If there is one thing that Long Beachians have learned from last year’s first Long Beach Folk Revival Festival, it is that the musical blood of some of the most truly original alternative countrified music is coursing through the live music veins around the California Southland and straight into the heart of the Long Beach music scene at a feverish rate, with LA’s own Fiddle & Pine easily maintaining a steady pulse. On a recent night out (Friday, 5/23) in the city, I had the pleasure of stumbling across Fiddle & Pine performing at DiPiazza’s and you may be wondering what a girl from Southern California knows about Bluegrass…well, I have had a lot of exposure actually, because I lived and breathed the Nashville music scene for 4 years. With that said, Fiddle & Pine is so not California and is equally not traditionally Southern, but rather a mix of both worlds…edgy and “down home” at the same time.
My venture into DiPiazza’s that Friday was not something out of my norm, by any means, but the crowd and the sound was a bit different and a refreshing change from the rock and alternative indie music that has been occupying my time. As one of the premiere live music venues in Long Beach, I am never disappointed by the eclectic offerings of music that owner, Mark DiPiazza, serves up to his patrons with a piping hot slice of pizza and a cold beer (IPA preferred…hint, hint). So, it was no surprise that this evening was going to be filled with sounds that would stimulate the senses and provide some foot tapping action for all.
The lineup for the night was comprised of Fiddle & Pine, Creekwood, Switchblade Syndicate and Scarred Sailors, but Fiddle & Pine provided the performance that truly caught my attention and brought me back to the beginning of my music business roots. A 3 person Bluegrass band is not unheard of at all, but one pretty much fronted by an amazingly multi-instrumental and vocally talented woman is a bit more rare. As I was chatting with friends for the evening, Abby Posner (guitar/banjo/mandolin), Jesse Olema (violin/guitar/vocals) and Graham Chapman (bass/vocals), who were originally brought together by their time spent at the infamous CalArts, took the stage, silenced my conversation and owned the evening.
Although it is rather common place to have someone in the audience yell “FREE BIRD!!!” during any type of live music performance (I have even done it!), it didn’t happen that night and don’t expect Fiddle & Pine to go there, because their original music rivals legendary songs that they could easily cover but their talents would be wasted being a cover band of any kind of music. While at DiPiazza’s, Fiddle & Pine showcased their songs from their self-titled album, only to further surprise me in finding out that they are about to go back in the studio for another round of recording at the end of June. I have to admit, I didn’t catch getting a rundown of the set list after the show (My bad!) but I have since purchased their album off of iTunes and I did giggle when they were listed under Traditional Folk. Traditional Folk? Their music may sound traditional, but these musicians are anything but traditional…they are very much modern with obvious elements of influences from a variety of genres, which is apparent when you hear them live. Although I could listen to their music non-stop, over and over again (live or playing their album on shuffle, of course…because you have to have some surprise in what is going to be played next), I can offer up some advice on what songs stood out for me both live and on their album: Fool, Why You Been Gone So Long and Subway…especially Subway. Maybe you haven’t heard of Fiddle & Pine before (That is ok!) but you may have heard of them under their former name, Fearmia…either way, your ears will thank you if you listen to them now.
So, the next time they are in town, I urge you to make your way to a performance and then get their album, grab your mason jar, take a seat on that whisky barrel & watch the sun set beyond the Queen Mary to the sounds of Fiddle & Pine.[adrotate banner=”4″]