A popular local band, The Timber Rattlers, will be bringing their high-energy bluegrass music to the Free Cycles stage.
“You’d be foolish to miss the show,” said Bob Giordano, the executive director and founder of Free Cycles.
While the quintet itself is only a few years old, each band member has been in the world of music for most of their lives.
“I think they are some of the finest musicians anywhere, all of them,” Giordano said.
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Jesse Brown, the band’s violinist, was taken to a music shop by his mother when he was 4 years old. He was told to pick an instrument and so he chose the violin. He was made to practice every day and said that at the time he didn’t always enjoy it. But looking back, he is grateful for being encouraged to learn to play.
Brown had been playing music with Caleb Dostal, the band’s banjo player, since they were both 11 years old. That was around the same time that Dostal started learning to play the banjo, purely because he loved the sound. Brown says Dostal’s skill on banjo often astounds him.
Dave McMeekin also started out playing banjo, but has since picked up the mandolin. With a natural gift for music, Brown says he picked it up with no problem. Hearing McMeekin’s mandolin picking in the band’s original songs, one would think he was born with the instrument in hand.
The band’s bassist, Dillon Johns, has formal training in jazz and classical music from the University of Montana and now teaches elementary school music. But once upon a time, he also played in a metal band with Brown. Playing bluegrass is a more recent, albeit, seamless switch in music genres, Brown said.
Jamie Drysdale, the lead guitarist, also has a diverse musical background, having played in a punk rock band and growing up with a mother who taught opera. Brown said this understanding of how to really use his voice “correctly” and to “belt” makes Drysdale the perfect frontman for the group.
Decades of experience among all five musicians, combined with years of playing with each other in different bands and capacities, means that on stage the band is nothing short of cohesive. Live shows can be a time for songs to develop and evolve naturally and that is often made possible by the band’s ability to communicate on stage, according to Brown.
“There’s no real timidity, I suppose, when trying out new things and being OK with it and not feeling like we’re going to be judged for anything,” Brown said.
While the band plays mostly traditional-style bluegrass, they also throw in some country and play their original tunes. Their 2021 debut album, “Last Echo,” is an 11-song collection of upbeat, boot-stomping tunes, a few of which are instrumental. Each musician’s raw skill brings the songs to life with clever, original melodies, full harmonies and clean, united rhythms.
The band is now working on its second album and plans to release it sometime after a summer of playing as many live shows as each busy band member can swing.
“That’s the most rewarding and enjoyable thing with playing music is being with these guys,” Brown said. “And being able to interact with those kind of experiences where it’s unspoken, but really cool things happen musically, just naturally.”