If the story behind the name of tonight’s showcase artist at the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series can sound a bit awkward, the music is sure to make up for it.
Rose’s Pawn Shop, a quintet of musicians who hail from all corners of the country, will make their debut at Soldotna Creek Park with what band leader Paul Givant expects will be “high-energy” music.
Givant said the story behind the band’s name can be traced back to the band’s early days, when they shuffled through several different guises. At one point, Givant was dating “Rose,” a female vocalist who sung harmony with the group.
“We started dating, which was probably a bad idea because it didn’t go well,” Givant said. “We had a disagreement one day and her response was to go down to the studio and pawn our gear.
“It’s a crazy thing that happened, but it’s funny in retrospect.”
That little act of revenge spurred Givant to answer back, giving rise to the name of the band, which has stuck around to the present day. And as far as what Rose thinks of the name change? Givant said there are no hard feelings.
“I’ve seen her around sometimes, but it’s not like you go hanging out with your ex,” he said.
Week 11 of the popular Wednesday night series opens at 6 p.m. with local musician Mike Morgan, a regular on the Flats Bistro stage, and many Kenai and Soldotna music events, taking the stage first.
Since its beginnings in the mid-2000s, Rose’s Pawn Shop has slowly risen to fame with a repertoire of Americana musical styles, most notably bluegrass, folk and rock.
Givant grew up around the Los Angeles area, but said his bandmates hail from all areas of the country, including Maine, Florida, New York and Texas. Givant stars on guitar and vocals, and is joined by Stephen Andrews on upright bass, Vito Gutilla on fiddle, Kyle LaLone on guitar and Andy Robbins on drums. Members range in age from their late 20s to their late 40s, Givant said, giving a wide perspective on musical styles and influences.
Givant said he grew up “a ‘90s kid” on alternative rock, but also fostered an interest in folk music. Eventually, Givant said he soaked up music such as the Grateful Dead (particularly their 1970 album “American Beauty”), Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe and Gillian Welch.
By finding a groove in that niche of country, folk and bluegrass, Givant said he began writing his own music.
“For me, it was a good format for song writing,” he said. “Americana in general holds up the song, it builds up the song and storytelling.”
This also isn’t Rose’s Pawn Shop first stop in Alaska. Givant said the group has made three trips to the 49th state, including this current one, with an appearance at Salmonfest in 2018 being their Alaska debut.
Givant said he appreciates performing at grant-funded concert series like the Levitt AMP series that Soldotna was able to earn in 2019, and hopes to “show the people a good time.”
“It’s pretty much the reason why we keep doing this all these years,” he said. “We’re sharing something in the moment, being heard and received, and the audience is kind of like a feedback loop.”