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Elegant Vagabonds bring bagful of songs to Palace Station

Who are The Elegant Vagabonds?

Picture, K Caruso says, “a band of traveling musicians who come home to find out that the house they live in has burned down. Now, all they have left in the world is the clothes on their back and their instruments.”

The story isn’t technically true, of course, but it does evoke the sort of vibe Caruso and Jefferson Montoya are shooting for with their acoustic duo, which about two months ago began playing every Friday at Jack’s Irish Pub at Palace Station.

“The Elegant Vagabonds (is) a project that’s really close to me,” Caruso says. “Two guitars, the clothes on our backs and a bagful of songs, and we go play them and run them up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes.”

Caruso and Montoya both have been playing around town for years. They met about 10 years ago at an open mic night but, until The Elegant Vagabonds, had never played together.

“We always kind of admired each other’s playing. Jefferson has always been one of my favorite performers,” Caruso says. “And, then, the light bulb went off one day: Why don’t we do something together?”

About two months ago, they created The Elegant Vagabonds, although Caruso says he and Montoya do take slightly different approaches to music. During shows, there’s “constant banter between us, and we don’t agree on a lot of music,” Caruso says.

“We have very different styles,” adds Caruso, a “huge blues and funk guy” who loves extended jams, while Montoya is “really, at heart, a solo act.”

“So we butt heads all the time on these arrangements, but I think what comes out of it is something interesting for the audience to listen to.”

Caruso describes the duo’s repertoire as “a very eclectic blend of pop songs” ranging from Elvis and the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll to such contemporary artists as Bruno Mars, sometimes offered in the form of unexpected mashups.

Caruso is a fan of “taking two songs that should never exist together” — The Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” with Prince’s “Kiss” maybe – and making the new whole somehow work.

“So we make these songs co-exist with one another, and people seem to get a kick out of it,” Caruso says. “DJs have been doing it forever, taking two songs and matching beats and kind of blending in and out of them. If those guys could get away with it, why cant we?

“It’s a fun twist on an acoustic duo. Instead of playing your standard, ‘Here’s 40 songs in a couple of hours to sit through and sip your beer,’ we try to make it a little more engaging.

“It’s really satisfying to do this kind of show. It’s a little more interactive,” Caruso says.

The Elegant Vagabonds play from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays at Jack’s Irish Pub at Palace Station, 2411 W. Sahara Ave.


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