Written by: Mikala Lugen | Photo(s) by: Susan Theis
Artist Spotlight: Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
Name: Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Members: Katia “Pixie” Racine (vocals/ukulele), Amanda B. Grapes (fiddle, vocals), Zach Downes (upright bass), Ben Weiss (mandolin, vocals), Andrew Nelson (guitar, vocals)
Genre: High-energy bluegrass / “Partygrass”
Fun Fact: Zach, Ben, and Andrew all studied jazz performance, Katia studied broadway and acting, and Amanda is a classically trained violinist.
Who are some of the band’s biggest music influences?
“None of us will give you the same answer, so as a band it’s been interesting. David Grisman, Billy Strings, Fruition, Lil Smokies, Infamous Stringdusters, Wood Brothers, Paul Simon, Johnny Klein, and influences of gypsy style jazz and artists from the 60s.”
Who is the biggest jokester in the band?
Zach, who laughs at his own jokes
Who is most likely to be late to practice?
What previous albums and releases do you currently have out?
Utah Made EP – 2018
The River Speaks Plainly – 2020
Snake Creek – 2021
“We started recording Snake Creek in January and February of 2020. We were almost finished tracking the album and then COVID hit the world. Our engineer went away and shut down his studio for six months so it was just a static project at that point. Then when he came back in Fall 2020, it was a trip. It was weird to listen to who we were six months prior and how we’d been playing. We went back to it and added one song that we wrote during COVID in Andrew’s studio and polished up the tracking. It was interesting to come back to it, and I think allowing the time to come back with fresh ears and be pretty particular really helped us dial in our sound in the studio. We’re such a high energy live band, and it can be hard to capture that in a studio setting. If you record everything live, you get that energy but can also hear the sloppiness and rawness of a live performance, and then in the studio you isolate and sacrifice that energy to get that nice, crisp sound. So on this album we tracked the whole rhythm section live, and then punched in the vocals and solos that really gave the ticket for the sound that adds the energy of the band.”
What current projects and new releases are in the works?
“We have studio dates! Everything is still preliminary but we are planning two albums, including a full original album and a full cover album. We have over 30 originals to record and get out, but we’re working on the cover album first. We went back and forth on how to approach it and we decided to essentially choose the best covers that we play the best. So it’s going to be pretty random with the idea that we could release more cover volumes in the future.”
Where can we see you play?
December 31st at The Depot – Bluegrass NYE party with Stillhouse Junkies and The Pickpockets
What are some of your favorite past shows?
“Sets from previous years at High Sierra Festival, Winter Wondergrass, River Wondergrass, and all of the post-COVID shows.”
Where is a dream venue the band would love to play at one day?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Gorge, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Rave in a Cave (The Matrix cave rave)
What do you want fans to feel when they listen to your music?:
“Life. It’s cool to foster a music community full of different types of people. You can look out into a crowd and see a cluster of ski bums dancing and then to the other side see older couples bobbing their heads, and it’s cool to see our music hit everybody. We’re a goofy, fun band and we like to bring good energy wherever we play. There’s a communal transcendence at live shows where everyone is present. There’s a flow state that doesn’t exist in many places. It’s really about presence and it manifests differently.”
For more information, visit Pixie and the Partygrass Boys’ website.