Artist You Should Know: Mountain Outlaw Band

The Fresno BeeDecember 31, 2013 

Members of the The Mountain Outlaw Band met while in school in Mariposa. The band has been playing for close to three years.

SPECIAL TO THE BEE

Bluegrass, Americana and old-time folk music isn't exactly a hip new trend, even with the mainstream success of bands like The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. But these kinds of traditional styles are being discovered (and played) by a new crop of young musicians, including the Mountain Outlaw Band.

The group — who met at school in Mariposa — plays songs full of tight harmonies, with quick-tempo banjo picking and mandolin strums. These are songs about mountain living and farm life. The whole thing comes off as porch-sitting, moon-shine drinking outlaw music.

The Bee talks with guitarist Dustin Craghead to find out more about the group.

Let's start with the basics. Who does what in the band?

I do lead guitar, vocals, keyboard and am the saxophonist. Matt Chase does rhythm guitar and vocals. Devan Hammer plays mandolin and vocals. Mathew Pearman is the percussionist. Isaac Simpson is on banjo, bass and vocals. Kyle Campeau and Chris Wanner are on rhythm guitar, as well.

Can we get a short history of the group?

Most of us have been born and raised here in Mariposa, playing music since the fourth grade. By high school the band had started to form, and by 2011 the band had the town in its holsters. Ha ha!

The kind of old-time music you play is seeing a resurgence of sorts, but it's not mainstream like pop or rock music, especially for guys your age. How'd you get introduced to the music?

Growing up with the sound of old classics has had an enormous influence on us. For me, as a kid, I saw the appreciation of older music kind of starting to dwindle. We just like this music and want to preserve it. Despite what we present at our average gig, we play and listen to pretty much every genre. If you look at our iPods, you'll see everything from the hokiest of bluegrass to the darkest of metal, to rap and hip hop.

What kind of gigs are there for this kind of band? Are you looking to bridge into more of the bar/club scene?

For the most part its bars, restaurants, private parties and special functions for us. Clubs would be really nice, though ... We eat, breathe and sleep music, and whether as a band or as individuals, we will never stop believing in the power of what music can do for the human soul.

Find out more about the band on Facebook. Search Mountain Outlaw Band.

Know a local band or musician more people should be familiar with? Send details to Joshua Tehee, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @joshuatehee on Twitter.

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