Encore Music Series with Gutter Gospel & Square Peg
The Encore music series hosts Gutter Gospel and Square Peg on Thursday April 25 at 7PM. This event will be an intimate gathering of listening and sharing with Nat and Zeke Bob — a string duo featuring close harmonies steeped in Southern gospel — and the sweet and sardonic sounds of Val and Max Davis.
Gutter Gospel leans on the old timey tradition like a sturdy crutch, and picks a revolving lineup of banjo, mandolin, and guitar, even an occasional fiddle.
Nat grew up on the open Minnesota prairie, the son of poor, God-fearing tenant farmers. His wanderlust carried him off the family spread and from coast to coast living out of a guitar case. Zeke Bob, an orphan from birth, knows no blood kin and grew up in a traveling tent show under the care of a pentecostal preacher with a taste for cheap bourbon.
Folklore has it that a young Nat (or was it Zeke Bob?) secretly traded his neighbor a good laying hen for an old guitar. When his papa found the hen missing, the youth was threatened with a lashing but his sweet guitar sounds soothed the angry father and he got to keep the guitar, which he made good use of by playing locally at church functions and late night hootenannies.
Having met in a halfway house for wayward drifters, Nat and Zeke Bob found they shared a strong tie to the country roots lineage and took to the road. Their sets include numbers from the lesser-known side of Appalachia — obscure tunes penned by 19th-century preachers and brought into glory by once-popular brothers duos like the Blue Sky Boys, the Stanley, Monroe, Delmore and Louvin brothers. Others by the likes of the Carter Family and Grayson and Whitter. There's not a song in the show that's less than 60 years old.
While most of these tunes preach salvation, it's no simple matter. Yes, these are tales of struggles to make sense of death and suffering, struggles to keep a good head in a bad world. But they are also the theme songs of hillbilly heroes who sing sweet about God's grace only to spend the rest of the night chasing girls in an alcohol- and pill- fueled tear. This ain't Sunday school. It's road weary tales straight from life's hard side, and straight from the hearts & souls of our musical ancestry.
Contemporary bluegrass outfits find their roots in the same fertile soil, but go to great lengths to avoid the God stuff. Nat and Zeke Bob’s Gutter Gospel unearths these songs without shame, dusts them off, and puts a spit shine on them for posterity.
Val and Max Davis of Square Peg have been married for 28 years, and have lived in Taos for 22 of those years.
“We write music from our experiences along life's highway, and we are constantly looking for music from other performers that rings true with our experiences. Among our influences are Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Robert Johnson, The Civil Wars, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Leon Redbone, Tom Waits, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Raitt, and Luciano Pavarotti.”
– Max Davis
Born and raised in Arkansas, Valerie Davis grew up in a family of singers. She considers herself incredibly fortunate to have participated in high quality music programs – both choral and instrumental – in high school and college. Val received a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a classroom K-8 teaching certificate from the University of Missouri. In 2008 Val received her Master’s of Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught kindergarten, band, and general music in both public and private schools around the Taos area for the last 16 years.
Max was born in Hobbs New Mexico, among the mesquite, coyotes, and oil fields. His college education focused on Radio/TV broadcasting. He is now a part owner and brewguyver/distribunator at Taos Mesa Brewing. He and Val have been playing music in Taos for 10 years or so. Square Peg released their first CD in 2005, and are currently working on another release.
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Beer and wine will be available for purchase from Taos Mesa Brewing.
Tickets are $10 for TCA members and $12 general admission.