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eTown Presents: Wood & Wire & Lauren Stovall and Peter Sharpe of The Railsp...
Sat, April 29, 2017, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM MDT
It's been five years now since Wood & Wire sprouted out of the rich musical soil of Austin, Texas. In that time, they've written music, recorded albums, and performed at some of the most notable festivals and venues across the country.
In the often tightly defined genre of bluegrass music, Wood & Wire's "band-style" ethos are not unheard of. Nor are the elements of song crafting, so often associated with their Texas home, that permeate their sound. That said, what comes out of the Wood & Wire blender is something entirely its own. Tony Kamel -- leader singer, guitarist, mover, shaker, and primary songwriter -- brings his material to the group in a malleable form, and the results are illimitable. "I think I'm most proud of how we've developed our sound together," says Kamel. "It feels great to step on stage feeling like we've really found our own style."
A culmination of very distinct musical personalities, there's one ambition they all share: "Our goal is to show up and drive, so that the energy hits you, and it's undeniable," says bassist Dom Fisher.
Fisher, a New York state native, formed the group with Kamel in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the addition of banjoist Trevor Smith, says Fisher, "really put us on a different level."
Smith, who had been playing music with Fisher, Kamel and other local musicians at a weekly bluegrass gig in Austin, actually grew up playing classical piano. After attending his first bluegrass festival, he picked up his main instrument, the banjo. "I was perplexed by the sound of it, and I had to figure it out," says Smith. "We're rooted in traditional bluegrass but don't limit ourselves to any perceived notion of what that's supposed to be. We do our own thing, and we realize that vision collectively."
Mandolinist Billy Bright joined the group in 2014. Bright brought with him a suitcase full of tunes and a trunk full of ideas."Billy really rounded us out in a big way" says Fisher. "We're really excited to finally make a studio record with him."
The band will begin doing just that in the fall of 2016, along with continuing to explore the next installment of its one mic-styleWoodshed Sessions, on which the band intends to draw heavily from the book of John Hartford.
"We're fortunate to have reached both die-hard bluegrass fans, folks who have never heard of bluegrass, and everything in between," says Kamel. "We'll keep working hard to bring the music to our fans."
Lauren Stovall and Peter Sharpe of The Railsplitters.
Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Lauren Stovall has been enjoying the Rocky Mountains since 2005, when she moved to Aspen, CO to learn the art of snowboarding. During her stay there, she met a great group of bluegrass pickers and also acquired her first high quality guitar, purchased from the beloved (and not forgotten) former Great Divide Music shop right in the heart of town. She has since received her license to practice as a beauty operator during the day to help support her habit of late-night bluegrass picking. She also spends a lot of her time with her favorite Jack Russell Terrier, Skippy.
Today Lauren is playing a smaller but just as powerful guitar in the band-a Santa Cruz OM-as she delves into the old, timeless tunes she loves. Lauren continues to write her own material that can be heard performed by The Railsplitters.
The band’s longest-time Boulder local, all the way from the shores of Connecticut, Peter has been playing stringed instruments since he was only in grade school. He first picked up the mandolin in college when he found his great-grandfather’s pre-war Gibson stashed under his parents’ bed.
Around that time, he and a group of friends decided to pack up all their instruments and fly overseas. For a few months they earned their lunch money by busking the streets of Europe.
It wasn’t until the year 1999 that he decided to try Boulder on for size, following his love of climbing and telemark skiing. It just so happened that Peter fit right in and soon he found a great group of musicians to team up with! He has played with numerous local bands including The Wolftones and Jeremy Dion and The Buck Fifty.
After working many odd jobs, he finally decided to enroll at Naropa University to pursue his masters degree in Psychology. He now works as a therapist and is currently incorporating music into his work.
Peter plays a unique, innovative, and tasteful style on his Collings MF mandonlin in The Railsplitters and is a great song writer as well.