 now,” she said. “My two sisters sing and I sing, so it was just a natural thing to do.”

Her first band with her sisters was called Bare Essentials — a play on the family name.

From that band came Split 6, and then Non-Friction — featuring lead guitarist and vocalist Randy Crouser, who has been a consistent fixture in the Charleston music scene for decades.

“We don’t do this for the money,” said Crouser. “It’s a real passion. We like to fine tune our shows and offer different material than other bands who do what we do. We put a lot of work into what we do and in the selection process of our material. We like to establish a rapport with our audience.”

Crouser began his musical journey in middle school, where he played the upright bass. He later graduated from the old Stonewall Jackson High School on the west side of Charleston.

“By the time I was 16, I was playing in the local club circuit,” he said. “In the mid-1980s, I put a band together of my own called Sleeper, and that is when I switched from bass to guitar and moved on from that into other things.”

Crouser’s musical resume includes stints in bands Santa Cruz, The Esquires and a nine-year stint in Panama Rose.

“There came a time when I was tired of doing the private-party-band thing and wanted to do something that meant more to me musically,” he said. “That is when Amy and I decided to form Non-Friction.”

Crouser and Bare say their set for the West Virginia Coal Festival will be rooted in 1980s rock.

“We also do some stuff from the 1970s and the 1990s, so we’ll have something for everyone,” she said. “People often say that our song choices take them back and they like hearing a female vocal take on what was originally a male vocal. We have fun with that.”

The band is known to sprinkle a country song or two in its set as well.

“We cover a broad spectrum, but our focus is ’80s and ‘90s rock, which is now considered the new classic rock,” he said, laughing.

The band features Chuck Brown on drums and backing vocals, Michael Noel on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Michael Ross on bass and backing vocals.

Bare handles the lion’s share of the lead vocals for the group.

Crouser and Bare also perform as an acoustic duo as “Bare Bones Crow.” Crouser operates a recording studio in Cross Lanes in his spare time called “The Crow’s Nest.”

Beyond the West Virginia Coal Festival, Non-Friction’s performance schedule includes:

  • July 10 — The Bucket in Dunbar
  • July 24 — EZ Street in St. Albans
  • Aug. 21 — Water Ways Park in Julian
  • Aug. 28 — Calacino’s in Beckley.

Non-Friction can be found on Facebook, YouTube and can be reached via email at

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at or at 304-307-2401.

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