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Local Music Spotlight: Folksy rockers Trego to drop new self-titled album and host release party

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 30, 2021

By Julien A. Luebbers For The Spokesman-Review

Trego is one of Spokane’s foremost performing groups with a nearly 10-year history in the area. Arbiters of folksy rock and roll, Trego is back with a single from its upcoming self-titled album, a project that frontman Matt Mitchell described as “just light years more mature than our previous work.”

The new track, “Scarred Heart” (out Sept. 16), is a real change of pace from the preceding release, “August,” which in its melancholy, pensive sway brought out the band’s more introspective side. With “Scarred Heart,” the same self-examination and reflection emerge in a different form: a full-on dance track.

“It’s a four-on-the-floor, just rock-and-roll-style tune,” Mitchell said. The lyrics are about the goings on of life, drawing on personal anecdotes from Mitchell. The main lyrical takeaway, as he put it, is “We’re not here for very long. And life – it’s as cliche as it gets – is short.”

Trego could have taken the subject of life’s ephemerality in any number of directions, so why a dance-able, upbeat song? “Scarred Heart” focuses on the surviving part: “So count your blessings, knock on wood / Something saw fit to see you through / Hallelujah, it’s good to be alive.”

The hallelujah rings high and clear backed by a filled-out sound of guitars, horns, drums and more. It’s a track that makes you nod your head, tap your feet and groove. But “Scarred Heart” is just one of 11 tracks on Trego’s upcoming album, each song filled with fervor and folksy tones.

The album was recorded before the pandemic, but it seems oddly well-suited to the current moment. “There’s a flavor of resilience and perseverance and hope that’s threaded into the songs,” Mitchell said. “I think that’s pretty applicable given the past year and a half of music being sidelined and friendships being sidelined.”

The songs cover a vast array of subjects all drawn from aspects of Mitchell’s life, but there is a spaciousness to them, which he deliberately leaves. “I hope the listener can listen to the lyrics and apply their own experience to them,” he said.

Though Trego is a six-person group, most of the writing comes from Mitchell. “There’re times when I bring a song for the band, and we work on the arrangement, and there’s a lot of input, a lot of collaboration,” he said. “And then sometimes, the way I’ve written, it just moves straight into the band, and everything seems to sort of click there.”

With almost every track, Trego’s music begins as an acoustically driven piece, a one-man show. It’s with the creative and sonic additions of the other five members, though, that each song comes into its full form. “I like every one of these songs in a different way, and I think different people are gonna have different favorites.”

And that’s one thing to note about the upcoming “Trego”: The sound is organic, full and diverse. The album lacks nothing by way of interesting, good songs, but it also remains in check and doesn’t go over the top.

The soft and reduced moments are well-executed and not overwrought; the full-sound tracks (like “Scarred Heart”) don’t over-assert themselves. It’s a delicate balance, but one that the group achieves.

“Trego” is set for release Oct. 16. Until then, we have “August” and “Scarred Heart” to stay engaged, and neither track is a letdown. If you like folk, rock ’n’ roll or just any good music, then Trego is a group worth listening to now.

To promote the release of “Trego,” Trego will be hosting a release party Oct. 16 at Lucky You Lounge. Trego will be joined by two other local groups, Folk Crimes and Terrible Buttons. Tickets are available at tregoband.com. Check out the band’s Instagram @tregoband, and find Trego’s music on Spotify.

Julien A. Luebbers can be reached at julien.luebbers@gmail.com.

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