Eclectic Mix

Robert Wildman, Ansel Bretz and Dave Speigel may play bluegrass instruments, but Behind the Woodshed is a "dawg" band.

"Dawg" was a nickname assigned to acclaimed mandolinist David Grisman by friend Jerry Garcia in the '70s, explained Wildman, the band's mandolinist.

The word later was used to describe Grisman's diverse musical style, which includes elements of jazz, swing, bluegrass, folk and Americana. Behind the Woodshed plays a similar medley.

In addition to music by the David Grisman Quintet, the Ashland band covers songs by The Devil Makes Three, The Beatles, Bob Wills and Red Stick Ramblers, to name a few, along with bluegrass and swing standards, as well as 1930s jazz.

"One minute, we're playing a super-fast Django (Reinhardt) song, and the next we're playing a minor folk song and then we might go into a reggae tune," Wildman says. "To just be a bluegrass band or just a swing band would get old, so having the eclectic mix keeps us interested."

Behind the Woodshed formed more than a year ago after Wildman's and Speigel's former band, Slackjaw, broke up. Bretz was the sixth guitarist to audition for a place in the project.

"We're all self-taught musicians who want to continue growing and enjoying music with our audiences," Wildman says.

The trio narrowed down five pages of possible names before it finally selected Behind the Woodshed as its moniker. Wildman says they liked the name for its mystery, "fun connotations" and subtle implication to woodshedding, a musical term that means to practice an instrument.

The band has played shows at La Baguette, The Beanery, Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub and Lithia Artisans Market and will play at 9 p.m. Friday, July 27, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland.

The band would like to expand its sound to include a second guitarist, a fiddler and a percussionist. If you are interested in auditioning, email Wildman at

The cover to the show at Caldera is $3. Call 541-482-4677 or see

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