Pepper Proud & Friends-The Blackberry Bushes-Weatherside Whiskey Band-Coral Creek String Band at The Nectar Lounge in Seattle
Walking into the Nectar Lounge Thursday night, one sound rose above the buzz of patrons like an echo crossing a glass-still lake. It was flutey, flighty, and filled with misty air. It was the voice of Pepper Proud. Originally from West Virginia and now residing in Washington, Pepper seemed right at home on that Seattle stage. Her humble, sprite-like mannerisms only complemented her surprisingly powerful voice, and everyone watching clearly revered the entire set. Thanks to a Kickstarter fund backing her upcoming sophomore album, “The Water Chapter,” you should catch her live as soon as possible -- she won’t be a Pacific Northwest secret for long.
Just after that act, a mutual friend introduced me to Paisley and Todd Gray, two of the musicians who’d performed with Pepper. While the Grays primarily make up half of the unbeatably catchy Pickled Okra, their abundant talent runs over into a handful of local collaborations. As if their finger-snapping tunes weren’t catchy enough, this couple has big ol’ genuine grins and cornfields worth of jokes. Catching them playing in any of their ensembles is a treat.
Next up on the night’s bill were the Blackberry Bushes Stringband. Call their toe-tapping twist on bluegrass whatever you want; they’re simply fun as hell. Lead singer Jes Raymond explained to the audience, “There are two things a folk band always writes about: freight trains and the highway.” About to take off on tour through the Midwest, she promised they’d try to not let all their new songs be about the road -- but couldn’t promise they’d be successful. Each one of their jovial jams soaked the room with sugary violin hums and beats that got couples in the crowd swaying.
Following the Blackberry Bushes’ sweetness, the Weatherside Whiskey Band promptly erupted the room with flying feet and dosey-does. They were not without a few slower, soul-stirring numbers either, showing the spectrum of talent within this five-person set. You just knew that, deep down in his gut, Jacob Yackshaw truly believed in his Czechoslovakian double bass playing. And when Amy Meyer sang, she had all the energy and precision of a hummingbird. It was pure joy to watch them help the crowd unwind together.
Headlining this hoot-n-holler type of night was the Coral Creek String Band, a Colorado ensemble with some serious touring chops. Their strings unleashed jams that spun like tight tornadoes and earned plenty of whoops along the way. Following three folky, fun acts couldn’t be an easy feat, but they proved themselves the perfect culmination to the evening.
Pepper Proud & Friends