Theater & Arts

Artists You Should Know: Whisky Row

Local country duo Whisky Row have a good chance to make an impression with the country music industry this weekend.

Whisky Row - Mike Pereira and Jason Ruffoni, both 32 and from Kerman - is competing in the regional competition of the the Colgate Country Showdown, a prestigious talent competition for up-and-coming country musicians.

Whisky Row won the local area competition, then took the state competition in late August. Now they'll go to North Bend, Ore., for the regional battle on Saturday.

We talked to Whisky Row to learn more about their group, their music and the competition.

Give us a brief history of the group. We've been the best of friends since freshman year of high school. The first time we met was at a music event where Jason was rapping and Mike was the lead singer of a quartet called "4 The One." As we grew older, we formed various bands along the way and eventually decided to give it a go as a country duo.

You guys have an interesting background in that you previously did hip-hop and alternative music. How does that translate to being a country act? Music is an international language. The great thing about us is that we're extremely versatile. We chose country music because we honestly feel that country music best represents our character and values. We splash the other styles of music that we've been involved in a little here and there in our songs. We like to call our style of country "yallternative!"

What makes you guys stand out versus some of the acts you've seen and heard in the contest so far? We've been playing music a long time together and we've been fortunate to play our music in a wide array of venues. We love what we do and are comfortable performing in any situation. We would say we have all the qualities you look for in a major country act: vocals, chemistry, appeal, and most of all a solid arsenal of original music.

What do you think the exposure of this contest could do for your career? Making it to regionals is a huge honor. The regional competition is where record labels send A&R reps to see if there is anyone that has what it takes to be a new country act. Regionals is where acts like Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley and others had a chance to make their first impression on the industry. Whisky Row hopes to do the same!

Describe your live show in exactly 11 words. We take you back, bring you up, and get you drunk.

What should people look forward to from you guys soon? We've been working on our album "Can't Follow A Killer" for almost two years now. It should be done around the first of the year. If we win regionals you can catch us on ABC in March. You can always see what's going on with the Row at

Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send details to mosegueda