We get calls from folks all the time looking to sing for some supper, and hang their hats in Beckley WV for an evening. A few months back, our best-good-buddy Stagger Lee contacted us about a show he was promoting at Schmitt’s Saloon in Morgantown WV. Ol’ Stag pulled together some of the finest musicians from the Muddy Roots circuit for his first annual An Evening of Sin. We went to shoot some video for the event, and bumped into our friends from The Urban Pioneers, who were looking to pick up a date for the final leg of their tour.
We’d seen Jarred and Liz, the duo that make up the core of the Urban Pioneers, when they accompanied Jayke Orvis’ Broken Band. After listening to the first U.P. album Addicted to the Road, we were super excited to see what the band’s live show had in store.
With a phenom like Liz Sloan on the fiddle, prepare to have your mind blown! Whether fronting U.P., backing Orvis, Bob Wayne, & Filthy Still, or just sitting in with folks she meets on the road, Liz always makes it evident that she’s been shredding horsehair from a young age. Jarred McGovern had only recently began playing clawhammer banjo when he and Liz formed the Urban Pioneers, but he certainly doesn’t play like a novice.
Jarred played upright bass for The Broken Band when we first met the couple, and Liz explained how that history influenced his playing style: “He beats the life outta that thing…” A casual observer of this video shoot explains: “Dude plays punk rock banjo!”
“Walk This Earth” is a tune off The Urban Pioneers’ new album Vehicle in Transit (available for pre-sale here) that combines the strong playing of the duo with a songwriting vibe reminiscent of Johnny & June. When the chorus comes in, you don’t have to put it together that they are singing about ‘living on the run’ together… and they mean every lyric.
Thanks to Keith and Chad for providing accompaniment, those fellas are super talented as well – we hope to see them with U.P. next time! Click the links below to keep up with the Urban Pioneers, and if they’re ever in your town – CHECK EM’ OUT!