Plumas Arts presents The Waybacks at the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 13. Doors open at 7 p.m. and showtime is 7:30 p.m.
"This eclectic quintet ventures where few acoustic groups have gone. The music made by The Waybacks ... features some of the most exotic settings for mind-blowing picking you'll ever hear. These guys are extraordinary musicians, and their spellbinding solos will leave you slack jawed. They call their music 'acoustic mayhem.' I call it sheer genius," writes Michael Miller of bayarea.com.
General admission is $25 per person. Plumas Arts members may purchase an advance-sale-only discount admission ticket at $20 each. Tickets and Plumas Arts memberships may be purchased online at plumasarts.org, by calling 283-3402 or visiting the Plumas County Arts Gallery. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. General admission tickets will also be available at Quincy Natural Foods.
At the door, all tickets, if the show is not sold out, will be $25.
The performance is being made possible in part by a music-industry antitrust settlement, the California Arts Council, a state agency, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
The Waybacks repertoire is touched by Memphis soul, honky-tonk, Parisian swing, classical music, vintage blues pop and original tunes penned and performed by songwriters and singers James Nash and Warren Hood.
They draw freely from the old school and the old world, but The Waybacks are no throwback. They've been erroneously pigeonholed as a bluegrass band and celebrated as purveyors of "acoustic mayhem." They are as uninhibited and unpredictable as the eclectic San Francisco Bay area that claims them, and for nearly a decade, their experiments have always proven sharp-witted and musically dazzling.
They're living proof that in music anyway, evolution and intelligent design are entirely compatible. "The whole spirit of improvisation — that's always been the cornerstone of this band for me," says founding singer, songwriter and guitarist James Nash. "Through all the stylistic changes and regardless of the instruments we're playing, to me the fun of this band has always been that in some ways I can do whatever I feel like doing at any moment."
They've been through changes for sure. Now a four-piece with a full arsenal of acoustic and electric instruments, The Waybacks are releasing “Loaded,” the boldest, rangiest and most exciting album of their career. Produced by Nashville bassist, composer and consummate sideman Byron House, it's a musical rebuke to anyone who would typecast true artistry.
The folk and roots underpinnings that have long been a Waybacks hallmark are still there, but after years of playing a huge range of venues and festivals, touring with Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir, and reconfiguring themselves around the hot guitar of James Nash and the fiddle virtuosity of Warren Hood, The Waybacks are enjoying a refreshed repertoire. Nash and Hood have stepped forward as songwriters, allowing The Waybacks to assemble their first project of entirely original music. They're finding a new collective voice, right before our ears.
Besides Nash, the Waybacks include drummer Chuck Hamilton, bass player Joe Kyle Jr. and the newest member, fiddler and mandolin player Warren Hood. "I just thought they were all very talented players," says Hood about his attraction to The Waybacks. "I really couldn't put them into a genre, but I guess that's what I liked about it. I'd rather be in a band that plays a little of everything than a band that lives in one genre all night."
The Waybacks were launched in 1999, when Nash, a guitar phenomenon raised in Nashville, was making a living in San Francisco playing solid-body electric guitar. His involvement in an acoustic side project was not supposed to change his life, but it did. "It was kind of a novelty to me," he says. "It was a liberating, exciting thing where I kind of rediscovered that I love playing acoustic instruments."
As they began touring, Nash was quickly recognized as a top-flight picker even in the rarified company that circulated at the world's best folk, roots and bluegrass festivals. The Waybacks' show was built around blazing instrumental skills and large doses of hilarity. They'd play traditional fiddle tunes with their own twist, original songs that fell into no category, and insanely difficult jazz tunes like Charlie Parker's "Scrapple From The Apple."
Fans loved it, and so did the critics. The Chicago Tribune's David Royko praised their "near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline, and originality." Bay Area writer Michael Miller admired their "exotic settings" and "mind blowing picking." It led to major festival bookings and eventually a recording arrangement with Nashville's roots label Compass Records.
Learn more about the band on its website, waybacks.com/.
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