309s are headlining at the American and Bluegrass Day at The Trades Club at the famous Hebden Folk Roots Festival, now in its 5th year. Find out more on this foot tapping, bluegrass band here… I caught up with Rod from the band to find out more…
When did you first get into music? Especially bluegrass ?
I used to write songs on guitar as a teenager, and played bass in a punk rock band in the early 80s. I got bored of pop music in the mid-80s and stopped playing music for a while. A friend (Alistair McIlroy) got interested in playing banjo around 1986 and he got me hooked. I bought an acoustic guitar and starting learning old bluegrass standards. At one time I knew over 200 songs. Alistair and I had two bluegrass bands from the late 80s to the mid 90s, The Six Yard Dogs and The Bronte Mountain Band. We played various festivals such as Edaleas well as regular stage performances at regional bluegrass clubs and local pubs.
In 1993 I was invited to join a new Bradford-based traditional Cajun band, The Cajun Aces. This 5-piece band played all over the UK and also overseas (USA, France, Dubai). We recorded two CDs. I left the band in 2003 and returned to bluegrass, with a band called The Doghouse Irregulars. The DIs explored music beyond bluegrass, such as Western Swing and 1940s Country. In 2007, I started The 309s with old Cajun mates Ian Tothill (fiddle) and John Murphy (bass).
Do you write your own Music?
The 309s are an unusual band. We explore the genres of popular music being recorded in the southern states of America in the decades prior to the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Genres such as Western Swing from Texas, Jazz & RnB from New Orleans, Country Boogie & Honky Tonkfrom Tennessee, all influenced the pioneers of RnR, such as Bill Haley and Elvis. We like to plunder all of this rich resource and rehash it into own highly danceable songs. About half of our current set list is now made up of our own songs, and we have a CD with six of them on. Our latest is a bluesy boogie called Fireproof – “I thought my heart was fireproof, but you burned your way inside.”
Your music is so upbeat, how do you all feel when playing it?
I hope all bands enjoy playing the music they play! We play dance music, so we feel like dancing when we play it. We have to control ourselves sometimes, otherwise the music would stop!
What can we expect from the 309′s at the Hebden Folk Roots Festival?
Last year we rocked the joint, we plan to do the same this year. (Warning Bluegrass lovers – we have drums!)
Where can we find you on the web? What links would you like our readers to look at?
Our web site is www.the309s.com. You can also find us on Facebook.