With an immediate hit of a bright rockin’ sound, The Fall Risk is worth it, and I think they’ll catch you.
I caught them at La Honda Fair and Music Festival. After having just been at two bigger festivals, Santa Rosa’s Harmony Festival the day before, and Furthur Festival the week prior, La Honda was a different story. And, as it was the same weekend as Manchester Tennessee’s monster Bonnaroo, which I had covered in 2009 – I dubbed this small mountain festival, the “Anti-roo”! Small, friendly, family. In fact, it was mostly local – and were they not such friendly locals, I might have felt like the out of place big city boy.
I drove down from Sonoma (like I told ya, I was at Harmony the day before to see 7 Walkers ), across the Bridge, pit stop in Twin Peaks at the SF field offices, then the best part of the drive – highway 1 towards Half Moon Bay. I love driving this route, the Cabrillo Highway, one of the most beautiful drives in California!
I got to there early and wandered the festival, and listed to some performers, all very good, and waited for The Fall Risk’s set to begin. I will admit – I had never heard of this band until a few weeks before. When Furthur began their summer tour rehearsal shows in Marin, they introduced a new singer, Jeff Pehrson. Zoe Ellis had stepped away from the Furthurette microphone, to focus on her other singing projects (Zoe is much loved by the Deadheads, she was a Phil and Friend way back in the early days!). Jeff used to be in a band called Box Set , and before that he was with a group called Passenger in the early 90’s. Sunshine Becker was (and is) inPassenger – so she must have had a hand bring inJeff. Great choice, her voice and Jeff’s are wonderful together.
With Jeff being the new kid in the band, I thought I would seek him out – and I discovered he was not only friendly and real, but also had a great band. He let me know The Fall Risk was playing at this small festival, and it fit perfectly into my build-my-own-festival weekend - 7 Walkers Friday at Harmony, and again Sunday at GAMH in SF made for a grateful sandwich.
Maybe I wouldn’t have heard of The Fall Risk if it wasn’t for Jeff being added into Furthur… and therefore would have missed something special to share with all of you!
Once again, Phil and Bobby have led me to more good music. I thoroughly enjoyed their set, and the festival too. Upbeat, colorful, soulful, and humorous songwriting mixed with a joyous performance. These guys like to play their songs for people, and it shows. Through a nine song set, (short songs compared to Furthur), everyone in the band did get a turn showing their musical chops, and it all rocked and moved the crowd. Dancing happened throughout, twirling hippie woman, playful children.
It turns out Jeff Pehrson is a talented singer songwriter guitar player that can carry a show as well as a tune, as Jeff easily talked to the crowd, and bantered with his bandmates on stage. Jeff was at the center, but always stepped back and let everyone in The Fall Risk shine. Jeff’s voice and playing are intensely engaging, and heartfelt; while he is back-up in Furthur, Jeff is definitely a front man!
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They included a Dead song, and not just because of Jeff’s new gig, “Friend of the Devil” has been in their set rotation pre-Furthur. I enjoyed it all, but really enjoyed the sadly-sweet "Lemonade", and also loved the playful harmonica in "Back to You" and the great lines in "Love is the Answer" (question me). Their orignal songs all had enough musical meat to satisfy me, and yet were pop and approachable for anyone (i.e. not just jam rock fans), and I encourage you to get to know them. And I encourage Furthur to add The Fall Risk to their next multi band event (New Years? Furthur Festival 2011?)
You can see The Fall Risk this weekend! They are playing Saturday July 24, from 2-5pm at the San Gregorio Store (www.sangregoriostore.com) and it sounds like a sweet spot for a show. Bring the family, and there is great places for hiking and dog walking too.
RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=137663366256417
Band website: www.TheFallRisk.com
Message from Jeff sent out to the bands fans:
We’ll be back at The San Gregorio General Store this Saturday, 2-5 pm. This is the first show with new organist, former Box Set member and current Front St. member, Sammy Johnston. If you’ve never been to the store before, it’s an amazing place..an eclectic and dare I say, magical place. Family friendly, with ice cream and toys for the kids and a full bar for the grown ups… best bloody marys around and a huge selection of beers. There are acres of land to walk your dog on during set-break, and the ocean, San Gregorio beach is half a mile away. Hope to see you all there… :)This is a free show..though we will pass a tip jar.Check out www.sangregoriostore.com for details. Also, read the opening page..it tells you a bit of what the store is all about.
Hope some of Deadheadland makes it out – you’ll have a great time!