FRIDAYS UPDATE- Mixing it up: Tochterman yokes oddities

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On some levels, the roots music of local singer-songwriter Peyton Tochterman is pretty straightforward, and more or less what you'd expect after giving a guitar to a guy raised on bluegrass. After he settles on the fourth chord, however, he'll turn around and give his songs to expert musicians with a variety of other backgrounds. That's a pretty potent wild card, especially for a musical school that doesn't typically have them at all.

"We still haven't figured out what happened, what to call this music," says Tochterman. "Even musicians, when I tell them, can't figure out how it would work. They're like, 'What is wrong with you?'"

Specifically, he's talking about mixing local jazz trumpet player John D'earth, mandolin maniac Andy Thacker, and accordion player Matty Metcalfe.

"There's no reason anyone should put a trumpet, a mandolin, and an accordion on stage together," he laughs. "But it works." And he's right– yes, even about the last one.

"It's pretty neat to see it all come together," Tochterman says, "so many weird instruments that shouldn't be playing together."

What's more, D'earth also has a little bag of musical doodads– small percussion instruments and pennywhistles and so on– that he brings to performances where he expects to put the trumpet aside.

"John used to say, 'You want trumpet in the band? That's so wild,'" recalls Tochterman. "But I always told him that if he played spoons he'd be in the band, because it's about him." That's not too far from reality– after all, D'earth may well have spoons in there as well.

But at the end of the day, all this focus on instrumentation is probably a bit misguided. "It's not the instruments; it's the players," says Tochterman. "Everybody is just a little bit out of their comfort zone in terms of their tradition or where they come from on their instrument. John's not playing jazz, and Andy's not playing bluegrass. It's tweaked just a little bit so that everybody's thinking and everybody's pushed a little bit beyond what they would be."

Peyton Tochterman performs at Fridays After Five on June 27.