WinterWonderGrass: What Say You (2)?

In the second part of the series “What Say You, WinterWonderGrass?” hear from members of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Infamous Stringdusters, Trout Steak Revival, Front Country and Head for the Hills about memorable WinterWonderGrass moments and who they are looking forward to seeing at the festival and how their last day on the slopes went. Name: Chris Pandolfi Instrument: Banjo Band: Infamous Stringdusters How many years have you been playing WinterWonderGrass, either in Colorado or California? Since the very first year. It’s great to be part of something from the beginning, especially a festival like this. What is a WWG moment that made you think, “I’m sitting on top of the world right now?” Our first year at WWG, it was dumping big fluffy flakes as the show really got cranking. The light on the flakes over a sea of human enthusiasm, people exhaling like a city of tiny smoke stacks kicking out a relentless stream of energy that flowed like a river up onto the stage. It was unreal. Who are you looking forward to seeing play at WWG Tahoe and why? Who I get to see and play with, in the Bluegrass Generals!! My man Jon Stickley. Stick is amazing. I also hope I get to see Salmon play “Highway Song.” They are my OG favorite. What WWG Tahoe band or musician makes you feel like family? How did ya’ll meet? Yonder have been like family for us since we opened a long run of dates for them some years back. They started a lot of what is going on today, as far as the extended bluegrass/jam scene. They have always been great to us. Love those guys. If you are going to be getting into some good old fashioned mountain mischief, what WWG band or musician is the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy and why? Andy Thorn. I could tell you but then I would have to kill you. The man is a genius. If you are putting together your own supergroup of WWG Tahoe musicians, who is in your band and what is the band’s name? Bluegrass Generals!! For Tahoe we have me and Andy Hall, as always, along with guests Travis Book, Jon Stickley and Lyndsay Pruett (she’s a ripper!!!). What is one thing to always remember when playing in the cold and snow? If you can’t feel your hands, you haven’t had enough whiskey. Ski or snowboard? Ski. What was your last day on the slopes like? A deep pow day at Steamboat, during Winter Wondergrass!! Thinking about your weekend in Squaw Valley, finish this sentence: “The mountains are calling and I must…” Pack my things and go, shred from the hilltop, right down to the show.
Trout Steak Revival
Steve Foltz of Trout Steak Revival.
TroutSteak.com
Name: Steve Foltz Instrument: Guitar & Mandolin Band: Trout Steak Revival How many years have you been playing WinterWonderGrass, either in Colorado or California? I think this is Trout Steak’s third year. What is a WWG moment that made you think, “I’m sitting on top of the world right now?” Our first one – main stage – SO COLD!  There was one sliver of sunlight left on stage that I was able to stand in.  Despite the cold, the WWG audience came out to support us – made us feel great! Who are you looking forward to seeing play at WWG Tahoe and why? I’m always excited to listen to Sam Bush.  He is a blast to listen to, his musicianship is top notch, he’s has a good sense of humor, plus he’s a class act.  He reminds me why I play string music. What WWG Tahoe band or musician makes you feel like family? How did ya’ll meet? Yonder Mountain String Band.  We were invited to tour with Yonder last year for a month.  It was amazing to work with the band and their crew on the road.  Everyone was easy to get to know, very professional, and hospitable to us “little guys.” They really took us under their wing.  We spent quite a few late nights hanging out on their bus.  I really felt a connection with the entire Yonder team when the tour was over and I really felt like that connection was reciprocated. If you are going to be getting into some good old fashioned mountain mischief, what WWG band or musician is the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy and why? I love Jon Stickley Trio’s vibe. Great picking and cool sonic landscapes. That’s my vote for a good party! If you are putting together your own supergroup of WWG Tahoe musicians, who is in your band and what is the band’s name? Garland Tram and the Squaw Valley Alms Tyler Thompson: hot metal melt sticks and kick bass; Vince Herman: bawls, sneers, crowd ramping; Tyler Grant: tele-fire shralp skidding; Chris Pandolfi: Scruggs warp string wrap-around; Ben Kaufmann: Squaw bump and soul-icicle hanging; Peter Rowan: Calm shaman warm-stage wordsmithing; Lauren Stovall: clandestine vocal sky tracing: *I kind of went musician-superhero. Got weird! What is one thing to always remember when playing in the cold and snow? When possible, hug a friend who you really love and trust. Sip whiskey before and after set.   Ski or snowboard? Either one. Ski these days. What was your last day on the slopes like? Chunky powder at Winterpark. Of the breweries at the festival this year, whose beer do you want in your cup the most? There is ZERO reason to hold back when it comes to trying new beer. THUS…I’m pumped about trying Lost Coast, Rubicon, Green Flash, and Two Rivers.  Yep, I’m a beer baby. Thinking about your weekend in Squaw Valley, finish this sentence: “The mountains are calling and I must…” Ski one day, walk near the lake one day, and stay up one night to see the sunrise with new friends (and be able to remember all)!   Name: Jacob Groopman Instrument: Guitar Band: Front Country How many years have you been playing WinterWonderGrass, either in Colorado or California? This is our second time. What is a WWG moment that made you think, “I’m sitting on top of the world right now?” Well, not sure! The late night show last time we played was super fun. Who are you looking forward to seeing play at WWG Tahoe and why? Jon Stickley Trio! They are one of the most exciting bands around What WWG Tahoe band or musician makes you feel like family? How did ya’ll meet? Greensky. We’ve gotten to know them over the years and they brought us out on the road and treated us like family. If you are going to be getting into some good old fashioned mountain mischief, what WWG band or musician is the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy and why? The Railsplitters! They are our sister band in Colorado. Always a fun time with those guys. If you are putting together your own supergroup of WWG Tahoe musicians, who is in your band and what is the band’s name? John Stickley, Anders Beck, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Travis Book. (They are called Rowanbush). What is one thing to always remember when playing in the cold and snow? Why am I doing this? Ski or snowboard? Ski What was your last day on the slopes like? Don’t remember because it was in 8th grade! Of the breweries at the festival this year, whose beer do you want in your cup the most? Lagunitas Thinking about your weekend in Squaw Valley, finish this sentence: “The mountains are calling and I must…” Prepare myself to PICK!
Head for the Hills
Name: Adam Kinghorn Instrument: Guitar & Vocals Band: Head for the Hills How many years have you been playing WinterWonderGrass, either in Colorado or California? We have been a part of WWG CO multiple times since its inception and I believe this will be our second time performing at the California event. What is a WWG moment that made you think, “I’m sitting on top of the world right now?” At the Tahoe festival in 2015 we took part in the “Jam On The Tram,” which included Sam Bush and members of Elephant Revival, Greensky and Tyler Grant. I remember the crazy feeling of playing music while flying over mountain tops on a ski lift and thinking how lucky we all were to be sharing that experience. Tyler sang a sweet version of “This Tram is Bound for Glory.” Who are you looking forward to seeing play at WWG Tahoe and why? I’m excited to see the Jon Stickley Trio. He mixes in elements of prog rock and metal with jazz and bluegrass on a dreadnought guitar. What WWG Tahoe band or musician makes you feel like family? How did ya’ll meet? The whole WWG event feels like being with family. Whether it’s the musicians or the crowd or staff/volunteers, we always feel fortunate to be around great people. If you are going to be getting into some good old fashioned mountain mischief, what WWG band or musician is the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy and why? Greensky Bluegrass and Head for the Hills have been known to have some crazy times together. I won’t get to specific but I can vaguely remember a night in Kalamazoo that got pretty wild. What is one thing to always remember when playing in the cold and snow? Think warm thoughts and remember the crowd will keep us all moving. Ski or snowboard? Snowboarder with a split-board personality. What was your last day on the slopes like? It was WWG Steamboat this year! The mountain got 10 inches the night before! Of the breweries at the festival this year, whose beer do you want in your cup the most? I am a big fan of the Green Flash Imperial IPA but will be happy to enjoy any brewery who would like to fill my cup. Always excited to try new California beers and there is quite a lineup this year. Thinking about your weekend in Squaw Valley, finish this sentence: The mountains are calling and I must…” Head for the Hills!
Larry Sabo / Tahoe Onstage
With explosive performances, Wisconsin’s Horseshoes and Hand Grenades has stayed close to the Northern California festival scene in 2016 and they are back for WinterWonderGrass 2017.
Name: Adam Greuel Instrument: Guitar & Vocals Band: Horseshoes & Hand Grenades How many years have you been playing WinterWonderGrass, either in Colorado or California? This is our second year. Last year’s good times at the festival really made it one of the most memorable moments of the year. The combination of a great lineup and beautiful surroundings really make for a special music experience. As a performer, the good vibes of the fanbase radiate to make it damn easy to have a good time on stage, something we always love to achieve wherever we’re playing. What is a WWG moment that made you think, “I’m sitting on top of the world right now?” There’s been many. Last year at WWG Tahoe, our fiddle player Collin Mettelka was unable to make the trip. We contacted our good buddy Tim Carbone (of Railroad Earth) last minute to ask if he would join us for our three sets in Collin’s place. He said “hell yeah” and we proceeded to play a whole day of music, totally unrehearsed and unscripted. It felt like the crowd really appreciated the organic nature of the set, as did we. There’s such a positive vibration at the WWG festivals. A “go with the flow” kind of attitude seems really prominent. It’s hard not to be happy when you’re in a beautiful place like Tahoe. Who are you looking forward to seeing play at WWG Tahoe and why? I’m actually really looking forward to the whole festival. There’s some of my favorite bands on there, some of which are also really good friends. I always find it really thrilling to check out bands that we’ve never crossed paths with before. If I had to pick a couple that I’m really excited about, it would be Leftover Salmon and the Infamous Stringdusters. They’ve both become good friends of ours and always put on shows that get me feeling really pumped up and inspired. Vince Herman (LOS) is such a character and I really appreciate his honesty and his positive vibration. What WWG Tahoe band or musician makes you feel like family? How did ya’ll meet? That would probably be the Infamous Stringdusters. We slowly met them through playing the same festivals and have since had the joy of hitting the road with them from time to time. They’re just really damn down to earth, super encouraging, and really inviting. They’ve kind of passively taught us a lot about kindness toward other musicians, how to be a road band, and how to put on a great show. I think we really look up to them as a band. We’ve also had some great times together just hanging and picking. They’ve invited us up to do a bunch of single-mic encores lately, which has been a great time. They’re special people. Very kind. Family. If you are going to be getting into some good old fashioned mountain mischief, what WWG band or musician is the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy and why? Well, we’re mighty excited that our friends and fellow Wisconsinites the Dead Horses will be at the festival this year. We’ve known each other for so many years now and we always have a great time hanging out at shows. It’s kind of a bunch of goofballs when we’re all in the same space. If you are putting together your own supergroup of WWG Tahoe musicians, who is in your band and what is the band’s name? Good question! I would hit up some good buddies to play together. We would keep in super loose and aim for the best time possible. I’d hit up Andy Dunnigan from the Lil’ Smokies to get nasty on the ol’ dobro. I would ask Jon Stickley to come be insane on the guitar box. I would specifically ask for him to play as weirdly as possible. Then I would drop Andy Thorn from Salmon a note to see if he might be down to come shred some gnar on the banjo. I would then send a pigeon to Sam Bush to ask if he might be down to fiddle and play some mando. I’d see if Davey from my band HHG would be down to play some harmonica. I would ask Sarah Vos from the Dead Horses to come sing like an angel with Travis Book from the Dusters singing and laying down the bass lines. Then I would make sure everyone else knew they were welcome to come sit in, or just be part of the backup singers: The Wondergrass Tabernacle Choir. THAT, my friend, would be a hoot and a half. What is one thing to always remember when playing in the cold and snow? To always make sure to wear a nice big and warm whiskey-coat. Ski or snowboard? Tumble, actually. What was your last day on the slopes like? Stoned. Of the breweries at the festival this year, whose beer do you want in your cup the most? Anything on the experimental side that I haven’t tried yet. Thinking about your weekend in Squaw Valley, finish this sentence: The mountains are calling and I must…” Wondergrass.

-Garrett Bethmann

Related stories: Photos from WinterWonderGrass Day 1. Matt Butler’s Everyone Orchestra jams his fingers. This time Sam Bush bringing full band to WinterWonderGrass. What Say You, Leftover Salmon, Dead Winter Carpenters, The Good Bad, Fruition? What Say You (2), Trout Steak Revival, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Infamous Stringdusters, Front Country, Head for the Hills?

ABOUT Garrett Bethmann

Garrett Bethmann
Garrett Bethmann is a graduate of University of Mary Washington with a degree in English. An eight-year resident of Lake Tahoe, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.

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