Jeff Wilson, who plays banjo for North Pacific String Band, loves being part of original music experiences. “What I like about the music we play is that it’s fairly unique and kind of hard to put your finger on,” Wilson says. “We’re not just trying to do bluegrass or country or folk. It’s a mixture of those things and we try to add in a lot of musicality to all of that.” Originality and musicality aren’t ideas which are limited to the band’s exploits either.
For example, they were instrumental in helping put on the first annual Do-It-Ourselves (DIO) Fest in Santa Cruz back in April. DIO Fest, which featured more than 15 bands that played on three stages over the course of three days at Camp Krem in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was a spectacular success considering one huge obstacle they faced. “Usually when you’re setting up a music festival, you’re planning for this annual thing and taking the whole year to do so,” says Wilson. “We decided to put this on three months before it was supposed to happen, but it ended up going pretty swimmingly.” With the first event under their belt, Wilson and the gang are already gearing up for next year, and encouraging bands to apply. “The music that we’ll book is music we like: bluegrass, rock ’n’ roll, funk, soul, jazz, folk, blues,” Wilson says. “We even had a big 10-piece ska band—so just good, organic, human-based music.” This focus is not surprising, given the makeup of their band. “We’re an acoustic band, and we would sound and play acoustic at every show in the world if people would be quiet enough, but that’s usually not the case,” Wilson says with a laugh. “There’s just something empowering about being limited by electricity. The music is completely human-powered.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, June 21. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.