Shotgun Party will perform at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., as a part of the band's farewell tour. The group's sound is enlivening and folky and utterly danceable.
The band features Katy Rose Cox on fiddle, vocals and mandolin; Jenny Parrott on guitar, vocals and songwriting; and Jared Engel on vocals and upright bass. Andrew Austin-Petersen, who usually plays with them, will not play this show.
APRIL LINE: Lately there have been a lot of Austin bands at Bullfrog. Talk a little about the Austin music scene.
SHOTGUN PARTY: The Austin music scene is totally rad as a community of pickers who all wanna play together constantly. I have never had a more supportive group of friends of all ages - guys and girls - who were so into music. It's nice too. It's not catty like I hear other scenes can be. It doesn't have the industry of Nashville, NYC or LA, but I'm pretty sure were having more fun.
AL: Why is this the last tour for Shotgun Party?
SP: [It's the] last tour because I (Jenny) want to be in my other band full time (it's called Loves It!) because I get to play more instruments and grow more artistically. Katy is tired of the road, she's been on it super hardcore for about 10 years and is starting a luthier business, making and repairing bows for cellos, fiddles, basses, etc. She will be playing more locally and regionally instead of all over the country all the time.
AL: I love the folky, narrative feeling of the songs. Can you talk about the songwriting process?
SP: I start with melody, melody melody. Then I find the chords that can fit or accentuate my melody. I used to be able to just spit out lyrics but lately they come slower and that's fine, because then they're not as likely to be crappy. I read tons and tons of books, and sometimes melodies are hidden in really good sentences, as is inspiration for lyrical content. I have been experimenting with writing in Spanish - I'm not fluent but real conversational - and that is so way fun. I am not a very good linear lyric writer, like "I went to the bar in my truck, met a guy we broke up, whoa whoa whoa." I'd say it's more like "speeding down the road dust on my teeth drunk whoa whoa."
Then I bring the song to the band when it's done in terms of verses, melody and lyrics, and we arrange it together usually, and then I don't really care what they play. I just want them to have fun and do some creative shtuff! The songs tend to evolve during the course of the million times we perform them, too, and that's really fun for me. I love when the original rhythm you started with gets ditched for something much much hotter.
AL: How long has Shotgun Party been Shotgun Party?
SP: Five years - with three different bass players who come in and out depending on whether their better jobs need them. I met Katy while she was singing and shredding some bluegrass in an Austin coffee shop with her teenage boy bluegrass band, Daughters of the Confederacy. I was new in town and didn't have many friends so I introduced myself and got her number and called her when I had booked a bunch of gigs with no one to play them. She agreed and we liked the sound and just kept going. We decided to be a three-piece because that's all we could fit in the car and I'm not really sure why else. We liked it like that. Having three singers is the bomb. I think people who are listening like to hear a little vocal variety. We have three full-length albums of original material and some cool covers. [Including a] self-titled debut from 2007, "Mean Old Way" from 2009 and "Here's What You're Getting" this year.
AL: Do you all have day jobs? How often have you toured?
SP: No. Katy teaches lessons sometimes and does session work in Austin. I am in another band, too. We have been touring pretty hard for about four years, doing 150 to 200 shows a year in USA and abroad.
AL: What are you planning for the Williamsport show?
SP: We are planning on bringing our homemade lights that have a sexy dimmer switch. We are planning on wearing matching sexy outfits and singing and playing our butts off. And maybe eating and drinking, too.
AL: Is there anything special that you're doing for the last series of shows? Are you all feeling wistful and nostalgic yet?
SP: What we're doing special is playing with as many of our favorite bands and going to our favorite cities and towns as possible. Probably about 60 dates till we're done. Nostalgia for sure - Katy is my bestest girlfriend and we talk nonstop about everything in life while we drive down the road. We eat, drink, dance, sing, fight, sleep together. She's my shmister. Which is like a sister with a "shm" in front. I will miss all the boys I've played with - Chris, Jared, ATAP - but probably Katy the mostest. We will continue to sell our CDs online and through the mail to our extra special customers.
AL: The name Shotgun Party sounds like some kind of ill-advised teen angst ritual.
SP: Our first tour we borrowed my dad's (Don Parrott Jr. - he's so cute!) pickup truck that only had one big front seat. So we all rode shotgun. Also my friends from the band Genghis Tron had a metal band in college called Shotgun Party and they played one show and then broke up because they were no good and they said I could steal the name. So I did.
AL: If the band members were a specific type of circus performers, what type would they be and why?
SP: I would be a trapeze artist and a monkey. Katy would be the lion tamer and whip everybody in the butt! And Jared would be in the kissing booth.