If you happened to miss the Mother’s Day concert at the Aarchway Inn, there’s another opportunity to catch the music of Belinda Underwood and Josiah Payne when they perform both this weekend at the Peace Tree Juice Café, 20 S. Main St.
The Portland-based musicians, who will be playing from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17, are both multi-instrumentalists. Payne has won numerous competitions for his mandolin playing, including the national mandolin championship, and as the front man for the Colorado-based progressive bluegrass band the Hot Strings, according to his website. He also plays guitar and violin.
While Underwood’s primary instrument is upright bass, she also plays violin, viola, and baritone ukulele – an instrument she taught herself to play when she was 10. Underwood has studied music and dance around the world, including in Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, Turkey and Japan.
Payne grew up in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, in a musical family that often jammed together at various bluegrass festivals. Originally from California, Underwood also comes from a musical background – her mother is a jazz pianist. The couple met when Underwood became the bass player for a Pacific Northwest bluegrass band called Wayward Vessel, for whom Payne was also playing.
If forced to sum up in one word their style of music, Payne said he would call it “folk” – although their jazz and bluegrass influences are present as well.
What’s nice about performing as a duo, Payne said, is “we have so much freedom stylistically. We really have fun with it. We might play an Irish tune, and then the next number could be a jazz standard, followed by an original song we wrote.”
“Our goal is to take all these (genres) and turn it all into one cohesive sound of Belinda and Josiah playing music together.”
Underwood has recorded several solo albums, including her most recent “Belinda Underwood Look To the Skies.” On the record Underwood sings, and plays electronic bass pedals and ukulele. Payne accompanies with mandolin on one song, and violin on another.
With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Payne raised $10,000 last year to record his first album “Josiah Payne Musica Humana.” Underwood adds vocals and plays bass on the recording.
In addition to their solo and duo careers, the couple also plays with the Portland-based group The Wild Wood, a string band that draws from bluegrass, folk, punk, gypsy, jazz and more.
Last year, Underwood and Payne toured Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. This year, they’ve pared down the tour after giving birth to their first son Jasper Lee in February – who is traveling with them. A Moab friend will care for him, and likely be in the audience on Friday and/ or Saturday night, Payne said.
“I like nothing better than playing music for my newborn son,” he said.
“Moab is one of our favorite places to be, so we’re playing a string of nights at the Peace Tree Café,” including prior performances on May 8 and 9. “We love playing there. It’s an intimate setting, where you get to interact with people (visiting) from all over the world.”
Concert promoter John Baptist McGettigan, of JBM More Music in Moab, discovered Underwood and Payne several years ago when the duo performed at the Peace Tree and they all became friends, he said.
McGettigan booked one of their recent Moab concerts at the Aarchway Inn because he’s trying to raise awareness about the hotel’s “great outdoor venue,” he said.
At the Peace Tree, the concert will also take place outdoors on the café’s porch, where people can dine while listening to the show. If the weather is inclement, the concert can move indoors.
Portland duo Belinda Underwood and Josiah Payne to perform at Peace Tree Cafe
“We have so much freedom stylistically. We really have fun with it. We might play an Irish tune, and then the next number could be a jazz standard, followed by an original song we wrote.”
Where: The Peace Tree Juice Café, 20 S. Main St.
When: Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. both nights
www.josiahpayne.com; www.belindaunderwood.com; or call 435-259-0101