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The Waybacks

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The traditional sounds of old-timey string band music is only element of the musical tapestry woven by San Francisco-based quintet the Waybacks. Roots Town Music Magazine called them "a dream combination of punk vandalism and hyper-intelligent, seldom heard, humoristic musicality," while the Winnipeg Free Press praised them for their "unpretentious musicality." Describing their musical approach, wrote, "it's everything from 'Kumbaya'-like folk and cowboy jazz, space jam, celtoid, agnostic gospel, beat poetry, Grappelli-esque swing, and acoustic originals." The Waybacks' sound represents the combined efforts of lead guitar, mandolin player, and vocalist James Nash; fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and Humanatone player and vocalist Chojo Jacques; and rhythm, fingerpicked and Weissenborn slide guitar player, and vocalist Stevie Coyle. A native of Nashville, Nash has been playing guitar since the age of nine. Throughout high school, he studied with renowned Nashville session guitarist Jerry Kimbrough. Relocating to the San Francisco area to attend Stanford University, he became a member of the alt-rock band Occam's Razor. Increasingly drawn to traditional Southern music, he taught himself to play mandolin. In addition to working with the Waybacks, he performs as a soloist and with Lane & the Badass Chicken Bones. Although he initially studied piano and viola, Jacques found his natural voice on the guitar. The instrument was only one step, however, on his musical journey. After playing guitar in a truck stop bar band in East Missoula, MO, he began studying fiddle with the Montana Fiddlers Association. Two years later he added the mandolin, which he played with the Lost Highway Band. Moving to Austin, he became involved with the city's thriving music scene for eight years. At the suggestion of David Grisman, he moved to San Francisco in 1982. In the nearly two decades since, Jacques has become an in-demand session player. The lengthy list of artists with whom he's worked includes Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Johnny Paycheck, Frank Wakefield, and Michael Hedges. Much of the Wayback's irreverent approach is stirred by Coyle, whose resumé includes emceeing killer whale shows, doing standup comedy as one-half of the Reagan Brothers, and performing with satirical folk bands the Foremen and the Frontmen. The Wayback's rhythm section features double bass player and vocalist Joe Kyle, Jr. and drummers Chuck Hamilton, who tours with the group, and Peter Tucker, who performs with the band in the San Francisco area. ~ Craig Harris

Top Songs

Years Active:

'90s, '00s