Live music, farm-fresh food, local craft beers and blue skies — what's not to love? Ashland band Patchy Sanders will kick off a new summer concert series Saturday, July 13, at Hanley Farm, 1053 Hanley Road, Central Point. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and the Ashland band will play from 6 to 8 p.m.
The concert series will continue on the second Saturday of each month through September.
6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 — Three Little Birds (island-bluegrass music)
6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 — Bear Creek Band (Americana)
Picnic dinners, including pulled-beef sandwiches and vegetarian flat bread sandwiches by local chef Kristen Lyon, will be available for purchase at the farm kitchen. There also will be beers by Walkabout Brewing Co. and Ninkasi Brewing Co., wines courtesy of Quady North, and locally made root beer.
At this time last year, Patchy Sanders was a band of nearly 19 musicians and songwriters, but since then the band has been consolidated to a core group of multi-instrumentalists that includes sisters Danielle and Jacqueline Aubert, their boyfriends Ian Van Ornum and Daniel Sherrill, and a fifth and sixth wheel — Alex Patterson and Eric Jones.
Earlier this year, several members of the band moved from the Greensprings to Ashland to be more in touch with the local music scene, but the move did little to urbanize them.
Sherrill says they still enjoy baking sourdough bread, fermenting their own sauerkraut, making mead, foraging for morel mushrooms and wearing clothing made from natural fibers.
"A lot of our day-to-day existence is based on simplicity," he says.
The same is true of the band's music, which is eclectic, original and organic.
"There's something about the purity of keeping music acoustic," Sherrill says. "It's like the energy that was put into these beautiful wooden instruments is still available to the listener."
The band plays acoustic instruments typically associated with bluegrass — guitar, banjo, mandolin and upright bass — as well as harmonica, bouzouki, harp, penny whistle, tambourine and drums.
"We have songs that touch on that traditional, Americana folk, but we have other songs that toss that aside and make you stop and think, 'What is that?' " Sherrill says. "Those songs have odd time signatures and nonsense where we're using our voices to create a percussive element, kind of like beat boxing, but it's really soft and flowy.
"A paramount part of our music is this theatrical, childlike playfulness."
In addition to bluegrass, Patchy Sanders plays Appalachian-style mountain music (courtesy of the Aubert sisters), Irish pub crawl and drinking tunes (courtesy of Von Ornum), and folk and Americana (courtesy of Sherrill.)
The band recently recorded an album at a studio in Weed, Calif. — the same studio where one of their idols, Joanna Newsom, recorded "Have One On Me."
"The album (due out in August) is layered with an intricate orchestration of strings," Sherrill says. "It's a cornucopia of sounds. Not only does the genre change from song to song, but the instrumentation, as well. It's like eating a delicious meal for every song."
Tickets to the band's outdoor concert at Hanley Farm cost $10, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Bring a picnic blanket or chair. Call 541-773-6536, ext. 1002, or see www.sohs.org.