Sticking to what works

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Longstanding Queenstown trio Mutz Nutz know a good thing when they see it. 

The band has been blasting out popular acoustic-rock covers in resort bars several times a week for the past six years. 

And with a decent living to be made out of giving visitors exactly what they want, Mutz Nutz have no intention of pursuing a career in the charts. 

“We do have a few of our own songs that we play from time to time but it’s hard to compete with classic tracks by the likes of Paul Weller, Eric Clapton or the Stones,” frontman Jamie Relton says. 

“When you suddenly throw in an original, people tend to just stand and stare at you wondering what’s going on – so we figure it’s best to stick to what we know. 

”It doesn’t matter if it’s belting it out at a big party or playing a quiet Sunday afternoon session, we can mix and match it up to suit.” 

Originally from Cumbria, England, part-time music teacher Relton shifted to Queenstown in 2003 and started out playing traditional folk music. 

“Back then there were about three bands in town that played regularly and compared to today there were hardly any venues,” he says. 

“There are a lot of groups and singers in town now so there’s healthy competition and the locals and tourists just love live sounds so this is a good place to be for a musician.” 

Relton is so busy gigging he hardly has a night in the house. 

As well as performing with Mutz Nutz he plays guitar and fiddle with a folk duo and also turns out with a local jazz trio. 

“I suppose I have all the bases covered – pop, rock, folk and jazz – so I’m rarely sitting around with nothing to do. 

“And that’s just the way I like it,” Relton grins. 

Catch Mutz Nutz at Pub on the Wharf on Saturday from 9.30pm