There are two obvious questions for the Student Loan, a Portland string band which plays Halloween night in the Divided Sky: Are your student loans paid off? “No.” What will you be coming as? “A string band from outer space.”
The space costumes will be in the style of vintage black and white sci-fi movies, which guitarist and fiddle player Liz Chibucos said she loves. She also appreciates the old-timey sound of an acoustic, drumless quartet.
About the time when the Soggy Bottom Boys had a hit in the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,” a group of college students in Oregon discovered bluegrass and folk music. Six months after starting the Student Loan, the band added Julio Attling, presumably also down by the schoolyard.
“I am a big Paul Simon fan and oddly enough it doesn’t have much to do with that song,” Appling said.
Mandolin player Chad Kimbler, who writes the majority of the songs, and banjo player Mark Gerolami round out the band.
The group debuted at the Divided Sky in August. Its performances feature harmonies (each member sings) from a mix of originals and cover tunes.
“I love that place,” Chibucos said. “It has a great local crowd.”
The Student Loan in June released its fourth album, “Moonlit Toasters,” produced by Portland’s Scott Law, perhaps best known at Lake Tahoe as a member Broke Down in Bakersfield, which includes Nicki and Tim Bluhm and members from ALO.
The Student Loan has performed in 17 countries as part of a cultural exchange program sponsored by the United States State Department.
“It is part of a long tradition that goes back to Count Basie’s Jazz Ambassadors,” Chibucos said. “It is an extension of that same program. Now it also includes bluegrass, zydeco and hip-hop.”
The worldwide tours are what put Chibucos on her life’s journey as a musician.
“It was very stressful with a tight schedule,” she said. “We were amazingly busy and I loved it.”
“Halloween Stringanigans with the Student Loan”
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31
Where: The Divided Sky, 3200 Highway 50, Meyers