By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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He's a builder of banjos, and business has picked up.
“I can't make them fast enough,” said Mogi, who recently moved to a bigger shop space. He just delivered one to a customer in Victoria and is preparing to make his 60th banjo.
Taking a break
Pretty soon, Mogi will take a break from performing with Joy in Mudville and with The Mogis, his other band featuring Kim Trenerry, the singer, guitarist and songwriter who's also Mogi's wife of 11 years.
They still have plans to play in festivals later this year, but right now, Mogi means to devote more time to his firm, simply called Mogi Banjos.
The Joy in Mudville trio — Mogi on guitar, harmonica, banjo and vocals; Paul Stehr-Green on bass; Colin Leahy on percussion — has one more Port Angeles gig at Bella Italia, 118 E. First St., from 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday.
There's no cover charge, while Bella's Italian menu and wine list will be available.
Next, the band's final Sequim performance comes at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Beat the Blues Barn Dance to benefit Five Acre School.
That event, also featuring the Old Sidekicks, will fill the Big Barn Farm, 702 Kitchen-Dick Road, with country, bluegrass and other old-time music.
Admission will be $15, with proceeds to benefit the scholarship and equipment funds at Five Acre, a private elementary school in Dungeness.
But it's not like the trio is defunct. Mogi, Stehr-Green and Leahy could be talked into playing here and there, Mogi said.
Joy in Mudville — a name inspired by the 1888 poem “Casey at the Bat,” set in a town called Mudville — has built a following over the past year or so, playing gigs at Port Townsend's Strange Brewfest and Sirens pub, Port Angeles' Junction and Barhop Brewing, and at The Oasis Bar and Grill in Sequim.
Their sets mix Mogi originals such as “Ginny Aphrodite” with covers of Johnny Cash's “Big River” and Bob Dylan's “Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.”
The repertoire, added Stehr-Green, all depends on the night.
“We rarely have a set list . . . [Mogi] calls the tunes based on the feel of the room,” he said.
“Even if we do the same tune both nights, we'll often change the groove, tempo, etc., to fit the venue and mood.”
Mogi offered his take: “We're just going to try to have a good time,” said the banjo man.
“We're going to twang. And thump.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.