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Progressive Michigan bluegrass band comes to Edwards

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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As far as uncomfortable practice venues go, the members of Michigan-based Fauxgrass Quartet have it dialed.

They practice in an 8-foot-by-10-foot storage shed in upper Michigan. And it gets better: There’s no electricity or heat. That’s dedication.

The bandmates – Adam Balcer (guitar, vocals), Tim McKay (bass, vocals), Joey Schultz (banjo, vocals) and Jason Wheeler (mandolin, vocals) – formed this progressive bluegrass band in 2010 and have toured extensively since. They perform a free show in Edwards tonight at Main St. Grill. Wheeler answered a few questions for the Vail Daily.



1. Vail Daily: I like your name – It seems pretty cheeky. How did you come up with it?

Jason Wheeler: The name and general vision of this band arrived from the desire to play acoustic music of all genres and styles, but performing them with some cohesive foundation, which would be bluegrass … so the name is pulling on the fact that we’re a type of “bluegrass” music, but certainly not what traditionalists or fundamentalists would be consider bluegrass.



2. VD: How do you describe your music?

JW: We are a progressive bluegrass band by definition. But, truthfully we kind of think of our music as a spin-off of the “jam grass” style music. Our approach to traditional music is not bluegrass in nature. But, the music itself shows alot of our bluegrass and traditional interests and influences. (Jason Wheeler)

3. VD: Tell me about the album you’re working on. When is it set to come out?



JW: We just finished it and have released it this month. It will be available in Colorado on tonight at The Main St. Grill. Or, you can download it for free at http://www.fauxgrassmusic.com.

4. VD: Have you performed in the area before? Tell me about the current tour you’re on?

JW: We have not performed in Colorado yet. We’ve toured the East Coast as well as the Midwest throughout 2011. This tour is a destination-type run. We’ve had several Michigan shows, then we head to Colorado for six shows, then to lower Michigan, then to the Upper Penninsula for a couple, then we’re finally home on Feb. 18!

5. VD: What made you want to tour in Colorado?

JW: We wanted to share some of our music with our friends and family in the area, we needed our fix of some good snowboarding and we thought it would be great to head west since we just finished up an extensive East Coast tour in the spring of 2011.

6. VD: Have you toured much before?

JW: Yes, we’ve performed extensively throughout the Midwest, East Coast and in our home state. We’re planning a southern run for later this winter as well!

7. VD: Do any of your songs have lyrics? The ones I listened to online seemed to just be instrumental pieces.

JW: Yes, we do have both traditional music and original music with lyrics and we’re actually really working hard on our three and four-part harmonies in the band now. We do focus on instrumental music but I think you’ll see that we’ve recently added a lot of vocals to the quartet’s music and we’re really trying to develop vocally as we are instrumentally.


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