Sommelier Performing Live at The Underground on Mar. 16

Join us at The Underground for a performance from Pittsburgh based band, Sommelier.


Mary Miracle

The band, Sommelier, performing

Makayla McNett, Staff Writer

Sommelier will give a live performance at The Underground on Thursday, Mar. 16 in the Natali Student Center. 

Sommelier is an alternative pop band that is based out of Pittsburgh and established in January 2020. The band is centered around the songwriting partnership between Brian Ferrell (drummer/guitarist) and J. Trafford (bass/vocals). Other members of the band are Zach Cross (rhythm guitar) and Jon Boyle (lead guitar).


The band’s most recent single “Killing the Au Pair” was released in November of 2022. When creating their music, the band takes on a collaborative songwriting process. 


“We send ideas back-and-forth expecting they will change, and they usually do,” Brian Ferrell (drummer/guitarist) said. “We try to keep a very open mind when we build songs. Something that begins as a folk song might end up as a heavy rock song.” 


Describing the group’s sound, J. Trafford (bass/vocals) said, “Brian’s and my musical backgrounds are dissimilar in such a way that gives the material stamina and consistent variety.”


As the band was created in January of 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic, they were unable to perform live for the first year of their existence. When things started to pick back up again in 2021, many musicians were in the same position. 


“The nature of the situation organically becomes competitive, which is unfortunate,” J. Trafford (bass/vocals) said. “But it would be so much worse if there was a scarcity of independent music.”


Sommelier is one of the few guitar-based pop groups in our region to commission remixes from electronic/hip hop producers. A remix of their song “Killing the Au Pair” will be released this spring by producer Requiem Witch, who, according to HughShows website, is a touring audio engineer and musician also based out of Pittsburgh PA. J. Trafford (bass/vocals) was featured in Chris Mason’s indie documentary feature about Tom Moran, a Pittsburgh musician, titled “Improvising the Divine.”

“Every time we start recording a new song, there is an opportunity to experiment,” Brian Ferrell (drummer/guitarist) said. “When we recorded ‘A Furnace’ we recorded J. playing a Steinway piano on an empty concert hall stage. We’re just about to start recording a track that opens with violin and cello. I like to think that every idea has the potential to be an interesting project.”


Last year, the band organized benefit performances in the Pittsburgh area. These performances raised over $500 for non-profit organizations including SisTers, who according to their website are a TRANS-led non-profit organization which serves POC, trans, and nonbinary people in Southwestern PA, and The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.


During their performance on campus in March, the group will be performing some new songs that they are currently in the process of recording. 

“We’ll be interested in checking out The Underground. I think it’s critical to have avenues for students to perform original material,” J. Trafford (bass/vocals) said.


One can connect with Sommelier on their website, Instagram or Facebook. Their music can be found on Spotify or Apple Music, and students and staff can experience Sommelier when they perform on campus in March.