Local band plays bluegrass and more at Nelson's on Saturday

The Bar BQ Boyz consider Nelson's Take Five, in Gardnerville, their home base. They performed there for the first time last November and continue to play there monthly.

The Bar BQ Boyz will play again at Nelson's, 1435 Highway 395, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, with no cover charge.

The Bar BQ Boyz are a Carson Valley-based band playing bluegrass instruments and, indeed, playing bluegrass music. They are also playing classic rock, blues, country, and reggae, amongst other genres.

The Bar BQ Boyz came together early last fall, forming a bluegrass set-up that includes Paul Cutunilli on mandolin, Bobby Smile on guitar, Johnny Walter on stand-up bass and Michael Chambon on banjo. In addition to the instruments named, Walter plays blues harmonica, Cutunilli plays the bass, and Smile and Chambon both play the dobro.

Walter, Smile, and Cutunilli are co-workers at GE/Bently, and have played together annually at the GE-sponsored "Relay for Life," a charity event for the American Cancer Society. The Bar BQ Boyz will open at this year's Relay on Aug. 26. Chambon joined the group, forming a quartet. Cutunilli and Chambon sing lead and harmony vocals, with Walter singing bass back-up vocals and taking the lead on several numbers, including off-beat tunes like Commander Cody's "Hot Rod Lincoln."

Their repertoire includes bluegrass standards like Bill Monroe's "Walls of Time," as well as tunes from the popular movie "Oh Brother, Where art Thou?" On the heels of the camp classic, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," (a.k.a., "The Beverly Hillbillies") they are likely to break out with a Led Zeppelin tune, or "All Along the Watchtower," written by Dylan and popularized by Jimi Hendrix. Grateful Dead or Johnny Cash might follow, with Bob Marley's reggae beat close behind.

Musically, their backgrounds are diverse. Smile, Cutunilli and Walter have played for several bands, and have toured, recorded and opened for national performing artists. Walter led the local "Blue Dawgs Band." Smile majored in guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Cutunilli, after playing guitar in a touring and recording band, received his grandfather's mandolin as a wedding present and has returned to his Telluride bluegrass roots. Chambon studied classical piano for 10 years, traded that in for the banjo, and now enjoys jamming at Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association events.

For more information on this Saturday's performance, call Nelson's at 782-8287.


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