Is Reno a cultural music hub? Can pigs fly? The answers are yes and a metaphorical yes.
Loud As Folk is monthly songwriters showcase at the Pignic Pub & Patio that is spreading its wings all across the region. On Wednesday, it will debut in the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre at the Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe.
Founder and host Spike McGuire will present a solo artist — The Sam Chase from the Bay Area – and a pair of duos – North Shore’s Jesse Dunn and Jenni Charles from the Dead Winter Carpenters and Reno’s Buffalo Moses and Rachael McElhiney, who both played in the band Buster Blue.
“I’ve wanted to play at this venue for probably 20 years,” McGuire told Tahoe Onstage. “Not only is it an honor to play in (Valhalla), it’s an honor to be part of that great lineup they put together. … This is the next wave of Loud As Folk expansion. We want to play seated performing art theaters. It’s all about songwriting and (an audience) sitting and at full attention.”
McGuire, 33, was born in Reno. He was homeschooled and attended a performing arts center, I Can Do Anything High School. He studied theater with a concentration on acting at Columbia College in Chicago. He’s performed in a circus and on sidewalks. He has a group, Six Mile Station, that he calls “a punk rock band disguised as an Americana band.”
In 2011, he started Loud As Folk at The Alley in Sparks. When the punk rock venue closed in 2015, Loud As Folk moved to the Pignic. Loud As Folk is held the first Thursday of the month and there is an annual four-day festival. Proceeds from each show go to a nonprofit group.
It also goes on the road, visiting California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Arizona, recruiting artists to come to Reno along the way.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch Reno grow,” McGuire said. “We have tremendous artists in every genre. That’s half of what I like to showcase and the other half is I’ve met a lot of cool people over the years on the road. And I am excited to bring them to Reno to show them off.”
The format is mostly acoustic, but “people have been known to plug in.”
“You never know what will happen at Loud As Folk, which is part of the fun of it. At the 7-year anniversary, Greg Gilmore was on the schedule for a solo set. He showed up with the entire Silver band and just put on a rippin’ fully electric set. I definitely don’t mind having full bands as long as they have a good songwriter. That’s my only requirement.”
Sam Chase, who goes by The Sam Chase, is a recipient of the Best Songwriter by San Francisco Bay Guardian readers. He’s played all the major festivals in the region: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, High Sierra and Outside Lands.
Guitarist Jesse Dunn and fiddler Jenni Charles are the founders of the diverse Americana band Dead Winter Carpenters, which has had numerous nationwide tours. Since the birth of a child, DWC is sticking closer to home more often lately.
Buster Blue was a band of Northern Nevada musicians who formed while attending University of Nevada, Reno. The group was known for making instruments out of anything that can be found in a garage. It disbanded more than a decade ago when frontman Bryan Jones, aka Buffalo Moses, moved away. Saxophonist Rachel “Rachbot” McElhiney is a Loud As Folk regular. She also plays in the garage soul band Failure Machine.
If you’ve made it this far, dear Tahoe Onstage reader, you are about to be rewarded, because we’ve “buried the ‘lede.’” Jones recently moved back to Reno and Buster Blue is getting back together. It has been recording music and will perform at this fall’s OffBeat Music and Arts Festival in Reno. Meanwhile, catch two of its bandmembers — Buffalo Moses and Rachbot– onstage together for an early reunion.
— Tim Parsons
Loud As Folk!
A songwriters showcase with Jesse and Jenni Charles from the Dead Winter Carpenters, Buffalo Moses and Rachael McElhiney, The Sam Chase and host Spike McGuire
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23
Where: Valhalla Tahoe Boathouse Theatre, Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe
Tickets: SOLD OUT