Way Down Wanderers will stop for a show at the Silver Star Cafe | ParkRecord.com

Way Down Wanderers will stop for a show at the Silver Star Cafe

The Americana and bluegrass band Way Down Wanderers will perform at the Silver Star Cafe as part of the Park City Limits acoustic dinner concerts on June 3. Reservations are being accepted now. (Keith Cotton)

The Way Down Wanderers, a six-piece Americana and bluegrass band known for its impromptu jams called "restStomps," where the group announces the time, day and mile marker through social media, will play a scheduled show at the Silver Star Cafe on Friday, June 3.

The show, part of the restaurant’s Park City Limits acoustic dinner concerts, will start at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested by calling 435-655-3456.

Mandolinist Collin Krause is looking forward to the performance.

"We’ve been to Utah before, but this will be our first time playing at the Silver Star Cafe," Krause said during a phone call to The Park Record from his hometown of Peoria, Illinois. "Our booking agent sent out inquiries and this was where he put us. I can’t take any credit for that, unfortunately, but I’m pretty excited for it."

The band, featuring co-founder and guitarist Austin Thompson, bassist John Williams, percussionist John Merikoski and banjoist Travis Kowalsky, plan to play songs from its first two EP CDs and selections from its upcoming, self-titled full length that will be released on July 15.

"A lot of our songs are about life experiences," Krause explained. "People we know have inspired us, and we have many interesting experiences that make for great topics for songwriting while we are on the road."

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Some of those topics include leaving home and loved ones behind.

"That’s something I’ve written quite a bit about," Krause said. "And while I do have some that are really personal, I don’t go too deep into that. Sometimes the lyrics aren’t very straightforward and someone who hears the song may come up with their own meaning for it. I can kind of hide behind those kinds of lyrics if I don’t want to give away too much."

Music was a regular part of Krause’s childhood. He learned to play classical violin and his grandfather was in a folk band that featured the mandolin.

Then Krause discovered the multi-Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band Nickel Creek.

"Chris Thile was my favorite mandolin player and growing up in that atmosphere encouraged me to experiment with the Americana and folk genre."

Krause and Thompson formed the Way Down Wanderers in 2013.

"I don’t think our goal was necessarily to put out a certain type of music, but I think this naturally came to us," Krause said. "Me being a mandolin player, and Austin playing acoustic guitar got ourselves in that genre, even though I did always want to be in a bluegrassy folk band."

So far, the biggest challenge for the band is not having air conditioning in its touring van during the summer, Krause joked.

"The payoff happens when we get to a show," he said. "We get to play a lot of cool shows and make connections with different people across the country. That means a lot to us. I mean, the most rewarding thing is playing a show that is 15 hours away from our home and people are singing your songs. That’s an indescribable feeling."

Recording a new album is also a huge reward, according to Krause.

The disc, which was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Texas and produced by The Avett Brothers’ Mike Marsh, will contain 12 songs that will include ballads, bluegrass reels and folk rock stories, he said.

"The studio was an inspiring place to work," Krause said. "It’s right on the border of Mexico on this pecan farm. It was really isolated and we got to stay there for two weeks."

The vibe of the place also inspired Krause and his compadres.

"Many other bands record there," he said. "In fact, Sublime was supposed to be there the next day after we left, so you can kind of feel the inspiration in the room."

Marsh also lent his know-how to the sessions.

"He plays drums for the Avett Brothers, and he was incredible to have in the studio," Krause said. "Before, we have gone to the studio, it made us a little nervous, but having a producer like Mike to keep you on schedule helped take things out of our hands."

One of the things Marsh worked on with the Way Down Wanderers was rhythm.

"Mike, being a talented drummer, had us expanding our grooves," Krause said. "So often, in the genre we play, there are a lot of ‘train’ beats that chug on the drum set.

"It’s a great beat and people use it all the time, but it does get a little redundant," he said. "Mike helped us create different textures that were more unique and that was super valuable for us."

Looking down the road, Krause said the band wants to play as much as possible.

"We’re projected to do 150 to 200 shows this year and we’re doing 20 to 25 festivals as well," he said. "We would also love to chart on Americana stations, get the record in a lot of people’s hands and see them sing the songs with us."

The Way Down Wanderers will perform at the Silver Star Cafe, 1825 Three Kings Dr., as part of the Park City Limits concerts on Friday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.thesilverstarcafe.com. For more information about the Way Down Wanderers, visit thewaydownwanderers.com.

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