Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:46 PM on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Skillet Lickers play this weekend



Photo by Eddie Erdmann

Carlyle Watt and the Skillet Lickers pose for a photo at the Potter Section House in Anchorage. From left to right are Watt, Katherine Moore, Miriah Phelps and Theresa Taylor.

For a Homer High School grad who returns to town this weekend, it will be a short walk from her old home on Bishop's Beach to a gig at Duggan's Waterfront Pub.

Miriah Phelps plays with Carlyle Watt and the Skillet Lickers in a performance at 9 p.m. Friday at Duggan's. The Skillet Lickers also play at 8 p.m. Saturday at Downeast Saloon.

"Driftwood Inn and Duggan's welcomes home Miriah," said Duggan's owner Adrienne Sweeney.

Carlyle Watt fronts the band that started in November. Watt and band mate Theresa Taylor played together with the Grass-fed String Band and left to form their own group. Watt sings and plays guitar with Taylor on cello and Phelps on fiddle. Katherine Moore, piano, fills out the group, but won't be playing in Homer this weekend. Watt also plays percussion on a stomp box he rigged up with a pedal kicker.

Carlyle Watt and the Skillet Lickers came out of musicians who met in weekly open night jam sessions at the Tap Root in Anchorage. A personal chef in Anchorage, Watt said the band's name fits with his food background. Phelps suggested the name because she said she always wanted to be in a bluegrass band called the Skillet Lickers.

"I kind of picture it as the food that we make and the music we make is delicious. You have to lick the skillet clean," Watt said. "You can't leave any of it behind."

Phelps played electric violin in the Homer High School Jazz Band where she became known for her improvisation. After graduation, she went to the University of Alaska Anchorage and UA Fairbanks, graduating from UAF with a bachelor of science in biological sciences. Before the Skillet Lickers she played in Southbound Shotgun and the Corey Butler Mix. She describes the Skillet Lickers as "modern folk music that's kind of alternate-y."

"Very Americana, alt-folk — that kind of 1930s feel to it," Watt said of their sound.

Phelps and Taylor have classical music training as well, which adds to the band's sound, Watt said.

"One minute we have this delicate, symphonic feel to it, and the next thing you know it's very raunchy and kind of in your face. There's a lot of dynamic in the group that I like and they can pull off," he said.

Carlyle Watt and the Skillet Lickers have a recently released CD, "Alpenglow." For samples of their work, visit www.carlylewatt.com.