Interview: Sour Mash

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Author’s note: A version of this article appears in September 2010’s issue of the Groove Magazine. All photos posted here are my own, and may differ from the printed article.

In case the name isn’t familiar, sour mash is used as part of the distillation process for making whiskey. It’s also the name of a “bluesy / jazzy / country” band here in Korea that also brags to be “boozegrass music”, I got the chance to sit down with Sour Mash over some Dos Tacos and learn about their music.


Author’s note: A version of this article appears in September 2010’s issue of the Groove Magazine. All photos posted here are my own, and may differ from the printed article.

In case the name isn’t familiar, sour mash is used as part of the distillation process for making whiskey. It’s also the name of a “bluesy / jazzy / country” band here in Korea that also brags to be “boozegrass music”, I got the chance to sit down with Sour Mash over some Dos Tacos and learn about their music.

With the band hailing from four very different areas (that’s Texas, Detroit, Buffalo, and Scotland, by the way), everything old is new again. Patricia Chamless, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, leads the way with a powerful voice and a fiddle, guitar, or a mandolin in her hands. While sounding a bit like Patsy Cline or Reba McEntire, Patricia has her own style and command of the stage. “I also write the lyrics to some of our original songs”, she proclaimed. ‘Kawrndawg’ Dave (guitar) chimed in, “I bring in some rough sketches, but it’s all about the groove.”Andy Sirvio rocks the bass on stage, but off-stage he keeps everything organized. His experience running the open mic at Stompers is actually how the band got together. As Patricia put it, “I kept going in, getting drunk and making an ass of myself. I caught Andy’s attention with my mandolin [during the open-mic night]” The final member of the quartet – Jed Pavlovich on drums – keeps the beat going with apparent ease.

“If I had a banjo, I’d be the happiest girl in the world”, Patricia said during one recent performance, as if playing the fiddle, the guitar, and the mandolin isn’t enough. Combining covers and original songs from multiple genres sounds difficult, but the rhythms of blues, jazz, and country have more in common than you think. A solid beat, a smooth set of backing instruments, and moderate tempos make it easy to dance, if your feet (and a couple drinks) lead you to the floor.

Near the end of their set, they invited a couple other musicians from the following band to join them. “We like to invite the other musicians to join us for our last song”, Patricia said after the show. Their final cover, originally done by The Wake, rocked the house and brought screams for encores.

The band won’t be everyone’s flavor of alcohol, but they’re about as far from that annoying K-pop as you can get. Bring an open mind and settle into a comfortable chair. In the meantime, pass the bottle of Jack.

For more information about Sour Mash, check out their Facebook page.

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Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2010

This post was originally published on my blog, Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.




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