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One Horse Shy

The members of One Horse Shy are getting ready for a busy summer. The alt-country band will present an unplugged set on Friday, June 5, at Tease Restaurant & Bar and a totally plugged-in show on Saturday, June 6, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant, Ashland.

Then in a couple of weeks, One Horse Shy will head to Portland to play at the Alberta Pub, then to Seattle to perform at the Conor Byrne Pub and the Star and Thistle.

"It's great for us," Evoniuk says. "We have various friends and relations that we can see when we tour up North. We've been playing in Portland and Eugene every few months. Seattle is new for us. We've met some like-minded musicians up there. We'll split the bill with The Starlings at Conor Byrne. In Portland, we play with a band called Rogue Motel and other people that I know through bluegrass connections, such as Jackstraw and True North.

"The latter are musicians that I've known for many years," Evoniuk says. "They're kind enough to put in a good word for our band at places where we're unknown."

In July, One Horse Shy will perform with Chesapeake Blue at Sam Bond's Garage in Eugene, at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point and Three Creeks Brewery in Sisters. See myspace.com/onehorseshy for upcoming shows.

Evoniuk's first band in Ashland was called Foxfire. He still plays with a locally-based bluegrass ensemble called Siskiyou Summit.

"Some of the guys from Foxfire are in Siskiyou Summit," Evoniuk says. "We go back about 20 years." Evoniuk also worked with songwriter and guitarist Emy Phelps as a duo. Phelps now has her own band.

One Horse Shy began as a duo with songwriters Cris Kelly (guitar) and Manda Bryn. Later, bassist Mysha Caruso and percussionist Bryan Helfrich rounded out the group to a quartet.

"About two years ago, I saw them performing at a First Friday art walk in Ashland," Evoniuk says. "I really liked their sound, and I asked if I could sit in with them at a gig. It was a good fit, and I've been playing with them since."

One Horse Shy calls its sound urban or alternative country, and it is related to many kinds of music, including bluegrass, country and rock.

"That sort of stuff has always been my interest," Evoniuk says. "That's what I grew up listening to in Virginia. While I was living there, it was a hotbed for alternative country. Back then, country music was straight-ahead Nashville music. What I considered to be alternative was stuff by Graham Parsons and The Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Scaggs. These were the first rock 'n' roll artists that presented country music to rock audiences, and it was accepted. It stuck.

"That was around the '70s," Evoniuk says. "Living in that era was like being a kid in a candy store. There were all of these traditional bluegrass bands, and there were younger rock 'n' roll artists who were playing their own interpretations of bluegrass and country.

"It turned country music upside down. It brought a new traditional sound to mainstream country music that has been there since," Evoniuk says. "You could say that country music has come full circle. Over the last couple of decades, country, rock and bluegrass have gotten much closer to their roots."

One Horse Shy also is chipping away at a second album.

"I wouldn't want to guess when it will be released," Evoniuk says. "When we're playing a lot at shows, we hone new material and then try to get into the studio to record it."

One Horse Shy's self-titled first album was released in 2008 on the band's own label, and it is available at CD Baby and iTunes on the Web and at Music Coop in Ashland.

"If you listen to our first recording, you'll hear that some of the older songs have a soft edge," Evoniuk says. "I came in after a lot of the basic tracks were recorded for the first album, so I tailored my playing to the material.

"The newer songs are more sophisticated. We're more practiced as a band in terms of arranging songs. The new material is being developed by the band as a whole, and Cris and Mandy have become even better songwriters over the past two or three years," Evoniuk says. "And we've stayed close to the roots of our music. That's what appeals to our audiences."

One Horse Shy will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at Tease, 303 E. Main St. Cover for the show is $3. Call 488-1458. The show at Alex's, 35 N. Main St., will start at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Cover also will be $3. Call 482-8818.

Left to right: Cris Kelly, Bryan Helfrich, Bob Evoniuk, Mysha Caruso and Manda Bryn are the Ashland-based alt-country band One Horse Shy. - Photo by Shaina Evoniuk