COTTAGE GROVE – Kevin Nichols, bass player for Ida Jane & The Weekend Gardeners, says he came up with the name of the band because “gardening is something we all like to fiddle around with a little bit.”
OK, so maybe they need to learn to be a bit more proficient with their rakes and hoes. But it’s a whole different story when it comes to handling their musical instruments.
Because you never know when they’re ready to throw down a hoedown.
That’s exactly what they did Friday night for an appreciative Brewstation crowd. With a thoughtful mix of indie, folk and alternative rock music, Ida Jane played all four songs off the band’s new EP album, “Treasures That We Seek,” as well as some catchy covers like “I Fall To Pieces” by Patsy Cline and “Lodi” by Credence.
But the real hoedown started when somebody requested a John Prine song. The band didn’t really know any Prine songs, but they winged it really well, playing “Fish and Whistle” and “Angel From Montgomery,” mixing up some of the lines but virtually everyone was on their feet dancing and singing along.
“I loved doing that,” Ida Jane Wilke said. “I love John Prine, so we need to learn more of his songs.”
Wilke, who also has her own solo album, characterizes the band’s style as “upbeat and hopeful.”
“I think we’re kind of rootsy and folksy,” said Wilke, who teaches kids ages 3-6 at a Montessorri school in Corvallis.
Ryan Hanson said he has played in about a dozen bands, but he’s never been happier about being in a band.
“I feel like I get to express myself more fully in this particular band,” Hanson said. “Rather than having a specific role – I play sax in a band, I play bass in a band – but in this, I play mandolin, guitar, slide guitar, saxophone, all sorts of stuff. I have all sorts of freedom. It’s wonderful.
“I’m close to getting my music education degree and the goal is to be a high school band director and probably teach private lessons and continue playing in the band. You’re required to know every instrument in the band.
“My last tech class right now is with the brass family. I’ve already done the strings, the woodwinds, and the percussion. I just finished up my trumpet sequence, so I move on to low brass and that will be the last one. Student teaching starts in the fall. And it sounds like a lot of schools in the area are really in need of educators, so I think I can get a job here (in the Salem area).”
Drummer Shawn Crawford prefers keeping things simple. While he’s not at work for the Benton County Health Dept., he says he likes hanging out with his girlfriend or going camping.
Or, of course, he can always do a little weekend gardening.
“You can only eat so many cherry tomatoes,” Crawford said. “And zucchini too. Sometimes you have to give some of it away.”