Another wonderful show at the Filling Station this last week, the 30th of November, put on by Compound Productions featuring Flat Cheddar and Pert Near Sandstone. A romping evening of bluegrass goodness was supplied in fine fashion complete with swing dancing and foot stomping. I caught up with Pert Near Sandstone after the show and got them to throw down on a quick interview. Here is what came of it.

How did you all come together?

Nate, J and Kevin all went to high school together.  Nate was a couple classes younger but we had many mutual friends, and knew each other mainly from parties, and concerts. Ryan Young was in that crew of friends, and played in a band with J.

Years later after we had all gone our separate ways in college, worldly wanderings and what have you, we met randomly at a party and discovered we had all begun to play folk and acoustic music.  At first it was an excuse to get together and have some beer, jam on instruments and watch the MN Timberwolves. After a few months, we had a bit of a repertoire and decided that it would be fun to book a gig at a local café.

Where do your roots lie in your musical influence?

Each member of the band has different musical influences.  We all grew up listening to folk music in our houses and A Prairie Home Companion. Although we each went though our phases, Nate with rock and blues, Kevin with folk and classic country, J with jazz, rock  and ska, we all made our way back to acoustic music for the convenience of  it more than anything. It was easier to sit in a living room party with guitars and fiddles than a practice space in a weird warehouse while punk rockers were blasting their amps with unchecked vengeance and drummers were flexing their sets. We initially listened to The New Lost City Ramblers, Lonesome Dan Kase & the Crush Collision Trio, The Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs, the DitchLilies, Spider John Koerner, Garcia/Grisman.  Today we are as influenced by old 78’s and field recordings of old obscure pickers as we are by the new Tom Waits album.

What makes your band unique?

Being from Minneapolis, the scene has an isolation factor. The music scene has a do-it-yourself approach, which has given birth to some unique performers and songwriters.  We’ve gathered influences from the local roots music scene, as well as studied the sounds other national groups achieve. It is a pretty organic process that has led to what you’d call our sound today, and was accidental in the beginning.  We began to choose traditional songs that worked better for our live performances, and then began writing songs that fit in a set with that repertoire.  What we had then was an eclectic mix of original and traditional music. Eclectic sounds.

What do you all think of Bozeman, and how many times have been here?

Pert Near has been to the Filling Station about 8 times or so I believe. The first time was with our good friends Trampled by Turtles. They took us on the road with them, and showed us the circuit we still travel today.  Bozeman has always been great. The audience is enthusiastic and love to dance. Compound Productions and the Filler take great care of us as a traveling band.  We always hit a hot springs while in town, and The Western Café. The Music Villa is a trusted spot to pick up whatever we may need also. Our association with Bozeman is half mountain spa and the other half great music town.

Thoughts on the filling station?

The Filler is a cool room. We have played a lot of road houses and that is one of our favorites. We like the honky-tonk dance hall feel, with the vintage gasoline décor. Dean, who often does the engineering, is a great guy to work with and really knows how to mix that room.

What is American music to you all?

It stems from the social music that people play for their own entertainment. It is a amalgamation of different music’s that make American Music. Although all music is influenced by some older archaic form, American popular music seems to have an inventiveness that isn’t seen elsewhere. Likewise, the folk music has had an evolution that has come to see the formation of many sub-genres and styles unique to the US.

Future plans for shows and new music?

We are traveling down south and out east in February, and out to Colorado in March. We are getting ready to head back into the studio with new songs, even though we just released Paradise Hop a few weeks ago.  We always are writing new material, trying new ideas, and digging up traditional tunes and sounds that we learn from and fit Pert Near Sandstone as a project.

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