What does it take for a band to make it happen in a small town like Moab?
For local up-and-coming trio Slim Pickins, small-town magic, inspiration, time and a drive produced their newly released debut album, now available for purchase at Moab Made, 82 N. Main St.
The trio, which includes Neal Clark on mandolin, Jeff Brennan on left-handed guitar and Jon Gottschalk on bass guitar, will be performing tracks from the self-titled debut at 98 Center on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Last spring, Clark and Brennan joined forces with Gottschalk after meeting at the Moab Grassroots Music Exchange. The trio played some gigs around town at local venues, parties and restaurants. By the fall, they were invited to play at the 2015 Moab Folk Festival’s Locals Showcase.
“(We) needed some original material for the event,” Clark says. “We’d been discussing sitting down and writing some original tunes for a while, but that really kicked us into gear … I guess we all need a little deadline motivation sometimes.”
From there, the band decided it made sense to record.
While the band had set out down the path of traditional bluegrass, their journey has taken them across different styles and sounds to arrive at what they collectively and playfully consider “bluegrass instrumentation” through “rootsy Americana with a touch of jam.”
“I’m a little bit country, Jon’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and Jeff’s got the jazz and music theory thing pretty wired,” Clark says. “It’s a good balance.”
The band tapped into small-town magic again when they stepped into home Studio Seventy7 with Jon Olschewski, the front man from Stonefed.
“Jon’s depth of knowledge as it pertains to equipment and recording was invaluable as we worked out both the logistical details of every track and the particular arrangements and mixes,” Clark says.
Four talented music enthusiasts with a recording studio at their fingertips may sound like smooth sailing. However, finding the time for all parties to get together proved to be more challenging than they had anticipated, and the project took over two months.
“Mixing and re-recording parts of tracks really is one of those things that you can continue working on indefinitely,” Clark says. “At some point you just have to call it good or you’re going to end up paying Jon O’s rent for the rest of the year!”
Clark, Brennan and Gottschalk are collectively involved in environmental work, outdoor adventure guiding, and visual arts. In fact, Gottschalk created the artwork on the album from a photograph by Moab resident Eric Odenthal.
While their personal interests and involvement in Moab has kept them all busy, it has also served to provide inspiration for the album.
“It’s a great listen while driving down (a) Utah desert road,” Brennan says.
After their show at 98 Center, the band will be returning next month to the 2016 Moab Folk Fest’s Locals Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Moab band releases debut album, performs at 98 Center on Oct. 20
It’s a great listen while driving down (a) Utah desert road.
What: Slim Pickins in concert
When: Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: 98 Center, 98 Center St.
Cost: No cover charge