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Arts / Americana act to bring ‘eclectic’ music to Mareel

Front Country.

A GROUP from California which snatches inspiration from bluegrass, country, blues and Americana is set to perform in Lerwick tonight (Tuesday).

Front Country – who describes themselves as “roots pop” – will headline Mareel, with local act Kansa in support.

Music bible Rolling Stone said they exude “sharply played ensemble Americana, with a powerhouse vocalist who puts the blues in bluegrass”.

It is Front Country’s first visit to Shetland and singer and songwriter Melody Walker said gig-goers should expect “eclectic acoustic-electric music with creative arrangements and fine playing and harmony singing”.

“Front Country started in San Francisco about seven years ago as a progressive bluegrass band, with mandolin, banjo, fiddle, upright bass and guitar, and while we still play those instruments, our sound has had no other constraints except the instrumentation,” she added.

“So we have evolved over the years to be more and more ourselves, as we write more original material and play to our unique combo of interests and skills. You could call it Americana, as that’s a very broad umbrella, but we call it roots pop.”

Showing the broad range of influences which snake their way into the songwriting, the band released the EP Mixtape a few years ago which included covers of acts from prog-rockers King Crimson and Eagles man Don Henley to left-field indie outfit tUnE-yArDs.

They have also released two full albums – 2014’s Sake of the Sound and 2017’s Other Love Songs – while a third is in the offing.

“Our next album has even less rules than ever before, and we are exploring new instrumentation: drums, keys, electric guitar,” Walker said.

“We are really excited for the next evolution of Front Country.”

Before that, though, is their maiden trip to Shetland – and it seems the Americans are ready to immerse themselves in what the isles have to offer.

“Of course we’ve heard of the Folk Festival and the ponies, but we are looking forward to seeing what it’s really like and hopefully meeting a significant percentage of the population… of both people and ponies,” Walker said.

“All are welcome at the show!”

Limited tickets for Front Country at Mareel are still available via the Shetland Arts box office.