The musical pickins aren’t so slim this weekend.
Homegrown bluegrass folk-fusion band Slim Pickins will be performing two shows at World Famous Woody’s Tavern, 221 S. Main St., on Friday, Aug. 4, and Saturday, Aug. 5, and the trio is bringing an opening act along for the second night. Both shows are scheduled to start at 9 p.m.
Saturday’s opening act – Still the Weather – is the always-evolving project of locally based singer-songwriter Jenna Talbott.
Her songs pivot on dynamic vocal storytelling, and range from upbeat gypsy-jazz-inspired tales of setting free to lulling and bluesy journeys home. On Aug. 5, Still the Weather will include Jeff Brennan of Slim Pickins, and Ryan Barnum on drums. The left-handed Brennan plays the guitar in Slim Pickins, but he will be performing bass for Still the Weather.
In addition to Brennan, Slim Pickins includes Neal Clark on mandolin and John Gottschalk on bass. All three share vocal duties and often harmonize original and classic melodies.
The bluegrass folk-fusion, or “jamgrass,” band formed when Clark and Brennan got together in 2013; Gottschalk joined about two years ago, and they came out with their debut album last year. Their songs explore wandering, love and loss.
Clark said that Slim Pickins took this past spring off to reconfigure its sound – making it a bit bigger and more varied – and to write new material. The ultimate goal, he said, is to start playing regular gigs at the bars in town, to expand into the regional music scene and to develop sets that focus on original music.
The band made its Woody’s debut a month or so ago, and Clark said that Slim Pickins is looking forward to the upcoming gig with Talbott.
“We’ve been trying to feature local and touring artists for the gigs when possible, and couldn’t be happier to have Still the Weather on the Saturday bill,” Clark said.
Talbott was quick to welcome their invitation.
“I love their style and the energy they cultivate,” she said.
She said she’s seen so many musicians she respects on the little stage at Woody’s – a few of them have even let her jump on and mess around on the mic.
“I feel like it’s a good time to get up there myself with my own stuff,” she said. “But then I pictured myself sitting there alone and realized I wanted a bigger sound and to get some other folks involved.”
Talbott recently wrote a song for her friends’ wedding, and she kept hearing a jazz-like snare drum in the background. She said she’s thought of Barnum since she heard him play jazz around town, so she called him to see if he wanted to back her up. Around the same time, Clark mentioned that the band was – in a way – sending Brennan to back her up.
“Jeff showed up to rehearsal thinking he was going to play guitar, but Ryan and I threw a right-handed bass in his hand and he flipped it upside down and took on the role of the bass player,” she said.
Both are great musicians and fun to work with, she said.
“They bring extra life into these songs of mine that I’ve heard a hundred times, and suddenly I am excited all over again to get really into them and share them with these guys,” she said. “I’ve been joking that ‘Still the Weather’ will be ‘Dis’till the Weather’ when it’s a party … this would be one of those times!”
Local trio invites special guest to Aug. 5 show
What: Slim Pickins with Still the Weather
When: Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Slim Pickins will be performing its own show on Friday, Aug. 4, at 9 p.m.
Where: World Famous Woody’s Tavern, 221 S. Main St.
Information: www.slimpickinsband.com; www.facebook.com/slimpickinsmoab; or Woody’s at 435-259-3550