Wildewood and the Merlettes perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday March 5 at the Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale SE. Tickets are $15 general public, $10 students and Outpost members in advance at the Outpost or by calling 268-0044.
By David Steinberg
What we’ve got here, folks, are two Albuquerque bands with two distinct styles of music on the same night on the same stage.
Wildewood and the Merlettes are splitting the March 5 evening concert at the Outpost Performance Space.
Wildewood is a trio that plays Americana music.
The Merlettes, a quintet, play Merle Haggard-inspired honky tonk dance music. The band reflects Kristina Jacobsen’s love for country music of the 1950s to the 1970s.
“I sang and played with Navajo country Western bands. That introduced me to the music,” said Jacobsen, the leader/lead vocalist of the all-female Merlettes. “I have long-term love affairs with Merle and Loretta (Lynn).”
The band tunes that were associated with Haggard (e.g. “Silver Wings”) as well as songs done by other singers, among them Lynn (“You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man”), Kitty Wells (“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”) and Charley Pride (“Anybody Goin’ to San Antone”).
The band also plays some of Jacobsen’s originals.
“I’ve been excited to create a space where women can play leads and in the foreground in real tight three-part harmonies,” Jacobsen said. “And to have a heckuva lot of fun while we’re doing it.”
The other band members are Steff Chanat, who plays mandolin and octave mandolin and sings harmonies; Dair Obenshain on fiddle and harmonies; Laura Leach on upright and electric bass; and Sharon Eldridge on drums.
Jacobsen’s love of the musical style extends to the classroom. She co-teaches a honky tonk ensemble class at the University of New Mexico.
She also performs as a soloist. “My solo work is more serious, introspective. The Merlettes’ music is joyous and the songs are faster, playful,” Jacobsen said.
Wildewood is led by Meredith Wilder, who is lead singer and guitarist.
With her are singer-multi-instrumentalist Alex McMahon and drummer-harmonica player Greg Williams.
“Influences on the band? We listen to a lot of Calexico, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and the alt-folk band Giant Sand,” Wilder said.
The band formed about six years ago and has toured once to the Midwest and twice to the Pacific Northwest.
Wildewood’s last CD, “The Other Side,” was released in 2014. Wilder’s solo album, “The Coming of the Night” was recently released.
Besides the Outpost concert, the Merlettes will also play from 8:15 p.m.-9 p.m. today, Feb. 27 at Bandidos Hideout on Central near UNM; live on KUNM-FM from 3:15-4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2 and on May 14 at the Unitarian Church in Edgewood.