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Members of Folkinception find clean slate with new band name, Trego

With the addition of KB Black, left, the members of Folkinception thought the time was right to change the band’s name. They now perform as Trego. (Kaiti Blom)
With the addition of KB Black, left, the members of Folkinception thought the time was right to change the band’s name. They now perform as Trego. (Kaiti Blom)

Trego is the name of a county in Kansas, hot springs in Nevada and cities in Maryland, Wisconsin and Montana.

“Trego” also means “show” in Albanian.

As of last month, Trego also refers to Folkinception, or rather the band formerly known as Folkinception.

Over the past seven years, Folkinception became a staple of the Spokane music scene thanks to its Americana/folk-rock sound.

But for almost as long, vocalist and pianist Matt Mitchell said the band had been thinking about changing its name.

Mitchell picked Folkinception without a lot of thought after the band – Jeff Nordvall (guitar, vocals), John Bottelli (cello), Heather Montgomery (fiddle), Seth Carey (bass) and Kent Ueland (drums) – came together to help him with a show he booked with a former band that fell apart.

“The main issue we had with it was having a genre tied to the name,” he said. “I feel like once you saw us and got to know us, then the name was fine and you knew what we were about but if you just heard or read ‘Folkinception,’ you’d probably have an idea of what we sounded like before even hearing us.”

The band considered changing its name with the release of 2017’s “Great Northern,” but didn’t feel like it was a solid option for multiple reasons.

But at the beginning of the year, Montgomery stepped away from the band and KB Black (vocals, trumpet, sax, trombone, French horn), who had performed in Terrible Buttons with Ueland, stepped in.

“It dawned on us ‘We can actually do it. Let’s just change the name,’ ” Mitchell said. “It makes a lot of sense because we’re even less folky now than we were with the fiddle to horn change.”

Trego took its name from the town in northwest Montana. As Folkinception, the band has played Missoula and Whitefish many times, and Mitchell and his wife frequently backpack in the area.

The band members suggested a lot of potential names but worked to find one that fulfilled all of its criteria, including how well the named translated verbally.

“Folkinception was a nightmare for that because you’d tell someone your name and they’d think Faux Conception or Full Conception,” Mitchell said.

The band liked the strength of the name Trego and thought it worked well both verbally and in print, with Mitchell calling it a blank canvas name the band could make its own.

The band announced its new name during a show at the Bartlett in February and wasted no time reintroducing itself to fans.

Trego has played shows in Seattle, Portland and Moscow with the new moniker and will perform at the 219 Lounge in Sandpoint on Friday and the Top Hat in Missoula on Saturday.

Looking ahead, the band hopes to release an EP of its more rock ‘n’ roll-driven music near the end of summer and is entering a performance of “Great Northern” into NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest.

The band makes its Spokane debut as Trego on April 20 at the Bartlett.

Mitchell was worried that telling show bookers about the band’s name change would cause them to lose gigs, but it hasn’t hurt at all.

This summer, the band will play the Inlander’s Volume Music Festival, Silver Cloud Campout in Haugan, Montana and Elkfest.

After having out-of-town venues write the band off after hearing the name Folkinception, telling the band to try booking shows at coffee shops, Mitchell is looking forward to the clean slate Trego has created.

“It’s a rebranding effort and we’re really excited about Trego,” he said.

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