When Front Country burst on the scene seven years ago with high profile festival contest wins, they were heralded as the best new bluegrass band from sources as varied as the BBC and jam-band bluegrass favorites Railroad Earth. Known for their standout lead singer, crack instrumentalists and reputation for mixing originals, traditionals and unexpected covers, Front Country gained a reputation as a spirited and engaging band unafraid to try new things. This openness to change has stood them in good stead as their sound has evolved far beyond bluegrass to what they describe as “roots pop.” Front Country will return to The Palms Playhouse on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($16 with student ID). Melody Walker’s rich and confident lead vocals anchor the band’s sound. The American folk, rock and bluegrass she grew up listening to remains “a very natural part of me,” she said, but that the folkloric call and response chants of the African Diaspora, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian and West and South African music she studied in college are also “a huge influence on the way I approach vocals.” While Front Country got its start in a bluegrass jam in San Francisco’s Mission District and still uses acoustic instruments associated with bluegrass, guitarist Jacob Groopman says they no longer think of themselves as a bluegrass band. “We all bring a ton of influences to the table and love many styles of music,” he said. “However, we have to be careful not to be all over the place with the types of songs we play. Keeping a ‘thread’ throughout what we play is important and allows us to distill and pick and choose what we do.” In addition to Walker and Groopman, Front Country is Adam Roszkiewicz on mandolin and banjo, Leif Karlstrom on five-string violin and Jeremy Darrow on bass. They’ll perform as a quartet on Jan. 27. In the past couple years, the band has relocated from the Bay Area to Nashville and released their second full-length album and fourth release over all. Walker wrote the majority of “Other Love Songs,” which features Front Country’s trademark sound of robust vocals backed by complex, frequently staccato instrumentation. Two Roszkiewicz instrumentals and two covers complete the collection. “These songs follow the lessons that everyone learns in their own personal evolution toward emotional maturity and vulnerability,” said Walker, “in which all of us learn to break down toxic romantic fairy tales and write our own Other Love Songs that work for real people in the real world.” Tickets are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite and at the door if not sold out. For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and frontcountryband.com.]]>
Front Country brings roots pop back to The Palms on Sunday, Jan. 27
Front Country will return to The Palms Playhouse on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($16 with student ID).