In the summer of 2010, Morwenna Lasko and I flew to Salina, Kansas to play the Smoky Hill River Festival. We played a total of five sets throughout the weekend with our full band (Pete Spaar, upright bass; Devonne Harris, drums; and our friend Lester Jackson, vocals).
Kansas was HOT, dripping hot, but we had a blast and actually saw a lot of familiar faces like our friends, The Steel Wheels from Harrisonburg, among others. During one of our sets, a bunch of guys started loading in their equipment to get ready for their own set. They listened to us play and when their heads began to bob, we could tell that they liked our vibe.
We met them afterwards and they said they dug our sound, so we decided to stick around to hear them. The band started shortly after and even before they played a single note, they received a huge applause from the crowd. They were clearly a festival favorite. Known as Mingo Fishtrap and hailing from Austin, Texas, the band was a blend of modern soul/funk and timeless classics. Their lineup includes vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, bass, keys, and a three-piece horn section.
It so happened that a couple of months down the road they were touring the East Coast, so we spoke with Danny Shea at The Jefferson Theater to see about bringing them to Charlottesville. They have been coming back every year since then and three years later they still sound killer. I got a chance to meet up with saxophonist, Dan Bechdolt, before their show and he kindly did this solo session right outside The Jefferson in an alley way.
Dan grew up in the LA and started playing saxophone at 11. He moved to Denton, TX, to study jazz at the University of North Texas. There he met Roger Blevins, the singer/guitarist/frontman of Mingo Fishtrap, and they co-founded the band a year and a half later.
Dan says, “It was just a simple matter of being in the right place at the right time. I lived down the hall from Roger in Bruce Hall at UNT. I wasn’t the best sax player around, just the most convenient. Since then, I have just refused to quit. Nineteen years later, it’s taken us all over the U.S. and around the world. Our new album will be released this fall.”
If you like what you see and hear, please visit the official Pun Picks website: www.punpicks.com
For more information on Mingo Fishtrap, visit www.mingofishtrap.com
Here’s Dan playing, “Round Midnight” by Thelonious Monk: