New kids in town

New kids in town

Americana trio Buster — local songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Jackson White plus Nashville’s Harrison Whitford — give a free concert at One Colorado Saturday

By Bliss Bowen 09/04/2013

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Facebook is a lot of things to a lot of people, but it isn’t often credited as a band creator. According to Pasadena resident Phoebe Bridgers, however, the social networking Goliath was instrumental in facilitating the formation of Buster, an Americana trio performing Saturday at One Colorado.

“Jackson White heard, through mutual friends, that I play music, so he introduced himself on Facebook and asked if I wanted to get together,” she explains. “Usually I don’t do things like that, but a friend told me he was really, really awesome. So we got together and have been playing ever since. That was two years ago. He’s a drummer, so this is the first time he’s been writing and playing guitar.

“Then another mutual friend was recording me at a studio and told me that he had this guy Harrison Whitford in there, and he heard a couple of my tracks and really loved them, and then he showed me what he recorded with Harrison. And I became a huge fan of Harrison.”

For the next couple of months she and the Nashville-based Whitford texted each other and sent music back and forth over the Internet. When Bridgers and White played a few gigs in Nashville at the end of July, Whitford joined them, and Buster the band was born.

“We didn’t know if it would mesh well, but the first day we hung out and we kept doing it for two weeks,” Bridgers says. “Harrison still lives in Nashville. He’s in LA for a little while because Jackson surprised me and flew him out for my birthday.”

While he’s here, the three of them are “writing nonstop,” with hopes of recording a Buster EP soon. Acoustic demos they’ve posted online of White’s “Going” and “Seeing Double” waltz gently around their smooth-as-glass harmonies and the vulnerable ache in Bridgers’ sweetly affecting alto.

“Jackson got super inspired in Nashville,” Bridgers recalls. “I need alone time to write, but he’d be hanging out with us and go in a corner and be writing these songs.”

Bridgers graduated just this year from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, but she has been a familiar presence at LA songwriter-friendly clubs like Room 5, Genghis Cohen and Lot 1 for some time. Onstage she connects to listeners with an approachable demeanor, confident guitar playing and quietly dazzling covers like the Everly Brothers’ “Don’t Ask Me to Be Friends” and Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song.” She performs some of her material — as well as White’s and Whitford’s — with Buster, but the band is more than just new arrangements of solo songs.

“We’re definitely co-writing a lot,” she says. “The emphasis is on what we’re creating jointly.” n

Buster play two 45-minute sets at One Colorado, One Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, 8-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7. Admission is free. For more information, call (626) 564-1066.


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