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Buster Blue

When Buster Blue comes to town, it'll put on a show as much as a concert. The raucous, Nevada-based folk band comprises five, finely dressed performers playing more than a dozen different instruments.

"Each of us is a multi-instrumentalist, and the whole time, we're switching instruments and handing off instruments," says musician Andrew Martin.

Some of the instruments fit the Americana bill — piano, guitar, banjo and accordion — and the rest are what make Buster Blue an original outfit. The band is Martin on guitar, banjo, piano, accordion and trombone; Jay Escamillo on drums, harmonica and 5-gallon plastic bucket; Rachel McElhiney on baritone saxophone, clarinet, piano, accordion and glockenspiel; Brendon Lund on bass and chains; and Bryan Jones on guitar, banjo and tenor sax.

Buster Blue will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland; and at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Johnny B's, 35 S. Bartlett St., Medford.

The band is on the home stretch of a 150-stop tour through 11 western states. Last year, it released its debut, full-length album, "When the Silver's Gone." The album was recorded in the supposedly haunted Piper's Opera House in Virginia City, Nev. The band recorded live in the empty auditorium, allowing the space's natural acoustics to add texture to the music.

“What you're hearing on the album is all the room sounds,” Martin says. “We didn't add any artificial reverberation.”

While keeping to the roots traditions, the themes presented on the album have a Gothic edge. The songs are about death, leaving home, losing a loved one and loneliness, Martin says.

However, these dark themes do not apply to all of the band's original music. Its 2009 experimental EP, "This Beard Grows for Freedom," demonstrates the band's lighter side.

All the members of the band attended the same high school in Gardnerville, Nev. The band started as a duo with Escamillo and Jones playing acoustic guitar and makeshift drums (actually, pots and pans and suitcases) at local coffee shops.

Cover charges to both shows have yet to be announced. Call 541-482-4677 or 541-773-1900 or see www.busterblue.com.

Buster Blue is influenced by Tom Waits, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and various roots music artists. - Photo by Alex Lemus