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At its core, Americana is vagabond music. It finds new sounds as it travels from place to place — a little bluegrass here, a touch of folk there and healthy dose of rock ‘n' roll all along the way.
It’s no surprise the genre appealed to Grizzly Goat, a five-piece band that found its way to Provo from all over the country, bringing myriad musical influences along with it.
“The band started in Las Vegas in 2013 as a sort of woodsy-campfire-folk-singing group, but evolved gradually into this full Americana band over time,” said Alex Vincent, who sings and plays guitar, banjo and mandolin in the group. “Each member has been making music for well over a decade now in some form or another. We’ve all been in various groups, in a ton of different genres including punk rock, psychedelic, choral, Balinese, ska and more."
Grizzly Goat has combined those seemingly disparate influences into their own take on Americana. Though their sound is earthy, driven by banjos and acoustic guitars, there is an aggressive edge that bubbles to the surface from time to time.
“We play ‘folk’ instruments, but when our inner Clash or Sex Pistols long to manifest, (there’s no stopping us),” Vincent said. “Seeing (multi-instrumentalist Nate Waggoner) rock out on the harmonica is akin to what you might have witnessed at the height of punk rock.”
With the success of Mumford & Sons, Iron & Wine and The Lumineers, Americana has become a hugely popular musical movement and it’s accompanying style — wool caps, flannel shirts and bushy beards — has taken center stage.
For Grizzly Goat, however, singing songs about nature or rocking fantastic facial hair is not about trying to fit in with the latest fashion.
“One theme that resurfaces time and time again (in our music) is the outdoors,” Vincent said. “Nate’s a Wildlife and Wildlands major at BYU, (band member Ben Gibson) is an avid camper, hiker, and mountain climber and the rest of us really enjoy (that stuff) too. In fact, this last August while on tour, we spent two days in Smoky Mountain National Park and the better part of two days on a lake in Southern Indiana. We worked those times into our schedule because of how important the outdoors is to our creativity and happiness."
That’s not to say all of Grizzly Goat’s songs are about hugging trees. There are also plenty of tunes about broken hearts, broken bodies and tough goodbyes.
“Most of the songs come from real life experiences, and we don’t live the type of lives that one might sing about on pop or country radio. The songs sort of write themselves, and we don’t or can’t force it. Most songs are like journal entries— they’re incredibly personal and not written for any reason except for gaining perspective and clarity by the process.”
The band has upcoming shows in Provo on Feb. 10 with Joshua James and at the Park City Mountain resort on April 1. For more shows and dates, visit grizzlygoatmusic.com.