Members of the group Tumbleweed Stew busk on Lincoln Street last Friday (8-18-23). (KCAW/2023)

There’s a new bluegrass outfit in town.  They call themselves Tumbleweed Stew, and they’re bringing twangy tunes to Sitka’s downtown. KCAW’s Meredith Redick went to listen, and chat with the buskers and their four-legged friends: 

Out on Lincoln Street, next to the Coliseum Theatre, there’s a new band in town.  Roman, Claire, Isaak, and Jasper have been traveling around Southeast Alaska this summer. They’re not sure how long they’ll be in Sitka. 

“That’s kind of why we call it ‘Tumbleweed Stew,’ because we’re like a bunch of weeds, and we roll across the country and play music when we meet up with each other,” Claire said.

Their sound incorporates the usual fiddle, guitar and banjo, along with a bass instrument that’s less well-known, but packs a powerful punch. Roman calls it a “gut bucket.” 

“It’s a bucket, a string, and a stick, and you play it by how high tension you have on the drum head of the bucket,” he said. “And you just match the pitch, and you go ‘thump thump.'”

Theodore the cat relaxes in a cardboard box on Lincoln Street. (KCAW/2023)

The group also includes dogs Bjorn and Xena and a cat on a long leash, Theodore, who relaxes in a cardboard box on the ground. Jasper said that with this trip, Theodore has visited every state except Hawaii.

Theodore offered no comment on whether he likes Alaska, but Isaak said that the group has received a warm welcome in Sitka.