As for Terry Nasdasdi, Whiteside explains, “He listened to a lot of Ronnie McCoury and David Grisman. He’s also influenced by Big Bill Broonzy and Huddy Ledbetter, some of those early guitar players, which really comes out in his mandolin playing.”
The band’s fiddle player, Tony Michael, has been playing around the Edmonton area for many years and is a legend in that music scene according to Whiteside. He continues, “He ran into our guitar player at a music shop, had heard about our band and asked if he could join us. We were happy to have him and he has more talent than I can shake a stick at. He’s an incredible fit into the band and it’s always great to have a fiddle player.”
Writing songs is a matter of sitting down and working through them for the band. Whiteside and the band have started to focus on arrangements that emphasize the push and pull in the music. He says, “We’ll sit together as a band every Sunday and practice for two hours. We’ll work up a song over those two hours and then we’ll just play until it’s something that we enjoy playing and hopefully people will enjoy listening to it!”
The musical world can be fickle and bluegrass is going through a dry spell in Whiteside’s view. After the popularity of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” in the year 2000, some festivals and venues have closed up but as he explains, “We’ve sat and talked and we don’t want to sell ourselves short so we’re not going to travel somewhere to play for $200 at this point in our lives. If the only thing we do is get together every Sunday and play for two hours, we’re happy with doing that.”
The band has recorded one album with the help of Eric Uglam and Whiteside says that they’ve talked about going back into the studio but have concluded that the market’s a little tough for them to sell well. They also recorded a radio show and podcast called The Big Rock Beer Hour for about a year and now Whiteside has a radio show on the Edmonton community radio station CJSR.
Finding inspiration is easy for people as fanatical about the music as the BixMix Boys band members. The close knit bluegrass community has been a big part of that inspiration. Whiteside points out, “It’s such a small community that you can actually talk with your heroes still. I am nowhere near the level of those guys but they treat you like you’re at that level. They’re more than willing to sit with you and share some of their secrets with you or just sit and have a beer with you.”