Now, there's no doubt that Juneau has seen more than its fair share of extremely talented musicians from around the U.S. over the past couple of weeks: Twilight Hotel, hailing from Austin, Texas; Agent Orange, out of southern California; and Naughty By Nature, from New Jersey. But the fun's not over yet.
Waltzing into town this weekend on their Alaskan tour is Foghorn, the self-proclaimed "ass-kickin' redneck stringband" from Portland, Ore.'s burgeoning old-time scene. Deeply rooted in the American folk tradition, they've been as far as Ireland, Denmark and Louisiana and are set to tear through two sets this weekend at Holy Trinity and The Rendezvous .... a church and a bar. Figures, huh?
The band's ass-kickin' acoustic ethos stems from their belief that old time music, played in a traditional way, is still very much alive in the 21st century. They are purists when it comes to performance. You know how you've seen stringbands grouping around a solitary microphone in movies? These cats actually do that! They prefer to keep their old-time old, thank you very much. Compared to the obvious old-time revival bands like Old Crow Medicine Show and Nickel Creek, they're much more interested in recreating the way the music sounded in the '30s and the '40s, when it was done on a creaky porch in an Appalachian mine camp, rather than innovating - and, in the process of that, inadvertently eschewing - the old-time sound.
In keeping with the cobbled together, old-time aesthetic the group performs as a duo, a trio or a quartet, depending on which way the wind blows its various members. For the concerts in Juneau, they'll be featuring Stephen "Sammy" Lind's fiddle and Caleb Klauder's mandolin, supported by the guitar of Nadine Landry. Landry is the newest member of the band, and she alternates on guitar and bass (singing the whole time, I should add) while bringing Cajun and country influences to the mix.
From what I can gather, it appears that their show at the Holy Trinity will be a sit-down affair, while the show at the Rendezvous will be more of a foot-stompin' old time reunion with their Juneau fans. Both shows should be awesome - if at all possible, I think you should attend both. That's what I'll be doing. The acoustics rock at Holy Trinity, so the band will sound extra epic there, but we all know that a little whiskey and a little booty-shakin goes a long way toward the enjoyment of an oldtime band - it's just the way it's supposed to be, am I right?
Regardless of which show you attend, Foghorn is sure to deliver. And if you're not convinced already, I recommend you check their website at www.foghornstringband.com and get a feel for their music. They've got four albums of material under their belt, and you can check out tracks from every single one of them. While you're at it, check out Klauder's new solo album, "Western Country," released earlier this year. Hear samples at www.calebklauder.com.
Foghorn plays Holy Trinity Church at 7 p.m. Saturday, and at 10 p.m. the same night at The Rendezvous. The Holy Trinity show is $10 and is open to all ages.
Opening for Foghorn at the Rendezvous show will be Erin Hanson and Andrew Heist.