Medford natives remain joined together by music

Friends and musicians, Carl Stokking and Dom Grosso first met in the sixth grade.

Left, Carl Stokking and Dom Grosso play their acoustic guitars together.

Soon after Medford native Carl Stokking first bought a Metallica cassette tape at a garage sale and started playing along to it at age 12, he found a friend in fellow middle school musician Dom Grosso. Today, the Shawnee High School Class of 2003 graduates are still performing together in the town they grew up in, most recently at Ott’s Medford on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.

“Medford has always been a great appreciator and tremendous supporter of music,” said Stokking, who had been living in Los Angeles for two years prior to recently moving back to Medford. “It felt good to be home and playing with [Grosso] again. We got some real nice feedback.”

Stokking said Grosso works endlessly on his music schedule throughout the year, and has been very successful with his musical endeavors. Although Grosso lines up gigs all over the state, Ott’s has been scheduling him a lot in the coming months, and he chose to ask Stokking to join him for the Jan. 4 performance.

“Medford has definitely been an influence in my musical progression. There are many great musicians, and many people with different musical tastes, making it easy to discover new music and exchange ideas,” Grosso said. “It’s great that [Stokking and I] are still friends after all these years, able to share in the same passion, and to be able to put it out there for others to hear.”

Able to captivate an audience together, both of the 31-year-olds have also had rewarding, independent musical careers. Stokking’s career has involved singing in choirs and performing in the band from elementary school through high school. He also participated in a few musicals in high school and performed in a few acoustic duos in college. Additionally, Stokking has formed two bands in Philadelphia over the years, named Close To Good and Thunk, and has performed at a few venues while in Los Angeles and released three albums under his own name.

Grosso, whose band is called the Dom Grosso Trio, has been a part of many projects that have ultimately allowed him to play many venues. Collectively, he has recorded four albums between his solo projects and his past band, Whiskey Train. He has also had the opportunity to open for national acts such as Gary Allen at the House of Blues AC and Corey Smith at World Cafe Live Philadelphia.

“I’ve played local venues like Ott’s Medford, P.J. Whelihan’s and Flying W, Johnson’s Farm, along with many venues down the Shore in the summer, playing up to 12 shows a week throughout the past two summers,” said Grosso, who resides in Cape May Court House. “I [also] spent two years in Colorado playing multiple venues throughout the state, as well as traveling to places like Tennessee, Florida, the Carolinas and California to play.”

Finding inspiration from bands such as Metallica, Nirvana, Phish, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mellencamp and Led Zeppelin, Grosso hopes to be able to continue to support his family through playing and performing music. He also hopes to spread his songs and message to people who want to hear and support it, while eventually taking his band on national and international tours to see the world and share the music.

“Performing is a passion of mine,” Grosso said. “I have been playing live shows, writing new music, and I’m in the process of recording a new album entitled ‘Travelin Man.’”

Although Stokking is not involved in a band of his own, he is looking for other musicians who would be interested in performing on his upcoming album. He has also spent the last year or so getting familiar with various music recording softwares, and plans to use them to record his next album. For now, he is enjoying his time playing alongside his longtime friend for fun, and says the two may soon bridge from solely playing acoustics to plugging in the electrics.

“It is definitely something we are doing for fun, but who knows where it will go now that he’s back in town,” Grosso said. “That’s the beauty of music. When you connect with someone, the possibilities are endless.”