"Impossible to Squelch a Smile..." The crowd was ready to dance the minute Deadwood Revival took the stage at the Tractor. The bluegrass twosome from Port Angeles, Kim Trenerry (guitar and vocals) and Jason Mogi (banjo and vocals), bring spry sharp harmonies and an effortlessly cheerful energy to every song. The good cheer was in full effect tonight, as Trenerry bopped around smiling whenever she wasn't singing, and couldn't keep the smile off even when she was. A few friends rounded out their sound: violinist Ellie Holzemer of Cross-Eyed Rosie lent a rollicking flair to the second half, and two members of Hot Buttered Rum joined in on a couple of songs with dobro and upright bass. Mogi, seated with his banjo, stayed connected to everyone on stage, nodding and grinning and bending low over his solos. With their sweet, twangy voices and infectious high spirits, they kept everyone moving. The effect was warm, soft, a little prickly, and a little dusty – a haystack in the sun. It was impossible to squelch a smile throughout the set.
"You can tell from the first note that they are crowd-pleasers." Let's put it this way. If I was booking a folk festival, or was even looking for an acoustic act for a rock festival, I wouldn't hesitate to book DwR. You can tell from the first note that they are crowd-pleasers. They're fun, adventurous and yet true to their roots. They would be something to see. And chances are that if you haven't bought this CD by then, you will buy it then. They're that good. If you like old-timey, there's enough here to turn your head. Of course, if you're a purist, keep an open mind because Deadwood Revival has the spark of a Goose Creek whose take is maybe a step further toward modern extreme hillbilly music (you have to hear her to understand) but still in the ballpark. That spark, while hard to put into words, works the music until you can't help but move, even if it's just on the inside. Take the Grand Ole Opry-style Secret or Roscoe Stomp (and we're talking thirties and forties here). Crank a little treble up and you can almost see the clog dancin' and boot stompin', Jason Mogi laying super fine banjo licks over Kim Trenerry's bouncy acoustic rhythm, voices singing into one of those huge gawdawful crystal mikes they used in those days. It's a musical vision. Mogi's solo banjo takes a short ride on Down To the Wire, as good a ride as given on the best of Pete Wernick's old-time recordings. Too short at 1:04, it is a superb preface to Trenerry's modern folk rocking "Shake the Barnhouse Down" which serves up some excellent harmonies and picking. Vocally, Mogi and Trenerry acquit themselves beautifully, but never so much as when they harmonize. There is something about the thin old-timey Mogi voice when it blends with Trenerry's which makes it even better, and vice-versa. Instrumentally, they rock. Trenerry is a fine bass player (though they have added Ches Ferguson on bass since the album was released) and has a touch on the acoustic guitar. Mogi's guitar is top-notch and his banjo is one of the most unique out there.
"It's A Revival of the Best Kind" Deadwood Revival is Jason Mogi and Kim Trenerry, a Port Angeles, Washington-based duo that has earned significant acclaim for their neo/old-time jams. They bonded over Neil Young while playing in a jam band in Atlanta, and ended up on the very northwestern tip of the lower 48 singing a different tune. Mogi and Trenerry have a vocal chemistry that draws listeners in. They could make any nonsense a pleasing waltz or a raucous romp with the right harmonic twist. Their blend has a gratifying timbre, and their instincts are perfectly in sync. That's not to say the lyrics take second string, especially with lines like, "You wanna get to heaven after foolin' 'round in hell." Deadwood Revival swoops in with a large sound that belies their two-piece setup. Their broad range emphasizes their remarkable talent for making the right choices. "This Old Bar" demonstrates the purity of their intentions in a simple harmonica solo, pulling all the right strings without virtuosic show. Mogi's clawhammer has a confidence that speaks to his past as a drummer. Often he slips into the blues, turning Trenerry into a scorching songstress. It's a rare ability to pull off a hoedown and a seduction at the same time, and it bodes well for the future of the Revival. The choice of cover songs on This Old World reveals the extent to which Deadwood Revival is steeped in the folk tradition. A smattering of old time banjo ("Sandy Boys"), spiritual ("Fully Saved Today"), folk staple ("The Farmer is the Man") and the inevitable - and unusually rendered - Dylan ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"), the selections span the history, most likely, of their own musical foundation. The striking feature here is how much these covers sound like original Deadwood Revival works - meaning it's a revival of the best kind.
The most amazing thing about this duo is their ability to sound much bigger than two people playing two instruments. Between the two of them, they actually play many instruments and sometimes it sounds like they're playing them all at once! Kim Trenerry (Guitar (incredible!) Vocals (awesome) Bass) and Jason Mogi (Banjo-incredible! Slide banjo (a new one on me and very cool!) Vocals, Guitar, and Harmonica) call home Port Angeles, WA., just up the road from me and have been playing together for about 10 years. Eight out of the twelve selections on this wonderful CD are original and reflect the diverse musical background which brought these two fine musicians together. They have a magnificent vocal blend anchored by Kim's powerful voice complemented by the softer yet perfect pitch of Jason Mogi. Jason does some incredible things with the banjo, getting sounds out of the instrument that are unique and captivating in his use of a slide on his banjo in "Roscoe Stomp". They both let loose in a rousing rendition of gospel favorite, "Fully Saved Today". Jason wowed me again with his banjo brilliance using a fretless "gourd banjo" on his original instrumental "Down to the Wire". This is just simply a GREAT CD, with mostly original music written and performed by two very talented people. With an aggressive gig schedule including two appearances at Wintergrass, these incredible local musicians are going to hit it BIG and have appearances scheduled all over Western Washington. Don't miss this one!
"...On "This Old World", old-time and folk sensibilities are being forged into evocative new world music. Deadwood Revival isn't trying to make something out of nothing. Rather, they're on the leading edge of the resurgence and revitalized interest in old-time music. They're infusing healthy vigor, gusto, and enthusiasm into their new presentation of "old world' inspired music...."
Whoa: Port Angelenos Kim Trenerry and Jason Mogi, calling themselves Deadwood Revival, have produced themselves a great, fresh sounding CD that manages to mix several influences without making a big show of it. Deadwood Revival, if reminiscent of anything that has gone on before, suggest The Band: obviously deeply rooted in well known traditions, but never lifting licks, crossing styles, or mixing up instruments for the sake of proving it can be done or to prove how hip they are. Trenerry and Mogi have written some great songs and the two are very talented multi-instrumentalists. Trenerry is an assertive guitarist and steady bassist who sings like a young Nancy K. Dillon. Her song, "Southland" is a great slow blues, but her "Rainy Day Blues" is a funny, bouncy country ditty. Mogi, a fine clawhammer banjo player and creative percussionist who sounds somewhat like Rick Danko, wrote most of the songs on the disc and his "Passenger Side and "Cover My Tracks" are such great country classics it's hard to believe they aren't oldies. The disc does have a sprinkling of traditional songs and they fit right in. This is one terrific record!
Male-female duo Jason Mogi & Kim Trenerry evoke a deep, rustic feel on tunes (such as "Cover My Tracks") that feature Mogi's adept clawhammer banjo, Trenerry's solid guitar and the pair's warm, wistful vocal blend. "Old Mother Logo" is a tasty instrumental with a rambling pace, while "Daisy" is a bluegrass vocal duet that picks up the tempo nicely. No question that this award-winning act will put you squarely on the back porch of a woodsy cabin.