San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 19th, 2009
Violin meets the blues with Victoria and Zeta Five

Victoria Hammill adds violin to the blues every month at Gold Crown Billiards. Tear drop, anyone? Photo by Gary Perdue.

By GARY PERDUE
Scene Reporter

A unique twist on the blues came to entertain in San Marcos earlier this month at Gold Crown Billiards, and will continue to appear there monthly.

Victoria and Zeta Five, with their unexpected interpretation of a new sound in the blues field, was fronted by Victoria Hammill on  violin. A native Texan from Ft. Worth, Hammill heads the band on violin and vocals. She was classically trained for two years under the supervision of Texas State Fiddler Champion Valerie Morrison.

The band  takes us back to the original roots of the blues. Blues is the only American born music, spinning off bluegrass, country and rock as we know them today. The blues began in the cotton fields of Mississippi with homemade guitars, diddly-bows, harmonicas (which were normally given away free at music stores selling winding chains and recordings for Victrolas), banjos and anything they could obtain to project their sound. The violin adds  a driving sound to their music with a reminiscent flavor of the Delta in the 1930’s. One can visualize “Legba” appearing at the crossroads with a whining wind.

Victoria and Zeta Five holds it’s back beat with Rusty Trapps on drums, who is on vocals and is the comic M.C as well. Trapps has played with W.C. Clark and the Fabulous Thunderbirds here in Texas before joining the group. Mike Patric is on bass and Omar Molina, a 21-year-old University of Texas graduate, is on guitar. Seth Forrester is the alternate bass for the group.

Now calling Austin home, the band developed its licks in Nashville during the past ten years, but the true sound quickened here in Texas. Influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins and Roy Buchannan, the band rocks with R&B, rocked-up blues, jazz, psychedelic originals and cover songs.

The originals were written with collaboration of Victoria’s husband with a strong jazz and Cajun blues influence. This also has helped develop the new and creative sound.

“Classical just didn’t hit the heart area for me,” Hammill said. “It had no resonation and I wanted to do something else. When I returned to Texas and called it home, I started hearing Stevie Ray, Muddy Waters and others and wanted to hear violin with the blues, and no one else was doing it, so I wanted to give it a go.”

Thus was born the band’s signature sound.

Victoria and Zeta Five will be appearing on a monthly basis at Gold Crown on the first Friday of every month. Their next appearance will be on March 6 from 8 p.m. until midnight. For more information about the group, visit their website at www.zetafive.com.

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