Summer music in the open air is not just for wandering minstrels. Local band Forgotten Freight will take the sidewalk out in front of Bucer’s this Friday, open for the public to spend the evening under the sky.“Bluegrass doesn’t require some of the inputs you would need for a rock band,” said frontman Tim Kinkeade. “It’s made for the outdoors.”
Steeped in banjo-driven bluegrass, Forgotten Freight features music from traditional bluegrass to old-time country and gospel favorites. Since 2005, Kinkeade has added one person at a time to what is now a five-piece ensemble.
Forgotten Freight includes Kinkeade (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) Susan Firor (upright bass), Lenny Johnson (banjo), J.D. Wulfhorst (dobro), and Stuart Osborne (fiddle). Several of the band members play more than one instrument.
“One by one, these people visited my office,” Kinkeade said, “and I realized we all shared an interest and enthusiasm for bluegrass music.”
Following his love for traditional music, Tim Kinkeade contributes the occasional original song to the bluegrass mix. A heart for music runs in the family as well — Kinkeade also heads the bluegrass quartet “Diamond Joe” that includes his two sons, Sam (fiddle and mandolin) and Joe (banjo), along with Neo Ting (upright bass) from Moscow. Kinkeade’s first exposure to bluegrass was the late ’70s Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album “Will the Circle be Unbroken” that he listened to as a kid.
“I like the sound of strings,” Kinkeade added. “The intonation is always going to be cleaner in a string band, and I like music that’s just a little bit raw.”
He has spent the last two decades in real estate, he said, “to afford the luxury of his bluegrass habits.”
Firor met music through her banjo-playing father, who raised her on Flatt and Scruggs and the Seldom Scene. To support her bluegrass habit, she works on fish and water issues at TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering. Firor holds fast to “a no-nonsense take on traditional bluegrass,” Kinkeade said, with her upright bass and a talent for “harmony parts no one else can find.”
Johnson’s banjo addition to the band is backed by a nostalgic familiarity with the folk groups of the ’60s. Retired from the University of Idaho, he forged the band name “Forgotten Freight,” and now contributes a blended style of string strumming and complements the vocals with solid tenor harmony.
Harmony is taken a step further by baritone J.D. Wulfhorst from the North Carolina hills. He added dobro to the band after early inspiration from when he heard the resonator guitar for the first time. Wulfhorst is a rural sociologist at the University of Idaho, and Kinkeade said he can be easily identified by his trademark purple attire.
Osborne, from an Idaho logging family, came to the band with a history of traditional music behind him. He grew up fiddling in a Potlatch group and graduated to their back-up guitar support, then landed in Forgotten Freight to round out the sound with fiddle and flat-picking.
“This is a lucky mix,” Wulfhorst said. “‘Traditional bluegrass’ is in part defined by the use of certain instruments, a band that exclusively plays only those instruments … It wasn’t even planned out — we didn’t even know each other. We’re just an organic group of people that has stuck together for years.”
Forgotten Freight performs 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday at a no-charge performance in downtown Moscow. All ages are welcome — even the family dog.
A familiar sight and sound to the Inland Northwest, Forgotten Freight has played at the Spring Fling Fundraiser for the Kenworthy, private parties, the Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association, Farmers Market, Bucer’s, and One World Cafe in Moscow. The band has also been a highlight to the Palouse Music Festival for the last five years and most recently played at the First Annual Valley Bluegrass Festival in Lewiston.
Nance can be contacted at email@example.com.
-> if you go:
WHAT: Forgotten Freight performs
WHEN: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Bucer’s Coffeehouse and Pub, 201 S. Main St., Moscow