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Rose’s Pawn Shop strums toward Columbus

Courtesy of Bree Ellsworth

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In some instances, being a rule breaker can pay off. At least that’s how things worked out for Paul Givant when he broke what he considers the “No. 1 rule” for musicians: “Don’t date someone in the band.”

After leaving his girlfriend and band member Rose at a party one night, Rose took revenge on Givant for her abandonment, or as Givant more lightly called it “disagreement.”

“It turns out she was a little of a loose cannon,” Givant said. “Her response to our disagreement was she went down to the band rehearsal space, took the instruments, loaded them up in her car, and took them to several pawn shops. We did actually get all the instruments back and we got our name from it.”

The band deemed itself Rose’s Pawn Shop from there on out.

Rose’s Pawn Shop is scheduled to perform at 9 p.m. Thursday at Woodland’s Tavern.

Givant, lead vocalist, guitarist and banjoist for Rose’s Pawn Shop, said the bluegrass band, based in California, formed in 2005. Many of the members met through mutual musicians and even Craigslist.

It shuffled through several “horrible” names before the pawn shop incident, Givant said, listing off old names such as “The Weeds” and more obscure ones such as “The New Ward Heelers.”

“We like to keep those under wraps because they’re so horrible,” he said.

Composed of five members, Rose’s Pawn Shop is a string-heavy group. Givant said, with the exception of drums, the group makes use of the fiddle, standup bass, electric and acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin, to name a few instruments.

Upon its formation, Givant said the band aimed to sound like a bluegrass version of Flogging Molly, one of his favorite bands, and incorporating string instruments gives it the bluegrass twist.

“We’re not really quite trying to be the punk rock of bluegrass bands, but there’s kind of an energy of the music that’s fast and punk rock,” Givant said.

The band has released two albums since its start, “The Arsonist” and “Dancing on the Gallows” in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Givant said it has a third in works, which shows promise for an early 2013 release.

Brett Ruland, owner of Spoonful Records, located at 116 E. Long St., said he’s seen a reemergence of bluegrass popularity in his store, which he credits to newer bluegrass artists such as Rose’s Pawn Shop, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Be Good Tanyas.

“It’s pretty hot because of ‘The Bluegrass Ramble’ on 90.5 FM,” which is sponsoring Rose’s Pawn Shop’s Columbus show, Ruland said. “Lately with a lot of bands having the banjo and different things it just seems to make people really want to go back and get some of the older titles and older Bluegrass records as well.”

Ruland also said he thinks Columbus is a top spot for bluegrass artists to tour.

Catherine Elicson, a second-year in film studies and international studies, said although she has never heard of Rose’s Pawn Shop, she is interested in bands such as Flogging Molly. She said not knowing the performer hasn’t stopped her from going to concerts in the past because they are generally still positive experiences.

“It’s interesting to hear bands live when you haven’t heard the recording, because sometimes bands suck live even if they’re good on their recording,” Elicson said.

Thursday won’t mark Rose’s Pawn Shop’s first stop in Columbus, either. The band has previously played at Newport Music Hall and Woodland’s Tavern. Givant said the band ventured toward Ohio State’s campus a few times as well.

“We’ve been there a few times and really like it,” Givant said. “I love the college vibe. We were there in the fall last time, so the college was in full swing.”

Tickets for the show are $10 and can be purchased at Woodland’s Tavern.

Caitlin Essig contributed to this story

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