The homegrown sounds of Boat Patrol will fill the Nicolet College Theatre when the Northwoods-based band performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19.
The trio creates improvisatory, exploratory music somewhat in the manner of the Grateful Dead, which was a major influence on the band’s members. Boat Patrol also draws from genres such as jazz, funk, and electronic music.
The members of Boat Patrol are brothers Daleth and Cai Mountjoy, on keyboards and bass, respectively, and Evan Verploegh on drums. All three players live in Newbold, near Rhinelander.
Several other local musicians will join Boat Patrol during the performance. The roster includes Scott Kirby, Traci Stinebrink, Nate Sheppard, Jaron Childs, and Brett Schwartz.
Boat Patrol is dedicated to the ethos of making it up as they go along.
“We never know what will happen until we start playing,” Verploegh said. “Anyone in the group can start something and the rest of us will fall in line. As long as we’re listening to each other and our ears are wide open, it all works. I trust that the others will have my back and they trust me to have theirs.”
Boat Patrol was born from a collaboration between Verploegh and Daleth Mountjoy, who began playing as a duo about three years ago. The two musicians, who had overlapping tastes and influences, began improvising together to create a musical dialog.
Two months into their project, Cai Mountjoy, who plays several stringed instruments and has a strong interest in bluegrass, moved to the area from Missouri and was asked to join in as a bassist.
“He added something unique to what Daleth and I had,” Verploegh said. “He doesn’t play bass in the traditional way. He’s more melodically oriented. The intuitiveness that Daleth and Cai have with each other as brothers also adds something special to the mix.”
For the Nicolet date, Boat Patrol invited a number of other musicians to join them on stage to draw attention to the vibrant musical community in the Northwoods. Stinebrink and Schwartz are singer/songwriters. Childs plays lap steel guitar and Sheppard plays keyboards and Vocorder, a device that can mix voice-created signals with the sounds of an instrument connected to it. Kirby is a popular songwriter and guitarist who performs throughput the Northwoods.
Boat Patrol brings a wide range of influences to bear on their music. Verploegh was inspired by jazz icons like Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane and the remarkable drummer Elvin Jones, and younger drummers like Brian Blade and Dave King (the Bad Plus). Daleth listens to a lot of hip hop and electronic music and is a big Randy Newman fan. Cai is drawn to both newer Americana/bluegrass acts like Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers as well as the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.
Of course, threaded into the mix for every Boat Patrol member is the Grateful Dead.
“The way they mixed music from so many genres and always explored beyond the written music — that’s exactly what we’re up to, as well,” Verploegh said.
An Evening with Boat Patrol is part of the Nicolet Live! 2019-2020 Performing Art Series. Tickets are $10 and can be ordered online at nicolelive.com or by calling 715-365-4646.