Lake Street Dive gels over pop

When the members of Lake Street Dive met in music school, they had hoped to fuse country music with jazz vocals to create an Americana hybrid. But, things didn’t quite turn out that way.

Instead, the band found itself drawn to 1960s and ’70s-era pop and soul. The resulting sound has garnered a growing fan base and opportunities to open for some of the biggest names in acoustic music. The band will make its first appearance in the area March 3 at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks.

“The country thing was a fun idea but it never really worked,” drummer Mike Calabrese said. “We’re all students of the pop song, and we found a couple simpler songs and groovier songs that lent themselves more to the pop realm.”

Band members Calabrese, Bridget Kearney (bass), Rachael Price (vocals) and Mike “McDuck” Olson (guitar/trumpet) are all classically trained and met at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

The band recently wrapped up a stint opening for the Yonder Mountain String Band, an opportunity Calabrese said gave the musicians a glimpse of what may be in store down the road.

“It was a great look into what happens when a band really gatherers a supportive, extensive following,” Calabrese said. “One thing we did pick up from them was how to bring listeners in and how to perform and connect with the audience in different ways.”

Though Lake Street Dive’s pop sounds differ from Yonder Mountain’s jamgrass style, Calabrese said the two bands discovered a common love of performing Beatles covers. That chemistry lead Yonder Mountain to invite Lake Street Dive up for a few Motown covers during the main set.

Later this spring, Lake Street Dive will head out on the road with Josh Ritter and Royal City Band. The band also plans to release a follow up to its 2010 self-titled debut album this summer, Calabrese said.