By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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On Sunday, Prairie Flyer will play for an hour or so at an 80th birthday celebration for the historic Cline Barn, 712 Clark Road north of Sequim. Admission will be by donation, with a portion of proceeds to benefit Sequim's Museum & Arts Center. The barn's party will go from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with cake and coffee, with the band starting at 2 p.m., and while the barn has some chairs, party-goers are welcome to bring their own.
For information, phone 360-797-4598.
Peninsula Daily News
The bluegrass-and-beyond band wraps up a series of weekend concerts at the historic Cline Barn today, following appearances in Dungeness and Gardiner on Friday and Saturday night. See box at right.
Jim Faddis, the high-lonesome voice of Prairie Flyer, put these gigs together as a Western Washington warm-up for the only annual festival the band plays anymore: the Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival in Cashmere. This took some doing and driving, since Prairie Flyer's musicians are scattered around the Northwest.
The band was born in the late 1990s in Spokane, where Faddis lived at the time. Prairie Flyer developed a fan base that would materialize at one music festival after another on either side of the Cascade Mountains. Half a dozen albums later, though, the musicians had started to move awfully far apart.
Prairie Flyer played the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts in 2009 and, soon after Faddis retired from the Spokane Police Department and moved to Sequim, they did a show at the Sequim Prairie Grange Hall in 2011.
So Faddis figured it was time, time to unleash the band's repertoire: “The Rocket” by Fred Eaglesmith, “Stuff that Works” by Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell, the Stanley Brothers' “Take Your Shoes Off, Moses.”
“White Freight Liner” by Townes Van Zandt gets the Prairie Flyer treatment, Faddis said. “The original is medium-speed, but we put the pedal down on it.”
Prairie Flyer travels in and out of the bluegrass realm, into country and, with Faddis' singing, a little bit of soul.
“I like Jim's song, 'One More Ride.' It's very poignant,” added Steve Blanchard, the band's other guitar man beside Faddis.
“There are a couple of songs he's written that are, in my mind, really great ones,” he added. “'Alhambra' is another,” from Prairie Flyer's 2008 album “Roll On.”
Jason Stewart, the banjo and mandolin player, is a Tennesseean — which comes through clear when he sings the Stanley Brothers' “Sharecropper's Son.” That's a straight-ahead bluegrass, said Faddis, “and then we'll turn around and play a Jackson Browne song,” such as “The Road and the Sky.”
“We have a lot of fun on stage. We pick on everybody and everybody picks on us . . . we love hecklers because we'll heckle right back,” added Blanchard.
A full-time musician around the Portland metropolitan area, Blanchard has been looking forward to playing with Prairie Flyer again, in Sequim and in Cashmere.
“Jim's kind of like the dad,” he added, “trying to keep the family together.”
Faddis just loves to play. “It's not about the money. Never has been,” he said.
How does it feel, when the music is flowing and people are stomping and clapping?
“Like a million bucks,” he said.