Nationally recognized California Guitar Trio will stop in Frankfort today for a 7 p.m. concert at Kentucky Coffeetree Café, 235 W. Broadway.
“It seems like there’s a need in Frankfort for musicians to come through,” band member Bert Lams said, as his cell phone cut in and out of service on the road from New York to Louisville.
The three-man band is working on songs for a new CD they will record in Louisville after a Friday concert on the roof of Glassworks on Market Street.
The members have toured the U.S. and Europe during their 18-year career, and their songs were featured during four winter and summer Olympics starting in 1998 and on TV stations including CNN, ESPN and CBS.
So why stop in Frankfort?
The gig, which isn’t listed on their Web site, stems from Lams’ performance in Frankfort earlier this year.
Lams played at the Coffeetree Café in April with musician Tom Griesgraber and made a mental note of the venue’s intimacy.
“It was a wonderful set,” Lams said. “It was really surprising. I didn’t know what to expect at the coffee shop, but the audience was amazing.”
A personal connection also brings the trio here.
Aaron Chadwell, a DJ in Louisville whose parents live in Frankfort, worked on two tours with the band and helped record recent live albums.
His parents are also big fans, so Frankfort is now a stop on the eight-week tour.
Performing in small towns is not new to the band.
“We love playing in small towns,” band member Hideyo Moriya said. “It doesn’t matter to us if we’re playing in small towns or in big cities, because sometimes small towns have fresher crowds.”
Band member Paul Richards anticipates a good concert tonight in a much smaller venue compared to the band’s last stop – New York City.
“I’m quite sure it’s going to be packed (tonight),” he said. “We just played a great show last night in New York, so we’re looking forward to playing again. It’s going to be a great contrast between New York and a small town like Frankfort.”
With a new album in the works, the band will use the concert to experiment with new songs while performing some older material.
Their sound can best be described as a musical melting pot. Each member comes from a different area of the globe and brings a different style of guitar playing. The combined styles give the band a unique sound that audiences have never heard, according to Richards.
Lams was born in Belgium and specializes in classical guitar. Moriya, from Japan, brings a surf style and some traditional Japanese style. Richards hails from Utah and combines his classic rock style to the mix.
“It’s a little difficult to pinpoint what we do because we come from these different cultures and backgrounds,” Richards said. “We combine all of these influences in our music to make a unique sound.”
Tickets are $20 at the door, and the band offers a unique live album. The performance will be recorded, and for $15 you can have a copy following the concert.
With the Grand Theatre opening later this year, the chance for the California Guitar Trio and other recognized bands to come through downtown Frankfort will increase, according to Lams.
“That would open up the possibility of us coming back and playing in the new theater.”