The Lazy Eights reunite for Rollin' on the River
July 3 at Wingfield Park is the second time the Lazy Eights will reunite for a performance in 14 years. This time, it’s to commemorate a 20-year anniversary.
“They'll receive us with open arms,” violinist Ben Wilborn said of the group's fans.
The band formed in 1992 (about the time this photo was taken), then disbanded in 2001.Wilborn says they formed by accident, developing a reputation as a bluegrass band, despite not actually playing bluegrass. During their years together, they visited such locations as Redding, California.
The band's style is best classified as Americana, and one attribute that defines the Lazy Eights, according to Wilborn, is a lack of ambition or desire to be trendy. Wilborn doesn't have any interest in playing to fans of the recent resurgence of roots music that's occurred in pop music for the last few years.
“We don't want to play into that whatsoever,” he said. “We're just going to do the best we can do to keep the wheels from coming off.”
The band members agree that practice is the most important thing for the show, since their songs, once fearlessly long improvisational explorations, will now be too ordered and complex to pull off without ample studio time.
As the defining aspect of the sound of the Lazy Eights, Wilborn's violin is a virtuosic solo instrument that, paired with overdrive, sounds similar to an electric guitar, with the bow providing the attack its own distinct edge. Wilborn was classically trained from a young age, then studied improvisation at Berklee College of Music.
The 1990s allowed the Lazy Eights a degree of local success, creating devoted followers Wilborn hopes will return to see them perform at Rollin' On The River, to relive the good old days.
“It's just going to be a bunch of old guys doddering around,” he joked.
The Lazy Eights enjoyed an autonomous career, due largely to their disinterest in pleasing everybody, instead choosing to play how they wanted to play. In turn, the band played and traveled extensively, producing three albums in the process.
Audiences encountering them for the first time can expect a rollicking blend of blues, rock, and Americana perfect for a block party or barbecue. But don't hold out any hope of seeing them in another setting, as Rollin' on the River will be Reno's only chance to see the Lazy Eights play live.