Clifton Roy and Folkstringer say goodbye

By Jerene-Elise Nall

After over three years, roots musical group Clifton Roy and Folkstringer is calling it quits. Although the band may be saying goodbye, its members are leaving on a note of positive reflection about the music and memories they’ve created.

Percussionist David “Chewie” Rothenberg spoke with the Northern Star about the band’s camaraderie and the legacy that Folkstringer hopes to leave behind.

Northern Star: How long has Folkstringer been together?

David Rothenberg: A little more than three years. We first got together in November of 2007. We actually met one night at the House Café. I was working the door for Kickstand Productions, and Folkstringer showed up and needed a drummer, and that’s where I came in.

NS: Have you been with the band the whole time?

DR: Yeah, they had been together six months to a year. That’s when I joined the band. Then, we were that same five-piece for the following three years. Before that, it was the same band, just without me.

NS: What are some of your favorite memories about being a part of Folkstringer?

DR: Ha, that’s a good one. Definitely the short tours we went on. Anytime you can get to travel with a group of people, you get so close with them, and we just had such good experiences going on the road and playing out of town. We played with some great people, and we got really close to each other. One of my favorites was the Bluebird Music and Art Festival in 2008. That was the first time that we ever played out of state. We met a ton of great bands. It was down in Columbia, MO, and we made incredible friends that we still have to this day. We’d still go down and trade shows with them, and they’d come up here. Going down to Bluebird was also the beginning of Widow’s Peak Music Festival.

NS: What do you feel like you’re going to miss most about playing with Folkstringer?

DR: There’s a certain feeling of familiarity that you get with people, and playing music together only enhances that. There’s an intense feeling of closeness and bonding. You can anticipate each other’s thoughts and feelings. That’s something that you don’t encounter very often in day-to-day life.

NS: It becomes more of a friendship than anything else.

DR: And for us, it was always friendship first and music second. There were practices where we didn’t even play any music. It was just hanging out, having a good time. If someone had a bad day at work, we’d hang out and let them talk about it. We’d all get things off our chests. It was friendship first, music later. The music would come because we our relationships are so strong.

NS: What are you looking forward to in your musical future?

DR: A few members of the band, [vocalist, guitarist and banjoist] Clif [Roy], [bassist] Craig [Hauge] and myself, are in a new band called The Jack Pines. It’s definitely a little more electrified, a little more rock ‘n’ roll. We picked up a keyboard and an electric lead guitarist. We’ve been practicing with them, and we’re feeling really good about that. We’re excited to be a part of another musical group.