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Three Maine brothers and a friend making a name for themselves as 12/OC

Jack, Will, and Reid Nichols, and their family friend, George Chaison-Lapine, form the band 12/OC.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine has a lively music scene, and three young brothers and their friend are working hard to stand out in it. Their band, 12/OC, recently had one of its biggest gigs yet when they opened for country music star Scotty McCreery at Portland's Carnaval ME

The band name is a unique one. Their uncle christened them 12/OC after a carpentry mistake. 

"We have a camp on Moosehead Lake, and we were up there building a bunkhouse," Will Nichols, 20, explained as I spoke to the band at Erik's Church in Windham, one of their favorite places to perform. 

Instead of framing the floor 16 inches on center, a standard in carpentry, they framed the floor joists 24 inches on center. What resulted was a floor that bounced like a trampoline. The brothers went under the bunkhouse to fix their mistake, this time overcompensating, and added new supports that were 12 inches on center. Their uncle suggested it as a name for a business, but Will adopted it for the band. 

The brothers, Jack, 23, Will, 20, and Reid, 17, learned music from their father when they were barely old enough to ride bikes. Jack and Will picked up a few chords around the kitchen table and then, as big brothers do, inspired Reid to follow suit. 

When Reid was 12 years old, his older brothers realized he could sing while messing around with a karaoke machine. They've been pushing him to the front of the stage ever since. 

Several years ago, Reid and Will started to get a little more serious about their music, performing their Bluegrass-inspired sound at open mic nights with their father, using each stage as a chance to grow their confidence and their sound. But it wasn't until Jack Nichols asked an old high school buddy, George Chaison-Lapine, to come to play drums for them that 12/OC really started to find its rhythm. 

"I had played drums in college. I said, 'Let me see if I can pick it back up,' and then we started playing in my mom's basement, and it felt like a switch went off. And we haven’t stopped since," Chaison-Lapine said. 

While they started out playing covers, the band is now performing more of their original songs, which Reid Nichols primarily writes.

"For 17 years old, he is one of the best songwriters I have ever heard. Songs he plays me once and I'm like, 'That could be on the radio.' It's unbelievable," said proud eldest brother Jack Nichols. 

Their popularity is growing and with it are the opportunities to play at bigger and bigger venues. Though the guys haven't quit their day jobs yet, they all hope that music will be their full-time job one day. 

To find out more about the band and their upcoming shows, click here.

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