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Sonoma County band gets big break at Outside Lands

  • Songwriters Kevin Carducci, bass, and Sage Fifield, guitar, of the Americana music band, The Easy Leaves, from Sonoma County. HO 2012

Carrying on the tradition of Sonoma County homespun Americana bands playing at the Outside Lands music festival, the Easy Leaves make the pilgrimage south this weekend for the biggest show in their short-lived career.

"I remember the day we got the news and the call came in from our manager. It was a total surprise," said singer-guitarist Sage Fifield. "When you haven't played a festival anywhere near this big, it's pretty exciting."

A few years ago, it was Arann Harris and the Farm Band. Now the Easy Leaves are the down-home, twangy band representing Sonoma County at the largest annual Bay Area music festival, expected to draw around 50,000 fans a day to Golden Gate Park today through Sunday.

Outside Lands 2013

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<strong><a href="http://www.ustream.tv/OutsideLands" target="_blank">View the live stream of the Outside Lands festival</a></strong>

It's an impressive festival debut for two guys who met at an open mic session in 2008, back when the Hopmonk Tavern was called the Powerhouse Brewery.

"We had really bad open-mic habits, playing like three nights a week," said singer-bassist Kevin Carducci. "Eventually it was like, 'Hey man, I like your songs' and 'Yeah man, I like your banjo.' So we wound up playing together and working some stuff out."

Before long, they started doing longer sets at Barley and Hops in Occidental, eventually headlining a Saturday at Hopmonk in Sebastopol. Usually it's just the two of them, Carducci on the stand-up bass and Fifield on guitar, both sharing vocals. But they'll fill it out with drums and slide guitar this weekend at Outside Lands.

Plowing through a steady bill of gigs in the last few months, "I like to say we've turned semi-pro this summer," said Carducci. Their last round of day jobs — Fifield did "pond maintenance," literally diving and digging up weeds from congested ponds, and Carducci started an organic vegetable farm with a former girlfriend — are hopefully a thing of the past.

Before they pack up for Sunday's noon gig in the park, the hard-working duo took a break while driving back from a show in Truckee to chat about Sonoma County land, bodyguards and their old banjo:

<b>Q:</b> What does it mean to you guys to get tapped to play Outside Lands?


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