Two Times Two
Shee Haw’s pair of hard-traveling ladies brings infectious country to Monterey County for back-to-back shows.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
It kind of sounds like the beginning of an alternate version of Thelma & Louise… but without a tragic ending: Texan Bridget Moser and Wisconsin native Mandy Lee first met eight years ago at a hostel in Denver, Colo.
“It was some kind of miracle,” Moser says. “We’ve been playing music ever since. We’ve been on and off at times but reunited a year and a half ago and made an album, and we’ve been working really hard on getting together a second album, expanding our touring down south.”
But before Shee Haw heads south to Big Sur and beyond, they’ll first stop tonight at the Alternative Cafe and tomorrow at Pierce Ranch.
The duo’s debut Wanted draws from a body of regional influences, but good old country music stands out as the backbone. In “Cowgirl,” the piano, which sounds like it was plucked from some dusty saloon out of the 1840s Wild West, acts as a third voice, lazily meandering along with Moser and Lee.
At this point in her life, Moser has accepted that country music is part of her DNA (their album also features spot-on covers of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Long Black Veil” and Hank Williams’ “Cheatin’ Heart.”)
“Country music was always around when I was growing up and I actually got sick of it by the time I left Texas,” she says. “People would always tell me that I sang with a twang and I always tried not to sing with twang. Country music is a huge part of me and I guess I can’t get away from it.”
Moser also lived in North Carolina for a while, where she absorbed some Appalachian influence, which is regularly integrated into Shee Haw’s music.
The short instrumental “Pluck the Cluck” is a fast-paced mountain waltz powered by expert finger-picking in the Appalachian tradition of past masters like Doc Watson and Roscoe Holcomb.
Moser says she brings her acoustic Martin guitar wherever she goes – even when she’s not on the road – just in case life inspires her in a certain way.
“Songs always seem to come when they come,” she says.
But one of the keys to Shee Haw’s longevity – and Moser and Lee’s lasting, Thelma & Louise-like bond – is they’re equals when it comes to their musical partnership.
“We both write lyrics and we both write the music and both of us sing lead and back-up,” Moser says. “It changes from song to song.”
For Moser, another key to Shee Haw’s perpetual life and constant songwriting inspiration: spending her time off making pottery and living on a sailboat in Princeton Harbor outside of Half Moon Bay.
“I love it,” she says. “It’s a really simple life and I’m surrounded by the mountains and ocean. It’s a great place for writing and working on music.”
SHEE HAW and KENNY CHUNG & FRIENDS perform at 8pm Thursday, July 5, at Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $5. 583-0913. 8:30pm Friday, July 6, at Pierce Ranch Tasting Room, 499 Wave St., Monterey. $5. 372-8900. For more on Shee Haw, www.sheehaw.com or www.youtube.com/sheehawesome