“Free concerts every Thursday in April from 6 – 8:30pm!” reads the website for the Cincinnati Zoo, and on Thursday, April 19 the concert will feature The Tillers as headliners with Shiny and the Spoon opening. Although The Tillers are an impressive Americana act, you should definitely also check out Shiny and the Spoon, who combine solid songwriting, sweet harmonies, and a recently expanded lineup that includes Pete Brown, an upright bass player who also happens to be the maintenance supervisor for Gaslight Property.
I met Pete about the time he started playing the upright bass, and every time I’ve bumped into him since then he’s given me an update on his playing. All along he’s made it clear just how committed he is to mastering a difficult instrument.
Yet about the time Pete was ready to join a band he realized he faced a quandry. “Originally I was looking to be in a group where I could play upright bass that wasn’t bluegrass, jazz or rockabilly,” he told me recently. “So what does that leave?”
Why, then, did he become interested in joining Shiny and the Spoon?
“I liked how they worded their craigslist ad,” Pete said, “and they liked my response too. I proceeded to learn all their stuff and fell in love with it. We’ve definitely bonded as a group.”
The songwriters and singers of the band are Amber Nash and Jordan Neff, who began as a duet. The fuller sound (the band is now a quartet that also includes a drummer) comes as the band is gaining recognition. The Zoo has had a long tradition of memorable concerts—Dizzy Gillespie, King Sunny Ade and Randy Newman are among the artists who’ve performed there—and the shows have always had a warm hangin’ outdoors with exotic animals and humans vibe.
“I’ve been wanting to do this gig for years,” Pete said.