.Music: True Identity

The Highway Poets follow their own beat

By Lily O’Brien

“We call ourselves the musketeers,” says Sebastian Saint James, guitarist and lead singer for The Highway Poets, about he and his bandmates. “It’s all for one and one for all.” Their friendship—and their music—has grown over the years, although originally they came from very different genres—folk and blues, funk, jam band and even heavy metal. But after hanging out together for a while, they found common musical ground.

“We decided to create a band together for fun and see if we could find a way to blend all these weird influences together and make something real, and unique and original,” Saint James says. “And I think over the course of the past nine years, we almost got that figured out.” That must be true, because the band has lots of upcoming gigs, including one at the Marin Art & Garden Center on Thursday, August 10.

“I worked really, really hard to figure out what it is I have to offer,” Saint James, 32, says, admitting to “some really dark, hard times in life.” He turned to music, hoping to build a bond with his father, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship.

The band’s original songs range in style from acoustic folk and bluegrass to electric rock. “We have tried to develop a sound that can work at a coffee shop or work at a festival,” Saint James says, “but if you catch us playing at a festival, we’re going to throw a party, and we’re going to get funky and we’re going to get rock ’n’ roll.”

A successful Kickstarter campaign last year financed the band’s latest recording, set to debut at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma on September 16.

“We’re just trying to find the best version of ourselves,” Saint James says. “What we need to do is to get heard and liked by as many people as possible—by just being ourselves.”

The Highway Poets, Thursday, Aug. 10, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross; 5-7pm; 415/455-5260; magc.org.


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