The Difference Between Violin and Fiddle | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
Search
Settings
Pin It
Favorite

The Difference Between Violin and Fiddle 

The Urban Pioneers splice classical with barn dance

It was a Pittsburgh cop that named The Urban Pioneers, a pair of string musicians on banjo and fiddle who play chugging, simply constructed Appalachian songs with a technical twist.

"The first week we were there we went to the laundry mat and someone stole Liz's phone," explained banjo player Jared McGovern. "When the police officer came to our house to fill out the report he started getting really mad at us because of where we live. He said that we were in the roughest neighborhood in Pittsburgh. He said, 'Do you think you are Urban Pioneers or something?'"

From there, a cross-country trip to pick up an upright bass in Florida morphed into an impromptu tour and the true beginning of the band. The combination of McGovern, a seasoned roots bassist who had just started playing banjo, and Liz Sloan, a classically trained violinist turned fiddler, along with the riff-raff and rotating crew on bass and guitar during tour, the band has a porch-jam spirit. The pair met when they both played backup for prestigious underground Austin roots musician, Bob Wayne. The contrast of McGovern's simple banjo plucking and punky locomotion and Sloan's classical-turned-country sawing is endearing.

"We get lumped into the old time/folk circle, but we also have songs that are clearly western swing or klezmer, or straight up truck driving country," explained McGovern. "We definitely haven't limited ourselves to playing a certain particular style because that is the type of band we are supposed to be."

Sloan grew up entrenched in classical training. It took a debilitating car accident and years of gathering courage to tell her parents that it wasn't the life she wanted. Years later, it took a metal/jazz/noise guitarist from New York to make her pick up her instrument again and shift her style into the hybrid she now plays.

"Eventually I started listening to more fiddlers and picking apart what I wanted to sound like," said Sloan of her past. "I still haven't mastered my style yet and I don't think I will ever be content in one set way to sound. Obviously, my classical training isn't going to disappear from my sound. When I first started 'fiddling' it would bug me out when musicians would comment on my classical sound. Now that I have a few years of experimenting with my sound I appreciate that comment."

Meanwhile, McGovern was listening to Nirvana and learning the rock songs from tabs in the back of Guitar World Magazine.

"I think the contrast of Liz's background and my background makes for a fun contrast in our music. Liz grew up with lots of formal music training and I'm self-taught," said McGovern. "Liz's musical influences come from western swing, classical, and gypsy, and I grew up listening to a lot of punk. I think the mash-up of our different influences makes it to where pretty much anyone can find something in our music that they like. "

Urban Pioneers, with Harley Bourbon and Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil.

8 pm. Thurs., Jan. 29

Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr. $10.

About The Author

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

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 | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
High Street Band

High Street Band - General Duffy's Waterhole

Sat., Sept. 26, 6:30-9 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

  • Artists Control the Future

    • Sep 23, 2020
    The High Desert Music Collective rolls out a membership program and has big plans for the future of the local scene More »
  • The Tables Have Turned

    • Sep 16, 2020
    New owner takes over Ranch Records during pandemic and changes name to "Smith Rock Records" More »
  • A Multi-Day Festival in the Age of COVID-19

    • Sep 8, 2020
    Sisters Folk Festival opens livestream access to its sold-out Close To Home music festival More »
  • More »

Give Guide


View Online

More by Brianna Brey

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