About Quickdraw String Band
Quickdraw's story began in March 2003, when Matt Novak, Allegra Ziffle, and former founding member Jesse Stein, performed for a peace rally in front of the Federal Building in Bellingham under the band name Dogleg. The following month they were hired for a groundbeaking festival for the Village Green Park in Fairhaven where they brought in bassist Robert "Goldtooth" Ray, and later that month brought in mandolinist Dave Maguire to play for the Bike to Work Day festivities at the Boundary Bay Brewery, for which they changed their name to Quickdraw M'Graw. Jesse left in the summer of 2004 to travel Alaska, and since his departure, Quickdraw further defined their sound and Allegra took up the banjo here and there to fill in for Jesse's absence. August 2005 saw the release of Quickdraw's album Blasting Caps for which they underwent a name shift to Quickdraw String Band. Shortly after recording Blasting Caps Allegra moved to Portland. During this time Quickdraw earned its name as a three-piece until Kat Bula joined to combine her fiddle and voice. Kat left at some point, and time went by before Allegra returned from Portland in 2009 to reunite with the band she helped form. The four-piece played like a well-oiled machine and hummed along until Goldtooth left in 2016 and again a three-piece remained with Matt, Allegra, and Dave until 2022 when Jo Rochester joined to hold down the bass and frail a fine banjo.
It is the strong varying backgrounds of all four members that make the quickdraw brand intriguing and distinct. Dave grew up in Buffalo and has played in Cajun and punk-influenced bands, bluegrass, Irish, and country, as well as performing a solo act under the moniker East Coast Dave. Matt came up from California and has played in three acoustic duos over the years, the most recent as Pretty Little Feet with Allegra, and has also earned himself a name as a songwriter, releasing two solo albums. Allegra came from a musical family in Michigan, and has fostered a deep appreciation of the music of many cultures, which has earned a place in numerous bands over the years ranging in repertoire from American old time to world music from Ireland to Eastern Europe and the Balkans to name a few. Jo moved to Bellingham with her family from Colorado, where she played with her husband in a bluegrass band and currently plays with Marie the Band, as well as Quickdraw.
Emerging from the American string band tradition, Quickdraw String Band plays a repertoire of Old-Time, Early Bluegrass, Country Blues, and Ragtime, including some of their own originals. Experienced and hard-working, they have been performing around the Pacific Northwest off and on for the past twenty years. Unique in their adaptions of varying genres, Quickdraw String Band is not completely old timey or bluegrass, but is both, and sometimes ragtime, country blues, or folk and some originals. Their style can defy simple categorization but is solidly grounded in acoustic tradition. This is what makes them unique. Their sound consists of various configurations of mandolin, fiddle, guitar, dobro, bass, banjo, and vocals. Their old bassist Goldtooth would often state that nobody else is doing what Quickdraw is doing musically in Whatcom County, and if they are, "they ain't doing it quite like us." Quickdraw has fun playing their music and has played the gamut of venues including festivals, weddings, bars and nightclubs, cafes, brewpubs, wine bars, farmer's markets, and house concerts.
Quickdraw String Band is: