A bunch of characters from Camano Island, the South End String Band, plays Thursday night, Aug. 23 at the Arlington Music in the Parks program from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Terrace Park, 809 E. Fifth St. in Arlington.
Notorious for their incendiary, high-octane performances, the old time fiddle band features 12 professionals, from artists to attorneys, who play traditional bluegrass sounding tunes with their own clever lyrics in songs like the South End Blues and Jerusalem Ridge.
The musicians are Erich Schweiger, on fiddle. By day he is fire captain and builds violins, too. A potter by day, Paul Platis plays guitar. A nursing assistant and artist, Monika de Nasha plays banjo and guitar. A vocalist with the group, Wende Hilyard is a school teacher. On hammer dulcimer, Rebecca Fletcher works by day in a book store and builds kayaks. Chaim Bezalel plays guitar and autoharp and runs the Stanwood House Gallery as well as creating fine art prints with his wife. The groups stand-up bass player,
Bill Gum is retired from a publicity firm. A prolific painter by day who also teaches, John Muhler plays a variety of percussion instruments, including pots, pans and the kitchen sink. Their banjo player is Jack Archibald, the glass artist who designed The Bridge for Arlington High School, who is currently working on a commission for the new expansion at Skagit Valley Hospital.
Archibald, the craziest one of the bunch and their PR guy, definitely sets the tone for this group of grown-ups who like to have a good time.
We got homes to build and gardens to hoe and dreams to live and a whole world to create. What we got an abundance of down here on the South End is time. That may not seem like much to some folks, but here its made all the difference.
In the words of the bands spiritual advisor, Skeeter Daddle, the second record from the South Enders takes you to a geography of the imagination where the porches go on forever, the jug is never empty, and the avante-gardens sprout weeds more exotic than any suburban flower.
The band is famous on Camano Island and around Stanwood for presenting lively programs of traditional mountain bluegrass music and front-porch swing music, peppered with down-home wit and wisdom. They offer their talent at many different benefits for a variety of causes.
Their music is perfect for the outdoor venue in Terrace Park and will certainly inspired some dancing in the grass.
The band will also play from 1:30 – 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25 for the Stanwood Senior Centers auction at Crete Harveys Arabian Ranch at 29901 80th Ave. NW in Stanwood.
In the words of Daddle, A smart fella knows when its quittin time. When the jugs empty, boys, its time to face the music.
South End String Band has collected enough songs for two recordings, Legends of their Own Mines and Victims of Unbridled Ambitions, recorded and mixed by Mark Dodge of Big Quack Records.
Legends of their Own Mines songlist:
Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine
Old Joe Clark
Star of the County Down
Bile That Cabbage Down
Angeline the Baker
Cluck Old Hen
Red Haired Boy
Victims of Unbridled Ambition songlist:
South End Blues
Growling Old Man, Cackling Old Woman
Nine Hundred Miles
Old Plank Road
Honey, You Led Me to the Wrong
Pretty Little Dog
Old Mother Flanagan
8th of January
Lonesome Road Blues
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