Bluegrass Stories with The Prickly Pearables
by Shelby C. Berry
As today’s performers grow into tomorrow’s legends, songwriting has become essential to their success, and 12-year-old Cabe Rieck and 15-year-old Holt Rieck take this seriously. Although they call Santa Rosa Beach, Florida home, the brothers spent most of their lives in New Mexico, where they were quite obsessed with cacti. Cabe even had a cactus garden. This obsession led to The Prickly Pearables, the name of their upbeat, Newgrass Americana band.
“We write a lot of fun and storytelling songs,” said Cabe. “Those tend to be longer than most songs, with long verses or lots of verses. The stories in our songs are great for entertaining, to make people laugh, and to make a moral point.”
Focusing on Americana original songs, the Rieck brothers, Cabe on the mandolin and Holt on the guitar, conjure up a musical melting pot stirred by folk, jazz, blues, and, of course, bluegrass.
“We really try to do all original songs with a splash of old, traditional bluegrass songs as well,” said Holt. “We write all sorts of different genres – bluegrass, Americana, jazz, Kalypso, blues, rock, pop, and some gypsy jazz. It’s all about what is eclectic and storytelling. We just write whatever type of music tells the story best!”
At age 7, Holt was learning to play jazz and ragtime music on the piano. A few years later, Cabe picked up the acoustic guitar, and Holt followed shortly after.
“I later picked up the mandolin at a bluegrass festival after we started playing stringed instruments. We wrote some songs together and separately after that, and we came together and wrote Cross Country Road Trip about three years ago,” said Cabe.
Their first recorded songs were Christmas gifts to their grandparents, and each were later nominated for the kids’ award division of the New Mexico Music Awards.
“At this point, we haven’t released any recorded music since that original recording for our grandparents,” said Holt. “We have started doing some home recordings since the beginning of COVID, and we are getting ready to release those. We hope to release an album by next year!”
Influenced primarily by their music teachers Lisa Carmna, Taylor Sims, and Robert Bruen, the Prickly Pearables Band surround themselves with other young musicians.
“We went to see a bluegrass performance in Pensacola, Florida, and afterward, they have jam sessions where we were invited to join. The Koch family introduced us to Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, and we later learned that we had other friends who were a part of TBS as well!” said Holt.
Starting TBS with the online musical festival this spring, The Prickly Pearables Band values the time TBS provides to expose them to other musicians their age.
“The boys love making connections through Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars and making friends that have shared passions,” said April, the Rieck mom.
“A really big thing that has helped us advance as musicians is the people that helped to teach us and help us,” said Holt. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without those people and lots of others who have mentored us along the way.”
Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars Purpose and Mission
To establish a group that supports and encourages young bluegrass musicians through embracing them, their families and their bands and promoting opportunities for these musicians within the bluegrass community through exposure, interaction, education, showcasing talent, mentoring, networking, resources, connections and events.
To experience a bluegrass environment where the young musicians are discovered and valued for their musical abilities, investment in bluegrass music and most especially for being the future of bluegrass music through receiving opportunities and the legacy of bluegrass music to share with the current generation and to pass on to future generations.