Squirrel Butter, husband and wife duo of Charlie Beck & Charmaine Slaven, started performing together after meeting at a music festival in 2005.  Sharing a deep love of traditional music, they explore the genres of old-time, early bluegrass, blues, country, & cajun while adding their unique perspective to these traditions and threading these influences into their original compositions.  Multi-instrumentalists, they play banjo, guitar, fiddle, steel guitar, step-dance, and sing in harmony.  Occasionally, Squirrel Butter appears with guest musicians to form a trio or quartet.  Currently both are members of honky tonk project, The Lucky Shots, and half of venerable string band, The Tallboys.  They are anchors of the old-time music, honky-tonk, & square dance communities in the Pacific NW and beyond.


     “When Squirrel Butter isn't drawing crowds at Pike Place Market, the Seattle sweetheart Old Time duo is busy playing concerts, leading jams, and organizing the Emerald City's hot Old Time scene. A splinter group of The Tallboys, Squirrel Butter is comprised of Charlie Beck and Charmaine "Lady Li-Lei" Slaven, who are both proving to be leaders in the bourgeoning Northwest roots genre.

     Charlie Beck plays banjo and guitar, amongst other instruments, while Charmaine is best known for her clean, virtuosic buckdancing, which she somehow does while playing guitar. They combine rip-roaring old-time tunes with funky hokum songs and country blues picking, both on banjo and guitar. Their new CD, Renderings, also features both Charlie and Charmaine on fiddle, in addition to all their other instruments and Charmaine's dancing. It's an impressive amount of music being made by this young couple!

     Squirrel Butter's sound is authentic, raw, and true to tradition. Give them a listen and you'll be amazed that such full sounds can come from two lovebirds who only play with what they can carry on their backs from one gig to the next. “

  1. -Devon Leger, Hearth Music

     “Squirrel Butter is the duo made up of Charlie Beck and Charmaine Slaven.  Charlie plays banjo, fiddle, and guitar.  Charmaine is amazing in that she plays guitar and is a fabulous clog dancer.  At times, she clogs, plays her guitar, and sings all at the same time!  Amazing!  Hmmm, didn’t John Hartford sing, dance, and play his instrument at the same time as well?  Their voices complement one another very well.  They do Carter Family songs, country songs, Oldtime standards, and cool instrumentals.  I think Charlie also plays a few songs done in the jug band style.  I really need to jam with those guys some more!”

- Jim Portillo, Pacific NW Folklore Society