ELKO — Elko band Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders will be playing three nights at Red Lion Casino this month, and releasing their new CD May 18.
Frontman Matt Downs makes the “cigar box” guitars he plays and has offered classes making them for the past three years, hosting last fall’s class at the Western Folklife Center.
“We get fifteen to thirty people usually,” Downs said. “We teach how to build them, give a lesson on playing them, and then have a concert later. It’s a good event, a lot of fun, and I get asked all year when the next one will be.”
At last April’s flood benefit concert, where the band performed, Downs donated one of his cigar box guitars as a raffle item.
Downs never played music before moving to Elko in 2011. Joining with drummer Brian Diehl and “utility guy” Nolan McRae playing guitar, keyboards, and violin, the band played their first show in April 2015.
“It takes a while for people to get what we’re about,” Downs said. “But once they do, they become super supportive.”
“It doesn’t matter where you go, or what songs you’re playing, people will always ask you, ‘Why don’t you play this, or that?’” Downs said. “We do better in one focused area, just doing what we do, and then we have people saying, ‘I don’t hear stuff like that. You don’t play the same covers as everybody else.’”
“I grew up with country music,” Downs said. “It’s all I listened to as a child, until I was thirty. I learned I really like blues, researching what I’ve been playing. Sometime people will suggest a song we should cover, and I have to ask the other guys if they know it.”
“The guys in the band call me ‘The Butcher’ because of the way I chop up cover songs to make them our own,” Downs said. “Our covers of ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Personal Jesus’ by Depeche Mode, well, they’re pretty unique, but people really enjoy them. You’ll have to give them a listen.”
Downs used to run Open Mic Nights at Stockmen’s and Commercial Casinos and said, “In the past three or four years the music scene in Elko has really grown.”
“Promoting our band on social media, there’s a fine line,” Downs said. “You don’t want people sick of seeing your stuff on Facebook, but you have to post enough to make it seem familiar.”
“That’s why we started posting ‘Adventures with Aberdeen,’ about our van,” Downs said. “We take Aberdeen different places, and people sign their names inside. It gets people involved, and gets our name out without just saying, ‘Come to our show’.”
“We do this for fun – and enjoy the heck out of it,” Downs said, adding he was excited to play three nights at Red Lion Casino. “If we just play one night in town, there’s a lot of people that can’t make it.”
Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders will be playing March 15, 16, and 17 at Red Lion Casino.