Bluegrass music, an American-made genre, has been gaining popularity in recent years.
From Earl Scruggs’ innovative picking technique to today’s varying styles of bluegrass, the music is constantly growing and evolving.
Moab is about to receive a double dose of bluegrass when Slim Pickins and the Sweetwater String Band hit the stage at a local backyard music event on Wednesday, May 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. at 523 Rosetree Lane. Tickets can be purchased online or at the show.
Slim Pickins will open at 7 p.m. The Moab band is composed of Jeff Brennan on guitar, Jon Gottschalk on bass and Neal Clark on mandolin.
This local favorite is excited about the prospect of playing a house show in Moab.
“House shows are really a unique way to experience music and are fun and rewarding for both the crowd and the musicians,” Clark said. “The locations are relaxed and intimate, the crowd tends to be very engaged in the performance, and it’s a perfect way to hang with friends and see great music on a beautiful Moab evening.”
Slim Pickins has been around for about two years and have branched off slightly from the traditional sound of the genre.
“We play what is generally referred to as jamgrass,” Clark said. “We have a foundation in traditional bluegrass, although that sound is influenced by a wide range of styles and genres. While we often use traditional bluegrass as a base, we have to stay true to our own musical tastes and experiences as well. Our original music trends towards Americana with some jam thrown in for good measure.”
Slim Pickins released its first, self-titled album about a year ago and will be playing all original songs at the show.
“My favorite tune to play is probably one called ‘The Gusto,’ written by our guitarist Jeff Brennan,” Clark said. “It’s lyrically interesting, challenging to play, and all in all a great song.” Check out their unique take on bluegrass by listening to their album, available on their website at www.slimpickinsband.com. Or, you can take in a live Slim Pickins show this summer at the Rio, Woody’s World Famous Tavern, or on Rosetree Lane on May 31.
Slim Pickins will be joined at the house show by newcomers to the Moab music scene, the Sweetwater String Band. The two bands have never actually met but have mutual friends in the Moab music scene.
“You quickly discover that it’s a small bluegrass world, which fortunately is populated by an unusually high percentage of friendly, fun-loving people,” Clark said.
The Sweetwater String Band, hailing from Mammoth Lakes, California, also plays its own distinctive style of bluegrass.
David Huebner, who plays cello for the band, said, “Someone else coined the term ‘soul-grass’ to define our sound, and I think it’s fitting because there’s a strong bluegrass influence, but our music is also very lyrical, with strong messages that at times deal with heavier, soulful, important topics and universal human conditions.”
The Sweetwater String Band is releasing its third album later this year. At the show, they will be playing original music written and recorded in the past few years with a few songs from their upcoming album thrown in for good measure.
“One of our favorite songs to play is ‘Doc’s Waltz,’ written by our mandolin player Scott Roberts for the late Doc Watson, who’s been a big influence on all of us,” Huebner said. “The harmonies and melody of the song are a joy to perform.”
This will be Sweetwater String Band’s debut performance in Moab.
“We are excited to introduce people to our music via a house concert environment since these sorts of shows cultivate more listening and appreciation of the music than you might find at your local pub,” Huebner said.
Tickets are $12 and are going fast.
“(They) are limited and interest is high, so we encourage folks to buy them ahead of time,” Clark said.
Slim Pickins, Sweetwater String Band to play house show on May 31
“House shows are really a unique way to experience music and are fun and rewarding for both the crowd and the musicians. The locations are relaxed and intimate, the crowd tends to be very engaged in the performance, and it’s a perfect way to hang with friends and see great music on a beautiful Moab evening.”
When: Wednesday, May 31, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: 523 Rosetree Lane
Cost: $12; tickets available at: www.eventbrite.com/e/sweetwater-string-band-with-slim-pickins-house-concert-tickets-33510558984
For more information, go to: www.facebook.com/events/271806396613395/.