Merced-based folky duo Cottonwood Creek may look like an odd couple – what with fresh-faced Maggie Watkins and mountain-man-bearded Scott Little – but it works for them.
Little, 26, and Watkins, 22, met as competing folk artists, but they quickly became bandmates and more than just friends.
“It’s harder for us to be harder on ourselves as bandmates, because of a more emotional attachment,” Little said. “But, it works out in the long run.”
Cottonwood Creek is set to perform Saturday during the The Partisan’s sixth anniversary. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the 432 W. Main St. bar.
The band borrows its name from Yosemite National Park’s Cottonwood Creek.
Little, a Mariposa County High graduate, said the duo’s relationship and shared taste in music makes writing and adapting music easy. Watkins, who grew up in Los Banos, shares songwriting duties with her counterpart.
The couple has carved out a few regular haunts to play their sweet, and sometimes country, folk and Americana music. They share singing duties, often harmonizing, and play a number of instruments.
“We average three to four shows a week,” Little said.
He usually has an acoustic guitar in hand, a harmonica around his neck, left foot on the kick drum and right foot on a tambourine. Watkins rotates a banjo and mandolin, and sometimes a guitar.
The couple said their sound is inspired by musicians like singer-songwriters Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice and Gregory Alan Isakov.
Mumford & Sons, an English folk rock band, influences their stage presence, Little said.
Now might be a good time to catch the duo, as their next goal is to go on the road. They hope to build enough support for a tour.
“We don’t plan on staying in Merced for too much longer,” Watkins said.
The duo missed out on an opportunity to perhaps raise their visibility in September, when a Labor Day weekend concert at Concow Lake near Chico was canceled due to the Rim Fire, which has burned more than 257,000 acres in Stanislaus National Forest.
“It was disappointing,” Watkins said.
The duo would have shared the stage with well-known artists like rappers Everlast, E-40 and Bubba Sparxxx. The concert was put together by Los Banos’ Moonshine Bandits.
Despite the minor setback, Little agreed that a road trip for the duo is on the horizon.
“I love going to bars and doing covers, but traveling and doing my own music is ideally what I want to do,” Little said. “I mean, you got to fly the coop, and this is my second coop.”
Creek is on the same bill Saturday as acoustic musician Joey No Knows of Merced and Oakdale-based The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit. Cost is $7.
The duo is also scheduled to perform at 11:45 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. at the Los Banos Tomato Festival on the Los Banos Fairgrounds, 403 F St. in Los Banos. The concert is free with admission to the festival.
They also perform regularly at the Gold Coin Bar & Tavern, 5021 Highway 140 in Mariposa, and Hangar BBQ, 26 Macready Drive in Merced.
To hear their music, go to www.facebook.com/cottonwoodcreekband.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or email@example.com.