Open Space for Arts & Community is celebrating CiderFest by putting on a Barn Dance, featuring the dazzling singer Jennifer Sutherland and The Barnyard Boys on Saturday, October 13 at 5:00 pm. Before the band plays some kick-up-your-heels country tunes at 6:00 pm, Sandi Silagi will teach some dance steps, including the cuddle, inside and outside turns, and the two-step.
Sure to put you in the swinging mood will be Vashon’s one-and-only country crooner Jennifer Sutherland. "Singing country comes very natural to me," said Sutherland. "I am from Idaho, and I was raised on a quarter horse ranch. I wore cowboy boots and rode horses as a child. Country is always the music I lean to, other than my Washington State Fairies work which is just pure fun and a whole other pretend."
Before moving to the island with her family eight years ago, Sutherland sang with the alt-country band Evangeline in the ‘90s. They recorded several CDs and regularly played the Tractor Tavern, The Sunset Tavern, and The Crocodile. It was then that she became known for her silky and sweet vocals and reviewers compared her to her favorite singer Emmylou Harris. Sutherland also sang in a Hank Williams cover band and has performed as a Patsy Cline impersonator.
During that time, she was lucky (and now so are we) to make friends with many talented musicians, including Seattle guitarist Garth Reeves who will share the Open Space stage with her—a reunion for them. Reeves has played with bands Dangermouse, Nubbin, and Blue Spark. His solo work is steeped in American roots traditional music. Sutherland relied on Reeves’ expertise to select the songs for the dance. Expect to hear a wide array of old danceable country songs by such greats as Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Patsy Cline, and Willy Nelson.
Reeves invited some very exceptional musicians to make up this one-night-only, honky-tonk band The Barnyard Boys. Joining him is Vashon’s Jason Staczek on the Hammond B3 organ. The two often record together. Staczek is also a composer and his keyboard work appears on the recordings of many Sub Pop artists like Zen Guerilla and the Black Halos. He has appeared on stage with Isabella Rossellini and Alanis Morissette.
Adding to the twang is guitarist Jeff Fielder who has recorded with such artists as Rocky Votolato and has toured with Mark Lanegan. On bass is Robin Cady who performs with the Roy Cay Trio, known for playing utterly danceable music. And on drums is Eric Eagle who frequently tours with Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter and jazz giant Wayne Horvitz.
"I feel honored to be playing a show with these amazing musicians," beamed Sutherland. "I am going to need a really great dress. Not to stand out from them, but to trip on," she laughed. "I always want to entertain people, but really, I want to make them laugh." And she warns folks ahead of time that she can’t dance. "I think people will appreciate when they see me trying to dance that anybody can do it."