Bluegrass, New Grass
Evergreen Grass Band keeps evolving, puts priority on new album
Our hometown string boys Evergreen Grass Band haven’t put out an album for five years, though they’ve tried to at least two and a half times now.
Their first album, For Sheriff was released in 2010, and the band already started putting work in on a sophomore effort in 2011, when the loss of a band member set things on hold for a minute while they restructured.
Then the new lineup headed into April Base studio in November of 2012, only to have their producer’s external hard drive carrying the audio files stolen during post-production. And even if they wanted the backup files, they decided as a band that the songs weren’t really all that great to begin with.
“Despite the difficulties, I think that all of us agree that we wouldn’t have it another way. The travel is rewarding and keeps our home fresh.” – Matt Jagow, Evergreen Grass Band, on the band’s relentless touring
Early last year, they started the recording process once again only to run into months of more lineup shuffling as another member left.
“What we’ve found over the years is that being on the road a lot and having a semi-nomadic lifestyle can be taxing on a person and everyone else in their lives,” said Matt Jagow, one of only two original members still in the band. “Sometimes it’s just too much and someone will need a change.”
So now, with all of that nonsense behind them, Evergreen – the name kind of has an ironic twist now – is putting forth their strongest effort to date in a new album that will encompass a half-decade on the road seeing the world from a band that spends 140-180 nights a year playing sets of blistering bluegrass and upbeat rock and roll in different clubs.
“Despite the difficulties, I think that all of us agree that we wouldn’t have it another way,” Jagow said. “The travel is rewarding and keeps our home fresh. We are all still happy to come home. The road is a wonderful place and over the course of the years we’ve been doing this, we have met so many new and great people in so many new cities that often times, it feels like home wherever we are.”
The band is currently holding a Kickstarter to raise $2,300 to complete the new album, a chunk of change that could go a long way towards those pricey recording bills. When this issue went to press, the band had about $600 raised, with six days until their campaign closes.
Jagow said the new stuff isn’t exactly a departure from their previously recorded material. A lot changes in five years. Songwriters grow up, they experience the world, they have new things to say. Not to mention, you can get a lot better at your instrument in that amount of time.
“The first album was our first attempt at the actual recording process itself. We were learning how to do everything as we went,” he said. “All in all, we all feel the outcome will be a much better sounding band recorded in a much more professional way.”
In the meantime, the band is touring – as always – all summer with a stop in Eau Claire on May 2 at the House of Rock. If you miss them then, be sure to catch them as the only local band featured in the lineup for the Blue Ox Music Festival this summer.
“This is the most excited we’ve been for a festival ever,” Jagow said.
The string band’s last five years have been a rollercoaster of soaring interstates, abrupt changes, packed clubs, deferred albums, new life. It’s very much the strain and stress that gets put on any relationship, but it should speak volumes that they’ve stuck it out into this new album.
After all, Jagow called it a make-or-break moment for the band – an album not only as a piece of art, but as the duct tape that holds Evergreen’s future intact. And things are looking up.
Says Jagow: “The band fully realized by this point that putting out a new album was paramount to the band’s future health and success so we made it a priority at all costs.”
Learn more about the band at www.evergreengrassband.com.