North Tahoe band Sneaky Creatures has a simple agenda to begin 2015: play live at Crystal Bay Casino and then to get to work on debut album.
Sneaky Creatures will play Crystal Bay’s Red Room on Friday, Jan. 9. Formed in 2012, the group has spent the last few years assembling the right lineup and crafting the right sound.
“It’s all about the original music,” guitarist and vocalist Josh Roelle said. “The covers that we play are in the same vein as the style of the originals that we do, which range from, a real general description, which I would call old-timey, to reggae, to Dixieland, country-swing, to electro-swing.”
The band features a variety of original tunes, augmented by re-tooled cover tunes like “Gracefully Facedown” by Devil Makes Three, “EMD” by David Grisman, and Django Reinhardt’s “Limehouse Blues.”
Sneaky Creatures is Roelle (acoustic and electric guitar, lead vocals), Kerry Andras (bass, vocals), Kevin Drake (baritone and alto saxophone, clarinet), Lena Meyer (trombone, trumpet), Todd Holway (keyboard, vocals), Steve Saturno (drums) and Jesse Meyer (saxophone, trumpet).
The group has played as a septet for about a year. Roelle formed the group with Andras in 2012 as a country duo, adding pal Martin Frye on drums shortly thereafter. Drake then joined the band, which played as a quartet for some time. Frye left the group in 2013 due to other obligations, and Saturno, Holway, Meyer and Meyer gradually joined the band in the following year.
Sneaky Creatures primarily appears in the Lake Tahoe Basin, but struck out on the road in September 2014 for a performance at Lost Sierra Hoedown, just outside of Gray Eagle, Calif.
“I feel like that got our foot in the door to play festivals,” Roelle said. “I would like to play around here as much as possible, and then play festivals.”
Soon, the band will shift its efforts to recording its debut album, most likely self-titled. While still at work on some of the production arrangements, Sneaky Creatures has been hard at work preparing original material for its first record.
“We’ve dedicated some rehearsals to working out album versions of songs, charting them out and dialing in the tempos and all that,” Roelle said. “It’s probably going to be 11 or 12 songs.”
While the band is seriously focused on preparing for the upcoming recording sessions, it’s impossible to miss Roelle’s light-hearted tone on the subject.
“I would like to work for a week, just myself, to dial in my vocal attenuation,” Roelle said. “I don’t even know what that means; I just thought it would sound good.”
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9
Where: Crystal Bay Casino’s Red Room
Tickets: Free show