Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finn Riggins brings it back home

Live Music

Express Staff Writer

Finn Riggins, the Hailey, Idaho, trio of Eric Gilbert, Lisa Simpson and Cameron Bouiss, will play a homecoming performance at Whiskey Jacques’ on Friday.

Finn Riggins has dedicated itself to the dream of becoming a successful, independent alternative music band. The band is playful and often has an edgy experimental musical style, a combination of post-rock, folk and what the band calls "psych-country."

Returning from an extensive tour of the country primarily playing venues up and down the East Coast, Finn Riggins will play a homecoming show at Whiskey Jacques' on Friday, May 23.

For 10 weeks beginning in March, Finn Riggins was on the road playing venues as varied as Denver's Brooks Center for the Arts, community pot-luck events in Greely, Colo., and New York City's Mercury Lounge and Arlene's Grocery, and traveling to Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn., and Augusta and Aiken, Ga. From the South to the North, the band managed to make its way across the country and back without paying more than $50 in tolls, thanks to their GPS system.

"In Ypsilanti, Mich., outside Detroit, we definitely saw the economic woes of the time," band member Eric Gilbert said. "It was a tough town, and we didn't stick around."

Gilbert said the tour made enough to cover their expenses but there was no profit. He also said that independent bands on their level are having a tougher time due to gas prices and the economy. Despite economics, the music road warriors reconnected with friends and made lots of new friends, as well as schedule dates for another tour for the fall.

"It's really easy to tour the east," said Gilbert. "We had a posse of people from our childhood, school and online who came out to see us."

In addition, the band seemed to be following the Obama campaign trail and in York, Pa., it was playing next to the campaign office and found the mindset of the primary to be very favorable for its audience.

"My best friend teaches at Moultonboro Academy in New Hampshire and we did a morning concert for the students in an all-school assembly," said band member Lisa Simpson, who is from New Hampshire. "The kids loved it. It is a good feeling to explain to kids about the connection between major media and how much music is off the radar."

The band members did have some days off and enjoyed a quiet beach day in Newport, R.I., as well as visiting their alma mater in Johnson, Vt. In Vermont they met up with lots of old friends and played a show in Montpelier.

In addition to the tour, Finn Riggins managed to make it to Tender Loving Empire's first anniversary party in Portland, Ore. Tender Loving Empire is the band's record label, which also placed a Finn Riggins' single on its compilation CD "Friends and Friends of Friends."

From music festivals, barn parties, house parties, bars and theaters, Finn Riggins members found they were treated well. Though they need money, the touring and recording is in full swing. The band sells well on i-Tunes, sold over 200 CDs on tour and has many college and independent radio stations throughout the country playing its music.

All shows at Whiskey Jacques' begin at 10 p.m., with tickets available at the door. For a complete listing of music events in the valley, see the Music, Dance and Theater section of the Calendar on Page C9.

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