Weekend warriors starting to cook 

Seattle’s L’il Puddin’ offers up organic-folk acoustic notes

Who: L’il Puddin’

Where: Boot Pub

When: June 17

organic, adj. Without the use of artificial fertilizers

pudding: any sweet food made with sugar, eggs; a dessert.

In today’s world where "organic" is a lifestyle mantra, this band adds their notes to the mix.

It seems the proof is in the you-know-what, for Seattle’s own L’il Puddin’.

"‘The harder I work, the luckier I get,’ is what we call the band mantra," says Neal Parry, one-fifth of the band that dub themselves an "organic rock group with a funk blues flavour."

"With (the) inspiration in (this) group, we sometimes transcend the music and take it on a tangent," Parry adds.

They were recently invited to play the Wild in the Woods for a Day festival 2002, a music and hot tub event at Ammon Ranch in Issaquah, where the guest star was Tom Constanten (of the Grateful Dead).

An appropriate event for the band to transcend; the promotional flyer invites audiences to "join for a day of frivolity, music, and communing with our Mother Earth."

Back in hometown Seattle, they predominantly play the Ballard neighbourhood at venues like Conor Byrne’s, and the Ballard Firehouse.

The L’il Puddin’ lineup, which has grown into a five-piece since its inception as a trio, is Nat Cutler on percussion, Parry on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jono Sher on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Kruy on electric bass, and Beth Fortune on violin and backing vocals, who joined the band this past February.

Cutler, Sher, and Parry were the original three-piece.

"We are funky and folky, with cultural influences like Celtic and Afro-Cuban," says Fortune, who adds vocal harmonies are a strong element in their music.

At the Boot Pub show, they will play covers like Ben Harper’s Another Lonely Day and the Dave Matthew Band’s song No. 41, as well as originals from their 13-song debut From the Ridge (2000), second album Completely Unorthodox (recorded at Ironwood Studio in Seattle), and songs from a third album to be recorded this fall.

In their first tour of B.C. and Oregon pubs and clubs, the band has had a stroke of luck lately.

"We’re actually having to turn down gigs now – we’re excited and committed," says Parry, who adds L’il Puddin’ have booked a number of gigs in ski resorts over the 2002 Christmas holidays in Colorado.

"We’re five people who spend a lot of time together and a lot of time apart. The time apart gives a sense of individuality to the music," he adds.

Their style includes free-flowing rhythms, and driving percussion beats that emphasize "crowd involvement."

"Seattleites are always interested in live music," says Cutler, who says the city still has a strong recipe for heating up new bands, aside from the grunge vein which dominated the Seattle music scene in the early ’90s.

Parry says the band is keen to get a new album out this fall, one that includes all five members.

Gigging on the side, in addition to day jobs, they also handle promotions as any new outfit does.

"We are really weekend warriors at the moment," says Cutler.

Tapers have been instrumental in helping promote their sound, frequently dispersing their songs over the Internet, something L’il Puddin’ is happy to have them do.

They only ask that fans give them the highest quality copy, as per their Web site home page write-up.

And there’s no problem with too many cooks in the music kitchen, with five the magic number.

"It feels like we’re got the full sound (with the lineup), and hopefully it’s not lacking in any way and we can all get on the same page," says Sher, who brings jazz influences from growing up in Louisiana.

"I think everyone’s talking about the dream of quitting the day job. We’re shooting for a strong year from September."

The basics are part of what the band adheres to in their music.

"What you see and hear with us is what you get," Parry adds.

They use little sound mastering, or looping, to give them that organic-acoustic feel with songs from their second album, like 2 Dozen Eggs and a Carton of Milk, and Homeless Man.

"It’s been a real learning process," adds Sher.

"Because everyone always wants a ‘l’il puddin’," giggles Parry.

For home-cooked beats, attend once, let sound simmer.

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