Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

Distilled in Northern California, Poor Man’s Whiskey is a “high octane hootenanny” quintet rooted in both folk and bluegrass genres. Since their first release, “Train to California” (2003), PMW has performed at notable venues and festivals all across the country including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, The Summer Melt Down,Telluride  Bluegrass Festival and The Filmore.

If you like Willie Nelson, Pink Floyd, Hot Buttered Rum and The Allman Brothers, then PMW will appeal to you with their irresistible blend of mandolins, guitars and percussion. PMW kicked off their spring 2015 tour with two sold out shows at the Fillmore Auditorium in their hometown, San Francisco, and are headed to Fairfield Theatre Company on Friday, April 24.

PMW co-Founder Jason Beard began this journey by combining folk roots with a psychedelic Jam Band mentality which quickly matured into a versatile fusion of acoustic and electric instruments. “Josh Brough [banjo, keys, harmonica, vocals] and I met in our 20s while in college,” said Beard.

“Essentially, we were a Pink Floyd cover band,” he said. Although Beard considers himself and feels comfortable as a guitarist, he decided to begin playing mandolin.

“I’ve played in a funk band, country band and began opening for ourselves as a bluegrass act, but the bluegrass act was more of a novelty and we were being offered to play at weddings,” added Beard.

“Our genre is something we constantly battle with,” said Beard. “We are very loosely grounded in bluegrass and southern rock, but our roots go back to psychedelic rock. For a long time PMW tried to be [strictly] a bluegrass band with less electric instruments, but all of these elements are in our veins.

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Poor Man’s Whiskey to play StageOne on Friday, April 24

We also feel grounded as a songwriting band and try to maintain a balance at our shows,” said Beard.

Growing up as the youngest of four brothers surrounded Beard with the legendary songs of Pink Floyd. “I’m a huge, huge Pink Floyd fan and began playing along with “The Dark Side of the Moon” in a bluegrass vain.

“I wanted to do it for my own gratification,” said Beard. After taking this personal project to the band, “Dark Side of the Moonshine” [2009] was born, a double disk set which also features original tunes.

“There were high expectations for this album, playing Pink Floyd as a bluegrass band,” said Beard.

“We have toured with the album and sold out shows, but it is a double-edged sword.

We have played other covers too, but are now more careful about what we play. We are very proud of ‘Dark Side of the Moonshine,’ but have so much more to say.”  PMW will be performing all originals at their StageOne performance, including work from their latest album, “Like A River” (2012).

PMW has performed at Fairfield Theatre Company three times, one of which featured their Pink Floyd rendition in its entirety.

“FTC is one of our favorite spots and there is always a lot of stuff going on; people are really cool, the seats are right up on stage and it is an environment to fire back,” said Beard.

“The first time we played there, I felt so nervous even though the venue was so small.

Mentally when we are playing big festivals in front of 50,000 people, it is less nerve-wracking because people become distant, a blur in the background.”

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--- Senior | Vine Editor Emeritus--- Music/English

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