Meet Your Neighbor: Jody Sweet
So your family has been here for a long time?My family has been in Truckee and mostly in Nevada County since the 1860s. Why did they come up here?They worked in the gold mines, the hard-rock gold mines in Grass Valley.And the generations never left?We had a homestead down in Nevada City with something like 2,000 acres or more. I dont know, Im probably like the seventh-generation Californicator thats what they call us up in Washington, you know.Proud of your local heritage?Yeah, Im proud of the fact that I got roots a lot deeper than most people around this place do.So youve definitely seen the community grow and change, then?Yeah, but its changed. I dont know. Its kind of like the community changing and trying to be something that its not. It seems like its trying to be more like Aspen than trying to be Truckee or Tahoe, you know.I can remember the old Tahoe. The old Tahoe was with Vuarnet sunglasses. That was Tahoe style. You could always tell people with the Raccoon eyes, theyd wear em to dinner and to breakfast. Tell me about your band.Well, Im a piano player and Im also a songwriter. I write songs in Nashville, Tennessee. Were part of the National Song Writers Association. Its me and my song-writing partner, Gaile Etchells.Do people recognize your songs?We write songs and we submit them to people. We havent got anything major yet. Weve got a few. Mostly we write either ballads or upbeat-type stuff. Does your band perform the songs your write?Sometimes. Mostly we just play standards.So, why do you enjoy music?Well, to be honest with you, I like playing piano because for me, it came out when I had my fingers cut off on my left hand. I had to do something for physical therapy and I had to do something with boogie-woogie style. But I really enjoy songwriting with Gaile, thats probably my favorite thing. Id be doing that all my life, trying to make a living out of that. Thats a pretty emotional rush, but you have to be realistic about it, too.Hows the music scene these days?Its changed. Tahoe used to have a ton of music, when there were more bars in town: Rosies, Pierce Street, the West Shore. And the clubs are just drying up. Its live music versus DJs; Im a live music person. But Crystal Bays cool. Im glad to see that.But in the 80s, it wasnt like that at all. I mean, it was jumpin.Where was the best hang-out in the 80s?The Bear Pan, at Squaw Valley. That was one of the best places in the world. Thats a long time ago. Thats one of the classic places that I remember. But that was Old Tahoe, where kids could go ski and when Levis were fashionable. Levis and Vuarnets that was the whole scene.Whats in store for the future?Im staying up here. But my hope for the future is that Tahoe discovers Tahoe again. And Tahoe stops being something else. If I hear any more Colorado development or European-style crap because were not that. Were Tahoe.The Sierra Sun’s Julie Brown interviewed Sweet for this week’s Meet Your Neighbor. Please send suggestions for Meet Your Neighbor to email@example.com.