2007 Artist Lineup

Honkytonk Homeslice

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Billy Nershi, guitarist/singer/songwriter from The String Cheese Incident, proudly presents his new acoustic project – Honkytonk Homeslice. The group is a collaboration with his wife Jilian, who sings, plays guitar and contributes her original songs and Portland, Oregon-based singer- songwriter/guitarist/mandolin-player Scott Law. “This band takes the music back to its roots; back to the kind of intimate shows String Cheese did when it began,” Billy Nershi explains. “Honkytonk Homeslice invites listeners into our living room (not literally) for an intimate performance that everyone can participate in. The audience is encouraged to sing along during the show. Sometimes they even make it up to the stage to join us. It’s the kind of entertainment people used to make for themselves before radio and TV dominated.” Honkytonk Homeslice came together spontaneously in the summer of 2004. “Billy, Scott and I were singing and playing our guitars at our campsite at Horning’s Hideout (SCI festival/Oregon),” Jilian Nershi recalls. “We noticed a crowd gathering around us. The next night, the crowd was even bigger.” Scott Law takes up the story: “We were having such a good time pickin’ and singin’ that we kept falling back by the camp to play together between the official sets Billy and I had. We swapped songs and sang harmony as a trio and Jilian stole the show. The idea of gigs was brought up by one of the bystanders and that spark rolled into a small tour for the Nershis. I joined them shortly after that as a special guest and soon we began to suspect that we had some kind of chemistry going on. By last summer’s west coast run, we realized we were becoming a band.” The first official Honkytonk Homeslice gig was at the Acoustic Coffee House in Nederland, Colorado in September, 2004. Now after two tours on the west coast, one on the eastern seaboard, another in the Midwest, and two more through the Rocky Mountains the trio sees no end in sight. “Jil is an amazing singer, songwriter and harmony vocalist,” Billy Nershi says. “Scott is incredible, too. We’re doing her songs, my songs, Scott’s stuff and drawing on the whole history of bluegrass, old time music, pre-Nashville country, the psychedelic country music of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, even a few String Cheese and Talking Heads tunes.” After almost two years of spontaneous music making, the trio decided it was time to document their sound. They headed into the studio to record their self-titled album Honkytonk Homeslice. Listening to these songs, you can sense the magic being created between the three musicians. The ringing harmonies and instruments seem to conjure a fourth member of the band into the room, giving their debut album a haunting quality, and a full, rich sound. “The Big Compromise,” a SCI favorite written by Bill and Nashville ace Jim Lauderdale, is a melancholy waltz that captures the tensions that every successful relationship is prone to. Some splendid mandolin picking by Scott Law and the trio’s soaring, three part harmonies make it one of the album’s most affecting tracks. “Another River,” a Jilian Nershi original, is an introspective song about the mystery and power of nature. Scott’s rolling guitar and Billy’s deep bass notes capture the currents, waves and eddies of the river. “Shot In The Blue” is about taking chances in a world that can be very unforgiving. “Just close your eyes, make a choice and go for it,” is the message. Scott and Jilian’s close harmonies are enhanced by Billy’s driving dobro and some unique bass playing by engineer/co-producer Jim Watts. The music of Honkytonk Homeslice is largely acoustic, but Scott’s electric guitar and Billy’s lap steel often add subtle nuances to the music, creating a fresh sonic landscape. “We have a solid mutual trust and we constantly encourage each other to venture into uncharted territory,” Law says. “Making this album has also opened the door for us to write as a team. We have a song we put together on our last tour called ‘Cats,’ an expressionist piece that I believe is just the tip of the iceberg.” Artists who have joined Honkytonk Homeslice onstage include members of the Del McCoury Band, ALO, the Hot Buttered Rum String Band, Railroad Earth, New Monsoon, The String Cheese Incident, Reeltime Travelers and others.

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