Together for just over a year, bluegrass quintet Polecat still needs some introduction in most places outside of its Bellingham, Wash., homebase. But it's probably a good bet that they'll be starting up a storm soon enough.
I interviewed lead guitarist Jeremy Elliott in April for my local newspaper, just on the heels of the band's debut full-length album, Fire on the Hill, while they were touring with a series of CD release shows. Polecat plans to venture away from the West Coast later this year to promote their music nationwide.
Elliott remarked that the band put out its self-titled debut EP just five weeks into being a band. Since then, they've opened for some pretty big deal acts such as the Moondoggies, Trampled By Turtles and the Infamous Stringdusters. Bellingham's What's Up! magazine awarded the group trophies for Best Newby and Best Highway Americana in its 2011 What's Up! Awards.
Polecat maintains trust in the classic sounds of bluegrass, folk and blues, with a bit of Celtic flair from time to time thrown in by violinist Cayley Schmid. It's a solid formula that sounds fresh and new, even while feeding into those old-fashioned roots. Fire on the Hill gives people something to dance to, and something to sing to, and at times even something to chill out to. Most importantly, it's something that could just as easily appease Grandma as be something you'd want to pass along to your peers.
After such an impressive start and such skillful production, it's easy to think Polecat's probably going places. Which is not just good news for them, but for everyone else, too.