WEEKEND: Winery’s finale to feature ‘stomp-grass’ specialists Polecat

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — “We are so lucky,” fiddler Cayley Schmid says of her band. The group is four young men and herself, playing six kinds of music, within their sets — and sometimes inside a single song.

This is Polecat, the band finishing off Olympic Cellars’ summer concert series this Saturday night. The quintet has become well-known on the North Olympic Peninsula, and plans on dishing up its signature blend of rock, folk, roots, Americana, Celtic and “stomp-grass” — and “we haven’t stopped evolving,” Schmid adds.

Show time is 7 p.m. at the winery just east of Port Angeles at 255410 U.S. Highway 101, and tickets are $13 in advance at www.OlympicCellars.com or $15 after about 4 p.m. Saturday. Gates will open at 6 p.m.

Polecat started up in 2010 when lead singer Aaron Guest brought the players together, having seen each one playing in a different band around Bellingham.

Schmid has lived there most of her life, and received a family-heirloom fiddle at age 12. She took some classical lessons, then switched to Irish music after a year or so.

“My teacher was a wonderful Celtic [and] blues fiddler, Anna Schaad, who helped me explore different types of music and develop my own style,” she said.

Every so often, Schmid is asked that “how is it being the only woman in the band?” question. She answers with a generous compliment — that might not fit with your idea of stomp ’n’ rockers.

“Luckily for me, all of the guys are kind, courteous and responsible,” she says. Schmid and singer Guest, stand-up bassist Richard Reeves, drummer Karl Olson and lead guitarist Jeremy Elliott “have a ton of fun traveling and playing.”

Each player has his or her particular strengths, she adds, “that contribute to our overall Polecat-ness.”

As usual with Olympic Cellars’ summer concerts, the Polecat party will raise money for a local nonprofit. This time, it’s Port Scandalous, the Port Angeles roller derby team (www.PortScandalous.com). Also as typical, a local food vendor will offer supper.

CRAVEcart, specializing in “designer hot dogs,” will be set up near the wine and water bar. Lawn chairs, blankets and warm clothes are advised for those breaks in the dancing.

While the summer concerts bringing in bands from out of town will wrap up this weekend, Olympic Cellars has another bash planned: the Grape Stomp and Harvest Party on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The event from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. will have a harvest costume contest, grape-tossing and other activities for all ages; the band Fat Chance will play.

Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 on stomp day. Proceeds will benefit The Girlfriend Factor, a nonprofit awarding educational grants to adult women.

For more event details, see OlympicCellars.com or phone 360-452-0160.

Last modified: August 29. 2013 6:42PM
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