Bluegrass benefit

Ashland bluegrass band Eight Dollar Mountain hopes to record its third album at the end of this month with help from veteran musicians, fans and ... Bigfoot.

The band has created a video to boost interest in a Kickstarter fundraising campaign they hope will finance the album. The storyline: The musicians are practicing in the woods but get chased away from their cooler of Ashland-made Caldera beer by Bigfoot.

The musicians seek refuge in the Williams studio of Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Dennis Dragon. There they learn about the mix of modern and vintage equipment at the studio, which was built by Steve Miller in the 1970s.

Vince Herman, a member of Leftover Salmon who volunteered to wear the Bigfoot costume, enthusiastically embraced his role but not without mishap, said Mark Lackey, who plays the resonator guitar for Eight Dollar Mountain.

At one point, Herman fell into water while wearing the unwieldy costume.

"I immediately thought, 'Disaster!'" Lackey said. "But he was laughing and rolled with it and we shot the whole scene."

Eight Dollar Mountain plans to record its third album at Steve Miller's old studio, with Dragon serving as sound engineer. Herman, whose music has long inspired the members of Eight Dollar Mountain, will produce the album.

It'll feature 12 bluegrass songs, including eight or nine originals, said Eight Dollar guitarist Darren Campbell.

Herman has suggested various modifications on some of the songs, such as changing the key or tempo, said Phil Johnson, who plays mandolin.

"Every song has its own feel to it now," he said.

Bluegrass continues to gain popularity nationwide, band members say, pointing to the Lumineers' Top 40 stardom. Bluegrass has even been grafted onto dance music, as with the song "Wake Me Up" by Avicii, a Swedish DJ.

The members of Eight Dollar Mountain are bluegrass purists at heart, but they welcome the attention pop bluegrass brings to the genre.

"We all love to hate it, but love what it does for us," Campbell said.

Lackey said pop bluegrass can serve as a gateway into more musically sophisticated bluegrass.

The bandmates hope to bring more attention to their music and upcoming album through their Kickstarter campaign.

They've raised more than $8,500 toward their $10,000 goal and have until Feb. 11 to raise the full amount.

Rewards for backers include autographed copies of the new album, framed concert posters designed by banjo player Stuart Green, T-shirts and an appearance in a future music video.

Lackey said that at first it felt strange to solicit donations through Kickstarter, but the band has found that the campaign has helped build excitement for the album, which will be released in the spring.

The band plans to go into the studio for a week of recording riding the wave of enthusiasm.

"I feel like we've got to make these people proud," Johnson said.

Eight Dollar Mountain will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way, across from Lithia Park.

The performance is free, although donations are accepted. Kids are welcome.

To learn more about Eight Dollar Mountain's fundraising campaign and to watch their new video, visit

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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