Jam band Frogleg to perform at Gabe’s

Frogleg, which will perform at Gabe’s on June 28, pushes the boundaries of genres with a unique sound.

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Jam band Frogleg to perform at Gabe’s

File photo. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

File photo. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

File photo. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

File photo. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Lauren Arzbaecher, Arts Reporter

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Jazzy brass alongside rock-fueled guitar with an underscoring of funk may seem like too many elements for one song, but different music styles blend together effortlessly in the band Frogleg. Featuring its unique multi-genre sound, the band will perform at Gabe’s on Friday.

Frogleg began performing in 2012, with band members hailing mainly from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The group gained a loyal following in the Minneapolis music scene, and it has continued to grow both inside and outside the Midwest in recent years. The group previously performed in Iowa City and will be happily welcomed back by the general manager of Gabe’s, Pete McCarthy.

“We had them at the Yacht Club several years ago and kept in touch,” McCarthy said. “We enjoyed having them and try to get them in any time they come through. There are a lot of really good bands from around Colorado that are along the same lines of a traditional jam band, so it’s nice to find a group that’s a little closer to the Midwest.”

Jam bands, a style shaped by the music and fan culture of the Grateful Dead, are typically known for extended jam sessions during performances and crossing genre boundaries. Frogleg takes this idea and pushes it in a new direction with notes of jazz, funk, rock, and even reggae in its sound. Lead singer and songwriter Joe Dunn celebrates the process in the group’s varying musical influences.

“I would say our sound comes from all the different walks of life that are part of the band,” he said. “We kind of cut our teeth on all kinds of different jazz, classical, and contemporary stuff during our time at McNally Smith College of Music, which was where we all met. Our sound sticks in the area of classic rock with a lot of funky New Orleans influences, with a little folky songwriter stuff sprinkled on top.”

Though Frogleg is known for having a varied sound coming from many different styles of music, the group has really solidified that sound over the years. More collaborative writing helped lead to the change, said band manager Ben Karon from 10th Man Management.

“When the band was first put together, it kind of leaned heavily on Joe’s songwriting,” Karon said. “Since that time, they’ve started to write a lot more collaboratively. As more players have gotten comfortable with their own voicings, it has created more of an amalgamation of the overall unit sound.”

As the band’s sound has grown, so has its popularity, leading to gigs alongside some big names. Frogleg has performed with the Jerry Garcia Band, Devon Allman, and Steven Tyler in recent years. Dunn had the chance to talk with Tyler after their shared performance. The conversation and experience of playing with Tyler and other well-known bands provided new influences for Dunn’s and Frogleg’s creative process.

“We’ve met a lot of great people,” Dunn said. “Our first bigger opening gig was with Jeff Austin, formerly of the Yonder Mountain String Band. He was just an awesome person. We hung with him all night, and he gave us a lot of good insight on the touring life. It’s been a really good thing connecting with other bands. I think that’s the most important thing you can do in today’s industry, to get out and meet some cool musicians and help each other out.”