For the People | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

For the People 

Missoula-based band The Lil Smokies bring high-energy bluegrass to Bend

Matthew "Rev" Rieger (far left) and the rest of The Lil Smokies satisfy your bluegrass cravings at the Domino Room 4/10. - LISA SICILIANO
  • Lisa Siciliano
  • Matthew "Rev" Rieger (far left) and the rest of The Lil Smokies satisfy your bluegrass cravings at the Domino Room 4/10.

When you hear someone say they love Lil Smokies, they're not always talking about the delightful little sausages covered in BBQ sauce, sometimes wrapped in a crescent roll. In the music world, a love of The Lil Smokies means you're down with bluegrass. The Lil Smokies, hailing primarily from Missoula, Mont., bring their fun energy and quality jams to the Domino Room this week.

"I can't speak for the rest of the group, but the communal and sharing nature of the music—that's what first got me into it," guitarist Matthew "Rev" Rieger says of his love of bluegrass music. Before joining the group two years ago, he discovered his love for the genre at the WinterGrass Festival in Bellevue, Wash.

"I was walking around listening to all of these folks, who didn't know each other, who didn't speak the same language, but were able to sit down and play together for hours because they knew the old tunes. I love the passing of the melody. I just saw how much fun everyone was having—that's what drew me to it."

On their latest album, "Changing Shades," the band takes a more experimental direction, blending bluegrass with different genres and shying away from the traditional sound they embraced in the past. While the music continues to evolve, the band members still share a soft spot for traditional bluegrass music and those who came before them.

"We all come from different backgrounds—musical backgrounds, and one of the common denominators for us is our love for traditional bluegrass," Rieger says.

The Lil Smokies have their work cut out for them in the coming year. Rieger says their year is basically full, working a lot—but that's exactly what he wants to do.

"We're always working on new music, but it's a slow roll," Rieger says. "Seldom do we have the time and creative space. We rely on our vacation time to do that, but vacation time this year has been sparse. Finding creative space in the midst of a dense tour schedule is difficult. We have new material we're playing now, some we're saving for a new record."

With a jam-packed touring schedule, it helps to love what you do. For Rieger, he loves the people he meets on the road.

"Aside from getting to see the wonderful places they live, you share experiences with people you wouldn't have met if not for the music," Rieger says. "Thanks to this, I have lifelong friends just because of the job. Building camaraderie with the band and other musicians you meet on the road. That's the gift that music gives us, is to meet folks all over the country."

After wrapping up their spring tour, The Lil Smokies continue on the road for festival season. They'll be at bluegrass festivals all across the country and then back to Oregon for Northwest String Summit and a spot on the Sisters Folk Festival lineup.

"The people that go to the festivals are a special kind of music lover," Rieger says. "All of these festivals are physically demanding, way out in the country, you have to travel for hours and hours to get there. That sort of fosters a really dedicated group of people who are there for the music. They've made sacrifices for music like we have when we play. I appreciate the people who come out to the festivals. It's my favorite part of the year."

The Lil Smokies
Tues., April 10. 8pm
Domino Room
51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend
$14/adv, $17/door

About The Author

Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly
Pin It

Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Artist Fact Sheet: Keith Harkin

    Artist Fact Sheet: Keith Harkin

    The Irishman brings his well-rounded abilities to Bend
    • Sep 11, 2019
  • Triple Whammy

    Triple Whammy

    Eric Leadbetter helps bring joy to the music scene, food industry and hospital workers with the St. Charles Meal Mission
    • Jun 1, 2020
Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
INTO the WOODS Holiday Market

INTO the WOODS Holiday Market - White Aspen Creative

Fri., Nov. 27, 9 a.m. and Sat., Nov. 28, 4 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

  • Source Material

    • Nov 25, 2020
    Highlights from Oregon artists in November: featuring Chandler P, Masinformation and Adam Selzer More »
  • Pete Kartsounes Steps into New Age

    • Nov 18, 2020
    The Bend artist's second album of the year will help relax mind, body and soul More »
  • Modern-Day Payola?

    • Nov 11, 2020
    Local artists say Spotify's recent announcement to give artist and labels paid promotion isn't a cool feature; it's harmful to the industry and those listening More »
  • More »

More by Anne Pick

  • Hip-Hop Subscription

    Hip-Hop Subscription

    Zion I delves into Patreon
    • Nov 28, 2018
  • Move Over, Mariah

    Move Over, Mariah

    Gypsy-punk rockers Diego's Umbrella shows off a softer side on "The Christmas Revels"
    • Nov 28, 2018
  • There's Still Hope

    There's Still Hope

    Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters draw inspiration from an American icon
    • Nov 21, 2018
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2020 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation