10 CENT STRANGER: HOME-COOKED IN LARAMIE, A MIND-BLOWING MIX OF GENRES
The long winters of Laramie can give rise to some unlikely cerebral creations. Take acoustic psychedelic Bluegrass, for instance, with a thread throughout of alt-country and rhythm-and-blues.
That's one of the genres produced by the band Ten-Cent Stranger during their latest winter companionship. The folk-Americana group formed in late 2015 as an acoustic side project of musicians already in other bands, according to member Laniece Schleicher, who performs with Mama Lenny and the Remedy.
"Scott Clabby, who was a member of Bondurant and previously The Patti Fiasco, brought us all together," according to Schleicher. "All of us were in other projects at the time and still are, in addition to Ten-Cent Stranger. Scott's actually no longer in the band because he moved away, but we all enjoyed playing music with each other so much we decided to stick together. We enjoy spending time together and creating new music, so we quickly began to take on a sound and identity of our own."
Other members include J. Shogren and Jasha Herdt (of J. Shogren Shanghi'd), Shawn Hess (Elk Tongue), Jackson Clarendon (Libby Creek Original), and Elianna Paninos. Their distinctive name came about through extensive brainstorming, Schleicher says: "It was an extensive vetting process, including a doodle poll with multiple choices." Put them all together and they create a dynamic live show that critics have called "energetic and entertaining."
Ten-Cent Stranger mostly writes its own music but also does some covers, Schleicher says. "Bob Lefevre [of Bondurant], our guitarist. has been the primary (and amazing) songwriter at this point, but we all bring ideas to the table."
To say that the band has a wide range of musical influences is an understatement. "Our influences are quite varied," she says, "so we find inspiration from everything we listen to. For me, currently, I've been listening to a lot of Solange, Feist, Sampha, and a cool mix tape from the 1970s by bass player Shawn Hess of psychedelic music from Cambodia and Vietnam."
As for their own songs she especially enjoys playing, two originals are her current favorites: "Like the Sea" and "Rather Be a Son." "Though the top two are always subject to change," she adds with a grin. Among the many crowd favorites are transformative covers of "Goldmine," by I Draw Slow, and "Showdown" from ELO.
"I can't speak for everyone else," she says, "but I believe our age range and vast life experiences have shaped each of us into the musicians we are, and we continue to learn from each other and from the world around us. Constantly."