With hoots and hollers there is much abuzz as Hope’s Night Owl Country Band is set to help ring in the New Year starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday at The Eagles in Columbus.

“We are local for New Year’s this year, which is good,” says lead singer Matt Lee with a chuckle.

It has been an eventful year for everyone and as 2021 winds down, there’s still time and room to shake off the residual weariness and staleness of a seemingly lingering pandemic year.

For the band’s drummer, Casey Johnson, this show is one that will bring him full circle.

“My love affair [with music] kind of started at the Eagles watching my grandfather, Mike Potter, and his band,” Johnson recalls. “He always joked with me that one day I would be in one of his bands. But he passed away in 2007 and I never got the opportunity.”

Johnson says in the time he has spent with the band, guitarist Tim Dooley has certainly made an impression on the young drummer.

“If there is anyone who reminds me of my grandpa it is Tim,” Johnson says.”We talk about music and listen to the blues. He reminds me of my grandpa in a lot of ways.”

The 1974 Gibson Les Paul custom guitar was Potter’s go-to on and off stage for more than 30 years, Johnson says.

Dooley says he is counting the days ‘til the show for several reasons, but chief among them is the opportunity to play the Les Paul guitar.

In addition to NOCB hits, the guys have a set list that is guaranteed to raise the roof.

True to Night Owl fashion, there is always a room for tradition and this New Year’s is no different.

Right after the final notes of “Auld Lang Syne” have almost faded to a whisper there will be a strum of the guitar followed by “American girls… American guys” – the opening lines for the 2001 Toby Keith hit “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).”

It has become evident to the band over the years that the song is one that tends to get people riled up – in a good way.

“When we play that song in South Carolina, the place blows up,” Dooley says. “it is like a MTV video… when they had videos. The crowd does the jumping thing, where they are jumping up and down with their hands in the air. The whole place shakes, it’s crazy. I think people are really proud to be Americans still, even though we have our problems.”

But problems are afar as the band focuses on good vibes and rockin’ tunes to welcome 2022.

“It gives everyone a good party feel,” Lee says. “So that is the one we do right after the strike of midnight. When we start singing ‘American Girls and American guys,’ everyone starts getting rowdy. It’s a lot of fun.”

The band is not only stoked to be playing back home at the Eagles this year, but they are also looking forward to a fresh start with 2022 – which they agree has to fare far better than this year or 2020.

This upcoming year has a lot to offer NOCB fans, Lee says, including new festival performances, new material and headlining news – as well as a much-anticipated return to Heritage Days in 2022.

“We are excited about bringing on a new year,” Lee says. “2020 was rough, 2021 was better, but 2022 I think it will be the best.”