Drew, Truax to play mini-concert at Holy Trinity

Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gold Street Music, the informal monthly gathering of musicians that's congregated on the first Saturday night of every month since October, will hold its first mid-month concert Saturday, Jan. 21, in the sanctuary at Holy Trinity Church.

Don Drew and the Wild Pioneers, a year-old, six-piece band that plays country from the 1940s and 1950s, will headline. Alaska Folk Festival regular Michael Truax will open the show at 7:30 p.m. with a 45-minute solo set.

Admission is $5, and doors open at 7. The church is at the corner of Fourth and Gold streets.

The Wild Pioneers, so named because they play Wildflower Court on the third Monday of every month and the Juneau Pioneers Home on the last Monday, formed out of a series of jam sessions at the House of Wickersham. They played a 15-minute set at Gold Street Music last fall, and also performed during November's Fish Aid concert at Centennial Hall.

The band includes Drew on Gibson guitar; Gerry Fiscus on fiddle; Paul Disdier on dobro; Kirk McBride on standup bass; and two banjo players, former schoolteacher George Trani and University of Alaska Southeast math professor Virgil Fredenberg.

don drew and the wild pioneers

where: holy trinity church, fourth and gold streets.

when: 7:30 p.m. saturday, jan. 21, with michael truax

cost: $5 at the door.

Drew, known for his fine suits and stylish hats, is a folk fest regular and has hosted KTOO's "Mule Train" show for almost 25 years. He's also the lead forecaster with the Juneau branch of the National Weather Service. Fiscus regularly plays the folk fest and also occasionally leads contra dances around town.

The Wild Pioneers practices most Mondays at McBride's home, often playing from 7 p.m. until 10:45.

"We're just happy doing what we're doing now," Drew said. "We're having a lot of fun. People who have heard us say, 'Do you have any CDs?' We haven't done any recording yet. Whether we will or not, I don't know."

The group's catalog includes songs mostly from the 1940s and 1950s - George Morgan, Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys, Ernest Tubbs and the Texas Troubadours, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Hank Williams, Faron Young, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, early Marty Robbins and more.

They touch a little on the 1960s - Jim Reeves, Stonewall Jackson and Buck Owens.

"Conway Twitty did a lot of good stuff in the '60s, and Bobby Bear and George Jones," Drew said. "We just haven't gotten to it yet."

"Whatever the guys like to play, I'll do it for them," he said. "They like the older stuff, and I do too. We're kind of in a common ground. None of the mainstream stuff like Shania Twain and Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. That kind of stuff is way out there, off limits. The Taku 105 stuff we don't play."

Fredenberg often plays a version of "I Saw the Light," by Hank Williams; and "I'll Fly Away." Disdier favors old-timey songs such as "Hand Me Down The Walking Cane," and Fiscus plays some fiddle hoe-downs and instrumentals.

Drew will be playing two or three solos - "The Singing River;" Stonewall Jackson's "A Wound Time Can't Erase" and a surprise.

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