Workman bluegrass duo will play Park City Limits
Ryan Summerlin October 11, 2013
Jake and Rebekah Workman are a husband-and-wife bluegrass duo that has performed up and down the Wasatch Front and the Wasatch Back.
The two will be featured during the Park City Limits concert at the Silver Star Café on Saturday, Oct. 12, and they are both looking forward to the show.
"I got to know (Silver Star Café owner) Lisa Cilva Ward through my other band, Cold Creek," Jake Workman said during an interview with The Park Record. "We got to talking and I mentioned that I played in a duo with Rebekah and Lisa asked us up.
"She told us that the performance is a little more intimate and that we’d be perfect," Jake said.
Although bluegrass is their main forte, the Workmans have honed their skills in various styles and music genres.
"I stated playing guitar when I was 13 and liked all that classic-rock music and spent all my time on that," Jake said. "I got a surprise Christmas present when I was 14. It was a banjo and that got me into bluegrass music."
Rebekah, on the other hand, played her fiddle to a stack of bluegrass CDs while growing up in Oak City in Millard County.
"I started playing the fiddle when I was 8 years old, and unlike Jake, I listened to bluegrass because my dad is from the South," Rebekah said. "My grandpa also had a little funky band that played square dances in Oak City, so he would have me play in the band with him."
After she graduated high school, Rebekah moved to Salt Lake and met Jake during a Cold Creek show.
"I knew who Cold Creek was when I was younger, because my family followed that band," Rebekah said. "Jake took me to other bluegrass jams and my fiddling took off from there."
Playing in Cold Creek was one of Jake’s goals when he realized he was going to be a bluegrass musician.
"I knew I wanted to be in some sort of band and that was essential to me," he said. "I also wanted to get involved in recording my own album, which I was able to do in 2009, and I wanted to get some studio work around town."
To do that, Jake learned additional styles of music.
"I didn’t just want to be a good bluegrass player, but a good player of all genres, so I could be versatile," he said. "That way I would be able to throw a rock or jazz lick into a bluegrass song, which is kind of neat."
The two began dating in 2010 and a typical night out would consist of jam sessions.
"I was able to join several band configurations in the Salt Lake Valley, because I play the fiddle," Rebekah said.
"There is a small amount of good fiddle players in town, so when I was in a band that needed a fiddle, we would just fit her in," Jake said.
Playing bluegrass, although enjoyable for Rebekah, also came as a challenge.
"I didn’t really take off in form until Jake began taking me to these jam sessions," she said. "In fact, I really sucked at bluegrass improv. I was used to jazz improv, but when they would let me go in the high-paced style of bluegrass, all I could do was hope I could learn the melody and work with that. It took me some time, but the more I did it, the better I got. Now, it comes naturally."
Throughout his solo career, Jake entered many acoustic-music contests around the country.
He won various Utah competitions on guitar, banjo and mandolin and went to compete in Texas, only to bring home the first place trophy in both guitar and banjo.
"A year after that, they changed the rule so only Texas residents were eligible to compete," Jake said with a laugh.
He’s also competed in the National Flatpick and Banjo Contest in Winfield, Kan., where he made it into the Top 5 on guitar and took second place, twice, on banjo.
"The awards are an honor, but ultimately I enjoy playing in bands and playing with Rebekah," Jake said. "Competition playing is different than playing with a band on stage, and I’ll tell you, I enjoy playing in the band more than competing, but competing is good for you, because you have to make up some arrangements and make them into show pieces so the judges have something they can get excited about."
Jake and Rebekah Workman will play the Park City Limits Concert at the Silver Star Café, 1825 Three Kings Dr., on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested. Call (435) 655-3456 for reservations and more information.