Search
Username
Pin It
Favorite

Banjo, Plus 

Plucking around Supermule

Diversifying appears to be a trend that the Bay Area bluegrass scene has embraced. Take for example the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. Founded in 2001 by the late Warren Hellman, a banjo-loving billionaire, the free festival has expanded beyond strictly picking and, in recent years, grown to include distinctly non-bluegrass bands including Ryan Adams, Yo La Tango and Built To Spill. This year's lineup even boasts Social Distortion.

This trend is confirmed by the Bay Area born Supermule, a seven-piece band of diverse players that are anything but strictly bluegrass. Proof that they're a non-traditional bunch is a funky, string-filled cover of Bill Withers' "Use Me" on their new EP Northern White Clouds.

"What's special about everyone in this group is that we all like to play a lot of different kinds of music," explained banjo player Jim Chayka. "The whole hybrid thing with this group really got started when Rich (Armstrong, multi-instrumentalist best known for his bluesy trumpet/flugelhorn and trombone playing) and I got together to experiment with some banjo and trumpet jams, and we really liked how the paring sounded. It's great to have bluegrass as our common denominator, but it's also great to work with a group of players who can bring a lot of different vibes to something like a two or three-chord traditional song."

With an inclination toward chugging train percussion and jazzy vocal melodies matched with skillful string and horn leads, the band has found a way to take turns showcasing the sheer talent of each of its members in unorthodox arrangements of covers and crafting their own original hoedown creations.

"There is a lot of versatility in each of us, but I think each person's artistic wellspring draws from slightly different genres," said Chayka. "Alisa Rose, for example, is a badass fiddle player but also has a background in classical music and a degree from the SF Conservatory of Music—as well as a Grammy nomination for her classical contemporary work with Quartet San Francisco. Mike Emerson, our keys player, is also an incredible musician who spent years shedding the work of Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and lots of other jazz and R&B greats, but he also spends time touring with Carlene Carter and so really gets Americana and how to channel his bedrock influences to work within traditional music. I could gush about everyone else too, but we're a seven-piece band so I'll stop there."

Supermule

9 pm. Fri., Sept. 5

Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.

$5.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Trending in the Alternative Press

Newsletter Signup

Cascades Reader Logo Cascades Reader

Get your daily dose of news for Central Oregon and beyond, delivered to your inbox five days a week. Powered by the Source Weekly.

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

  • Loving his Large Band

    • Jun 26, 2019
    By the end of his Amphitheater show, Lyle Lovett wants you to know more about each of his (many) touring musicians More »
  • Source Material

    • Jun 26, 2019
    A few of music's infectious highlights from the month of June to keep you plugged in More »
  • It's in Their Blood

    • Jun 19, 2019
    Ahead of their show at 4 Peaks, Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers talks about growing up in a musical family More »
  • More »

More by Brianna Brey

Readers also liked…

  • Universally Shared

    Universally Shared

    Cloverdayle, a Nashville duo with Bend roots, shares its latest single, "Scars."
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • Statewide Cred

    Statewide Cred

    Joe Rohrbacher of Just Joe's Music and Jazz at Joe's receives the Oregon Music Educators Association's Outstanding Contributor Award
    • Jan 24, 2018

© 2019 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation