Dishonest Fiddlers to release new album, headline Steamtown String Fling
Dave Brown has finally found an honest fiddler — and a few other accomplished instrumentalists to round out his band.
Two years after the release of the project’s debut album, Dave Brown & The Dishonest Fiddlers are poised to reveal another volume of music, and Brown, the group’s primary songwriter, is as enthusiastic about the band’s new cast of players as he is about its new songs.
The Scranton-based outfit is in the final phases of production on, “A Deeper Shade of Blue,” which is scheduled for a spring release, and they’ll headline the inaugural Steamtown String Fling, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Scranton Cultural Center and also features Mike MiZ, Brother Roy, Chris Kearney, The Spain Brothers, and Mickey and Liam.
Brown’s latest batch of bluegrass-infused folk has taken some time to surface, but the Fiddlers frontman said his patience has paid off.
“We’ve been in the studio a bunch and tried out a couple different lineups,” Brown said. “This whole last year was kind of a learning process for me, having a whole bunch of guys in the mix.”
Brown said he and the three musicians with whom he recorded the first Dishonest Fiddlers record, “The Whistle Missed the Train,” parted ways for several reasons, but mostly because of wanting to go in different creative directions. The dissolution of his original lineup sent him looking for artists who would fit the musical roles he was looking to fill.
“It’s not a no-brainer when it comes to the players who are going to work and play together well,” Brown said. “We’ve always been looking for an honest fiddler is the slogan we’ve used in the past.”
And that role’s been filled by local violinist and composer Mark Woodyatt.
“It was nice to get Mark Woodyatt in the mix,” Brown said. “He’s a super talented guy.”
Brown met guitarist David Hampton last summer at the NEPA Bluegrass Festival in Tunkhannock, and the two “stayed up all night and played until the sun came up a couple nights in a row.”
“He’s an incredible guitar player, and he’s done some really cool things and played on some really big stages,” Brown said of Hampton.
Behind the drum kit, both in studio and during live performances, is veteran drummer Jami Novak, whose work with Village Idiots and Cabinet has been celebrated in Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.
Novak completes the rhythm section along with upright bass player Bob Wilson.
“Jami I’ve known all along, and I never had a drummer in my band, but when he became available, it was like, ‘Maybe we should try this out,’” Brown said. “He’s added so much to the music. He’s got the goods musically, but he’s also great to have in the band.
“All these guys are the total package. If we weren’t playing music, we could be playing cards together and have just as good of a time. I think that shows onstage and off stage. Hopefully we’ll be playing together for a long time.”
Fans will have a chance to experience that onstage chemistry during Steamtown String Fling when the Fiddlers fill a performance slot Brown is proud to have earned.
“It’s great to be on this bill, but it’s even cooler to be headlining it with players I respect so much, in my band, and on that stage,” Brown said. “I just picked people I admire. I’ve got Roy Williams (Brother Roy) and Mike MiZ and Chris Kearney all on board. I always looked up to them locally, and those guys are all over the place now.”
As for his upcoming record, Brown said the Dishonest Fiddlers will be announcing album release shows in the near future, and he’s excited to share their work.
“I’ve grown so much since (my first) record, and I’ve tried to surround myself with the best possible players,” Brown said. “I think I’ve done that, and I think it’s pushing me to work harder. The pressure of this excellent band is bringing out the best part in me. I’m being inspired to make better music.”
For more information on Dave Brown & The Dishonest Fiddlers’ upcoming album and performances, visit thedishonestfiddlers.com.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Inaugural Steamtown String Fling
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton
Additional information: Tickets cost $20 and are available through the Scranton Cultural Center box office, online at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 570-344-1111.