Artist of the day: Tahoe Fox
Local newcomers Tahoe Fox are not your everyday acoustic trio.
The group plays mostly upbeat rhythm-driven material, but can just as easily switch gears with trance-inducing slow numbers.
Kim Stein’s voice conjures smokeladen images of Patsy Cline, which is notably evident in Whiskey Kiss and Back to Bed. Rhett Rushing’s sustained, 1970s-esque guitar work weaves seamlessly within the fabric of Stein’s sultry melodies and Jamie Viera’s solid rhythmic foundation.
The group’s unusual sonic palate is the result of musically opposite influences and backgrounds.
Rushing’s early interests were speed-metal and garage rock. He has been playing guitar on and off (now definitely on) since he was 13. Viera’s beginnings are intrinsic — his father is a drummer — and deeply rooted in Latin rhythms and hip-hop.
Stein had been singing most of her life, but didn’t really come out of her shell until high school.
Four years ago she wanted to learn to accompany her self on guitar, so she “bought an $85 guitar and a book of chords, and sat down for eight hours and taught myself all the basic chords.” Her influences range from the “oldies” of the ’50s and ’60s (whose melodies manifest themselves in her phrasing), to Regina Spektor (who is prominent in the word play in her song Mr. Echo ).
Tahoe Fox started its musical venture a little more than a year ago. Viera and Rushing were involved in local projects together, but were unhappy with the musical direction their ensemble was heading. After firing the lead singer, they began searching for someone to front the group.
One night Viera stopped into the Westchase World of Beer to ask about playing a gig there. While talking with the bartender, he shared his concerns about his band situation. To his surprise, the bartender, Stein, was a singer in search of a band.
Tahoe Fox was born.
“We all clicked instantly,” Rushing said, “Kim bought soul to the group.” The new group started working under the moniker The Kim Stein Trio. After several brainstorming sessions and even suggestions from audience members, the name jumped in their laps.
“One night, the group was at my house,” Rushing recalled, “and my pocket lassie jumped onto Kim’s lap. She said how much it looked like her childhood dog named Tahoe Fox. The rest is history.” The group began on a high note: Its first live performance was on Channel 10’s morning program Studio 10 . Since then, they’ve been gracing the local stages of the Performing Arts Center, Skipper’s Smokehouse, the Brass Tap, and Ringside Café.
Currently, they are working on new material, and gearing up to record. Viera describes their artistic process: “Kim writes the foundation of our songs, bringing in the lyrics and chord structure, then together we arrange and build the rest on top of her framework.” They hope that with the release of an album, they’ll be able to go on tour, and in the long run support themselves through their music.
Tahoe Fox performs at 9 p.m. Friday at the Brass Tap at the Shops at Wiregrass, 2000 Piazza Ave., Wesley Chapel. Free They also perform with Shaun Hopper, Rob Tyre, Mike MacArthur and Daniel B. Marshall at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $7. See tahoefox.com.