Wheatfield

Wheatfield

BandAmericanaRock

Multiple harmony vocals on top of constant style-shifting Americana, both original and adapted.

Biography

Wheatfield formed in October, 1971, as a folk duo by Pete Wolfe and Will Hobbs, who met in the Odyssey Coffee House in Eugene, Oregon. Their first impromptu rendition of "Helplessly Hoping" met with immediate applause, and the two decided they had something special and worth pursuing. Within a week of forming, they were featured on a radio program on alternative music station KZEL, and quickly received many bookings.

They added a bass player and a lead guitarist in the next few weeks, and finally a drummer the following spring. As new musicians came aboard, they added their own musical styles to the group’s sound, and Wheatfield developed its signature penchant for musical variety, covering folk, bluegrass, country, country rock, rock and roll, and even some jazz. One prerequisite of all new members was that they sing, further differentiating Wheatfield from most other bands at the time. Most members also played several instruments (sometimes changing instruments in mid-song).
In 1972, Wheatfield put out a 45, which received modest airplay in a few markets. The A side was a war protest song written by Will, that was also featured on an album recorded at the Second Annual Willamette Valley Folk Festival.

As Wheatfield’s reputation grew, so did its geographical reach, ultimately covering the entire Northwest, from British Columbia to Montana, Idaho, and all over Washington and Oregon. By the mid-70’s, Wheatfield was said to be the top unsigned band in the Northwest. Wheatfield played clubs, colleges, standalone concerts and festivals. Besides headlining in all the venues where Wheatfield played, they also frequently shared the stage with other popular artists, including Doc Watson, Maria Muldaur, Seals and Crofts, Asleep At The Wheel, Utah Phillips, Norton Buffalo, and even the Ramones. One weekend in Seattle, Wheatfield was the backup band for Bo Diddley.

In 1980, Wheatfield released a self-titled album, produced by Norton Buffalo, which also received modest airplay. The songs from the album and 45 are currently available on a CD, which can be ordered through the band's web site (www.wheatfieldoregon.com). In December of 1980, Wheatfield was honored with a prime time TV special that was aired all over Oregon by Portland’s KOIN TV.

In 1982, with increased interest in their growing families, and weary of constant travel, the group disbanded. Occasionally, in the ensuing years, the band would briefly re-form for some specific gig, and in 2002, after a reunion to benefit their drummer, Ken Sawyer, who had fought cancer successfully but was left with massive medical bills, the band decided to get back together.

Discography

1972 - single, "Ashland," b/w "Timekeeper"
1976 - Evatone disk included in June/July issue of "Eugene" (Oregon) magazine, featuring originals "Portland Town" and "Harmony"
1980 - LP, "Wheatfield," produced by Norton Buffalo
2005 - CD comprising Wheatfield LP and 1972 single

Set List

Presently, two sets of approx. 1 hr each are typical. Cover repertoire is any obscure or famous folk or rock (or other genre) song that has struck our fancy over the years, which is often rearranged (or not) to suit our own particular inclinations.

SET 1
Time For Love (original)
Jacksboro
Poncho and Lefty
Black Mountain Rag
Wild Milly (the Mountain Girl)
I Like It
Riverboat Gambler (original)
Tico Tico
Caroline (original)
Harmony (original)
Margarita (original)
Hello, Mary Lou
Gotta Get Away (original)
Nobody Knows Where I Am (original)
Mother of My Children (original)
Debbie Delight
Little Sister
Nutrocker (original arrangement)

SET 2
Chain Gang
Whale Song (original)
The Future Isn't Written (original)
Portland Town (original)
Gandy Dancer
Magazine Counter
Jemima Surrender
Depend on Me (original)
Bugs in the Basement (original)
In My Life/Nowhere Man
One After 909
Sleepwalk
Southbound Passenger Train
Suffer to Sing the Blues
Back To My Side (ori