3hattrio was born when violinist Eli Wrankle was 15 years old. The group got together when his family held a small recital in their home to raise funds for Eli’s high school orchestra to perform at Disneyland. After the rehearsal, family friends and veteran musicians Greg Istock and Hal Cannon asked if Eli wanted to jam. He had never played music that way before but agreed. When they finished he asked for more. The group was born purely out of friendship, localness, and musical chemistry.
Living in a rural place in southern Utah, the group has a lot of time on their hands so they decided to employ that time to develop a sound that reflects the landscape they live in and the musical influences that they are passionate about. From that came a first album, “Year One,” that they described in literary terms as “Magic Realism.”
If you ask most people what Western music is you are likely to hear the response, cowboys and Indians. 3hattrio has great respect for these music’s but they also think there is more to the West and its music. Musicians like to identify with things larger than themselves. Music is often identified with place, like the Delta and its blues or mountain music of Appalachia. It can even be a city’s music like New Orleans, Austin or Bakersfield. In the case of the 3hattrio inspiration comes from the deserts of southern Utah, thus, American Desert Music.
3hattrio’s hails from Zion Canyon in Southern Utah and includes Hal Cannon who is a singer and plays banjo and guitar. He is also a cowboy music scholar. Greg Istock plays acoustic bass and foot percussion. He has a Caribbean music background and sings in a haunting and soulful style. Eli Wrankle, a classically trained violinist who studies music at Southern Utah University and comes from a family of artists.
Their songs are mostly original and even their old-time cowboy and pioneer songs have an unusual twist. Living in the same isolated place, surrounded by an inspiring landscape of red cliffs is what makes this group thrive. Their first album, “Year One,” was hailed by Baxter Black as a “profundo Gregorian sagebrush chant.” Since then they released a second CD to critical acclaim, “Dark Desert Night.” Their most recent album “Solitaire,” comes out September 8, 2016.
The 3hattrio plays American Desert Music. Their aim is to create a new music which responds to the natural world of their sacred homeland near Zion National Park in Utah. They also strive to acknowledge the cultural traditions of generations of people who have worked and lived on the deserts of the American southwest. The subject matter of the songs is often desert oriented, sometimes not. Mostly, they express the desert experientially from a daily-ness of watching light off distant mesas and hearing the way sound plays off sheer sandstone cliffs. Then they play music. They don’t over-think it.
3hattrio lives in a place that has a great and lasting indigenous imprint on it. They don’t attempt to perform the music of the nomadic Native peoples who have lived here for centuries. They are modern day settlers in a place where settlement is not all that old. Folklorist and musician Hal Cannon says, “From our vantage we are not all that different from other pioneers who came from diverse places to make community. From our varied musical backgrounds something truly American can be made out of the necessity to find sociability in an isolated place and to come with the intention to create something new.”
3hattrio are set to take the stage Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Coconino Center for the Arts located at 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd. Doors open at 6:30pm and the concert begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show, and can be purchased by clicking the link below. To avoid an online purchasing fee, please call the Center For the Arts at (928) 779-2300, or purchase tickets in person at CCA, or Arizona Music Pro .