The Pine Beetles

Meet the Pine Beetles

Originally formed in late 2006 by Lisa Alexander, George Traugott, and Vanessa Webb, the group hit its stride with the 2007 addition of Bob Guz on ukulele. They quickly became regulars on the Bastrop and Austin music scene, playing to great local acclaim. Although Bob and Vanessa have both moved on to other things, Derek Smootz joined the group in 2014, adding killer Irish flute and pipes to the mix.

Expect the unexpected: Irish tunes, torch songs, cowboy songs, and anything else that strikes their fancy.

Lisa Alexander

Tenor guitar, bouzouki, vocals

Lisa Alexander Founding member Lisa Alexander has been singing since birth. An active chorister and musical theater actress, she pursued operatic training in her native California. In 1995, her classical singing career took an abrupt turn when she was dragged to a house concert of Celtic music. Instantly enamored with folk music, since then she has become an avid song collector and advocate for traditional music. In 2004, Lisa took up the dulcimer, followed by the tenor guitar and octave mandolin. She has helmed the monthly Celtic song session at Things Celtic for the past several years.

Derek Smootz

Flute, whistle, octave mandolin, vocals

Derek Smootz In 2009, Derek and Lisa were in rehearsals for a light opera by the name of Iolanthe. The topic of Irish music came up, and Lisa mentioned a weekend event called the "O'Flaherty retreat", where a person might immerse themselves in Irish traditional music for a weekend. He attended as a beginner tin whistle student, and came home obsessed with the tradition. A few years (but many tune sessions) later, he's a part of the band. Maybe that was Lisa's plan, all along...

George Traugott

Concertina, guitar, banjo, bodhran, vocals

George Traugott In his musical career of more than 35 years, George has played with many bands and musical groups, including the Birchwood String Band in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Greater Minneapolis Dog and Pony Show and The Cast Iron Potty Band. His band of thirty years, the legendary Blind Moose Revue, features top caliber musicians from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Texas, and still performs several concerts per year at different US locations. George plays several instruments with the Pine Beetles including guitar, a 50's era longneck banjo, and a Wheatstone concertina that is more than 100 years old. His musical tastes run from haunting ballads or jumping fiddle tunes on his concertina to bluegrass, blues and old-time music on his banjo to classic country and cowboy tunes on his guitar. He is a familiar face at both bluegrass and Celtic jams in Austin, Texas.

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