Roseville’s Humble Wolf strengthens the local music scene by hitting the road
Heading into a show for the band Humble Wolf means facing a four-headed musical chameleon — a quartet of creative explorers whose songwriting taps any genre or style that speaks to them.
Now, as the Granite Bay and Roseville performers break out across the valley, fans are beginning to see there’s a certain excitement in supporting a group that takes versatility to the next level.
Humble Wolf is comprised of Jayson Angove on vocals and guitar, Christian Winger on lead guitar, David Albertson on bass and Kit Koda on drums. Angove lives in Granite Bay while Winger, Albertson and Koda hail from Roseville. The band was formed in the summer of 2012 and had recorded its first album by the end June.
As Humble Wolf has started to haunt clubs from Sacramento to Chico, music fans have taken notice of the sweeping range of sounds its album has to offer. On a Wednesday night in mid-January, a large crowd at the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom had just such an experience.
Humble Wolf took the stage, getting an enthusiastic introduction from 98.5 Rock DJ Andy Hawk. As the audience cheered, Humble Wolf launched into the steady pop power-slides of its song “Paper Thin.” Drawing the audience to the stage, the band transitioned into the rock-laden guitar march, “Monster,” with Angove’s bright voice driving through waves of reverberation.
Next in the line-up was “I’m Not Like You,” a dark, soulful waltz of electric blues and menacing organ swirls. The song prompted two women in the audience to do an impromptu tango across the crowded dance floor.
When the band switched gears by playing “Through the Walls,” Winger took center stage with an edgy and fevered guitar solo.
Even when Humble Wolf offered a taste of country-twang with “Life is a River,” Kota kept the atmosphere high, his drum sticks slamming a strong, spirited beat full of contagious energy. Humble Wolf concluded the evening with the snarling acoustic jam, “No Envy.” The entire crowd danced as the metallic punch of Albertson’s bass bounced along, throwing some serious low-end muscle on top of the kick drum. The show ended with rousing applause. Angove was happy with what he’d seen.
“I’ve always loved playing on Sutter Street,” he said. “The Powerhouse Pub is a really great venue.”
Humble Wolf continues to find new bars to play in cities including Auburn and Woodland. But, as Albertson can attest, cracking the regional club scene can be difficult.
“I’d really like to get Humble Wolf playing in Davis,” the bass player told The Press Tribune. “But so far it seems really locked in to a small rotation of groups.”
Albertson has a college degree in music business and brings a unique insight into how to navigate the nebulous industry of clubs and record labels. While he can list the challenges that face any band trying to make a name for itself, he doesn’t think being from Roseville or Granite Bay is one of them.
“There is an underground Roseville music scene,” he said. “And you can see a lot of the talent the city has at open mics hosted by places like Shady Coffee and Tea.”
Winger agrees. “If there’s not a music scene in Roseville, then people are making one right now,” the guitarist said. “Fans of music just have to look for it.”
All four members of Humble Wolf refuse to let their fret-hands be tied behind their backs. Avoiding generic labels is helping them stand out in a crowded field of musicians.
“We just draw from a lot of different influences,” Winger said. “We run the spectrum of styles that we enjoy.”
The extreme diversity was one of the main things that pulled Kota into the band as well. “The fact that they touch on so many different genres was one of the big draws for me,” he said. “The crowd never gets bored. I feel like when we’re up on stage what you get is something that’s really fresh and fun.”