Jack-straw's music brings to mind a new form of American roots music influenced by traditions of the South as well as the rainy woods of the Northwest.
The bluegrass band is a forerunner of Oregon's bluegrass sound. The band members know bluegrass history, play a cutting-edge take on their mix of traditional and original songs and don't hesitate to pay tribute to such music icons as The Stanley Brothers or Bill Monroe.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Where: Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland
Tickets: $18 in advance at www.gaiaconcerts.com or Music Coop; $20 at the door
"We write pretty good songs," says Darrin Craig, Jackstraw's rhythm guitarist. "We like to play a mix of those and traditional music, maybe some older country music by Merle Haggard or George Jones. So many of those old songs were played with electric bass, pedal-steel guitar and drums, but we play them with bluegrass instruments."
Jackstraw will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland. Tickets cost $18 in advance and can be purchased at www.gaiaconcerts.com or Music Coop. Tickets will cost $20 at the door.
The band formed in 1997 when Craig and guitarist Jon Neufeld met mandolin player David Pugh and bassist Jesse Withers at Artichoke Music, a guitar store in Portland. With six albums to its credit — including one performed live at The White Eagle in Portland — Jackstraw has toured the country playing roadhouses, clubs and festivals.
The Portland Mercury wrote, "With precise, nimble picking and a continually forward-thinking outlook, Jackstraw breathes young life into old-time bluegrass with their tightly strung, hollow-bodied wooden instruments, and imprints a fresh Pacific Northwest stamp on a pleasingly familiar sound."
About a year ago, Craig says, the band added banjo player Sam Yale to the mix.
"He's a good fit," Craig says. "A good singer and songwriter."
Jackstraw finished recording a new album last winter, but is holding its release until next spring when the group begins to tour again.
"After October, we won't do a lot of shows," says Craig, who's a stonemason by day. "But we'll play some of the songs from the new album at the show in Ashland."
There's "Wichita," written by Craig; "Made a Penny," by Yale; and Pugh's tongue-in-cheek "Stalking Monroe," an instrumental showcasing his mandolin playing.
Jackstraw's newest album, "Sunday Never Comes," was released in 2011 on the band's independent label.