Michael “Hoss” Wasbotten (mandolin); David “The Colonel” Dickey II (banjo); Tula “Lulu” Lee (fiddle); Kyle “Big Daddy” Fisher, ("doghouse" bass); Scott “Slappy” Ranger (guitar).
CITIES OF ORIGIN:
Redlands, San Bernardino, Monrovia, Pasadena.
Florida Rose (2006).
Take a spin in the ol‘ flux capacitor-equipped DeLorean and set the clock back to the Carter Family of the ’20s and ’30s, plus early 1940s Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys.
Does history appear to be repeating itself? We’re livin‘ in times where nobody has money, much less a job, as folks slug through what many are opining as the worst recession since the Great Depression. And if we dial back the clock roughly 80 years (quick high school history re-cap; the Depression struck in 1929 and didn’t recover ’til near World War II), we’ll hear tunes similar to that of today’s The Mill Creek Boys.
Seems as if the Boys have embarked on a primed quest to, as mandolin player Michael “Hoss” Wasbotten tells us, take the audience back to a simpler time when nobody had money, much less a job.
According to Wasbotten, the quintet dates back to the late 1990s—before America’s recent plunge into economic ruin—when he and banjo man David “The Colonel” Dickey II teamed up to create the outfit. Yet, if you glance at the roster, you’ll note that the Boys aren’t all boys. So, what’s in a name (one that also references Mill Creek in the San Bernardino mountains)?
“I’ve always wanted an old time, ‘classic’ look and sound,” says Wasbotten. “Most of the bands in the ‘20s [and] ‘30s named themselves after where they actually came from, so it was just logical to go with a creek close by. Many bands in that era had female players and they accepted the name, especially if it meant money in the bank in hard times.”
The Boys will be playing the forthcoming Americana Music Night, which they’ll share the bill with the Zydeco Mudbugs, Hobo Jazz, Kattwompus String Band and Gary Lee and the Bayou Gators. Expect plenty of acoustic stringed instruments, some tough-luck lyrics and dancing to the band’s “Tennessee Waltz.” It’s all about having a blast from, and with, the past—even if it’s eerily like the present.
“American history has always interested me, especially the hard times,” says Wasbotten. “Music from these times always brings out raw emotions. Simple pleasures, and songs, always prevail. Stripping a song down to its bare minimum conveys that sound, sometimes to a single voice with a simple guitar accompaniment. [It’s] very powerful!”
The Mill Creek Boys w/ the Zydeco Mudbugs, Hobo Jazz, Kattwompus String Band and Gary Lee and the Bayou Gators at Fox Event Center, 123 Cajon St., Redlands, (909) 792-3888; www.foxeventcenter.com. Sat, 6:30PM. $15.