Grab your whiskey and get to the dance floor because Indy Mojo is taking over the Bluebird once again. Bluegrass is back, this time with Trampled by Turtles Thursday, February 5 (8pm, $20). A five-piece ensemble all the way from Duluth, Minn. gives you a smooth blend of bluegrass with an indie folk twist. Get your tickets soon as this show is on the verge of selling out!
What first attracted me to Trampled by Turtles (TBT) was their fast paced tempo and rasping melodies. They swoon you with their heartfelt lyrics while your toes are tapping violently to the beat. This fun loving band developed from a not-so-typical background; all band members started off in separate bands playing a variety of electronic, metal, and jam music. Slowly, one by one, they left these bands to form TBT and 10 years later they are still putting out albums and bringing in the crowd.
More recently, they were featured in July 2014 on “Late Night with David Letterman” to sing songs off their latest album, “Wild Animal”.
TBT will be on tour early spring through the summer, with several festival dates already announced including Hangout, Summer Camp, Bonnaroo and Telluride. While we all love festivals don’t miss this perfect opportunity to see them in a more intimate setting at The Bluebird. The banjo will be plucked, the guitar will be strummed, and the vocals will take you away.
February 5th, 8pm
The qualifiers for progressiveness within bluegrass seem to be difficult to name. There may be no better way to find an answer than to look to a band still making a name for itself even after, well, having made a name for itself: Yonder Mountain String Band.
Born in Nederland, Co. with mid-western roots, YMSB is undergoing transformation; the kind of change where, instead of seeing your ex at a bar with a new flame, you see your ex — and his new band — on the same summer festival lineups. As Yonder tours familiar territory with a new configuration, sights are set on the live show performances. Though, it is perhaps the undercurrents, and the behind-the-scenes notions driving the band to move forward into a realm that surpasses expectations both professionally and personally
YMSB picked up two new players after cutting ties with founding member, Jeff Austin, in 2014.
“It can be nerve wracking… to a certain extent,” commented YMSB’s banjoist Dave Johnston in a recent interview with Miranda Brooks of IndyMojo. “But, I don’t feel preoccupied with frustration. We’ve made a decision, and we’re just letting the chips fall where they may.”
The expanded band is now a five-piece with Allie Kral on fiddle and Jake Jolliff on mando.
“It feels really good and fresh,” Johnston spoke of the band’s current dynamic. “Allie and Jake are talented musicians and quick studies. Plus the ‘hang’ [time] is good, they’re really great people.”
With a sink or swim and trial by fire type of audition, Kral and Jolliff came out being both not drowned and unburnt.
“I think that speaks to their level of creativity and willingness to work,” Johnston said of the newbies’ seamless transition. “It feels like two things are happening at once… it feels like a new band, but an old band, too – maybe something that has existed in a parallel universe somewhere, and now we’ve crossed paths.”
The band has recorded brand-new material set to be released sometime this year.
“The process has changed so much now that you record whenever and wherever you can,” Johnston said of their own operation, which took place in studios across the country from California to Michigan to Virginia.
When asked about the piecemealed technique, he said, “It’s tricky and requires a different kind of psychology, but we take care to make sure it sounds uniform; ultimately the sound ends up being the same because you get to the same musical place regardless [of locale].”
The creative process is still the same for the band, despite the change in lineup.
“We write with the intention of allowing everyone input; crew members and managers even have a hand in the process, making it a group effort.”
Themes and sounds may differ from the past, but the evolution of this family-style dynamic is heart-warming as it steers clear from making music that might be individualistically identified. It’s this type of off-stage improvising that pays off when and where it matter most.
And Johnston’s laid back attitude is focused on just that… the live shows – playing audience favorites from their lengthy catalogue, and having fun with new covers from Neutral Milk Hotel, Urge Overkill, Dusty Springfield, and Chuck Berry.
When asked about the progressiveness of the bluegrass genre as we know it today, Johnston shared this insight:
“Bluegrass is such a malleable and adaptive form; the possibilities for it to thrive and expand and redefine itself are typical of any American art form. It’s a legendary tradition to be a part of, mainly because it’s changing. Any amount of tinkering can be done. Or even if major, massive changes happen… and it still has that drive and feeling that traditional bluegrass givens to you, then I think it’s still pretty much bluegrass. It doesn’t have to be from a rural area, it doesn’t have to mimic or even echo the progenitors of the music… it just has to make you feel like other bluegrass makes you feel.”
The Vogue Theater
Wednesday January 28th
There is no better cure for the deep winter blues then some good old fashioned blue grass music. Indy Mojo is taking over the Blue Bird in Bloomington, Indiana for the first time, for a knee stomping party with GreenSky BlueGrass! If you’re looking for a great way to warm up this winter, there is no better way then dancing the night away to some bluegrass.
Join us at the Blue Bird in Bloomington Tuesday January 13th. This venue has hosted many amazing bands such as Umphrey’s McGee, Bassnectar, and Papadosio and we are so excited to be hosting GreenSky. GreenSky is an all acoustic five piece band, but don’t let the word acoustic fool you, you are definitely in for an intense rock and light show mixed with some awesome blue grass. They will remind you of the summer and warm times in the sunshine.
So check out tickets and come warm your soul with some lovely BlueGrass in a great town.
Check out GreenSky BlueGrass here:
The Facebook Event Here:
And Tickets Here:
“It’s not enough to feel it, it needs to overwhelm you,” sings the sensibility of Greensky Bluegrass as they ride the wave of a genre redesigned, where the centralized point of America’s Appalachian roots music spirals out further towards popular dubs of Newgrass and Jamgrass to provide a fresh take on the traces of Mr. Monroe’s and Mr. Stanley’s original styling’s.
Aptly borrowed from an episode of This American Life, If Sorrows Swim is the current release from the mostly-based Kalamazoo band. “The context of the phrase was something we kind of fell in love with; it’s about drinking and being sad,” laughed Greensky’s guitarist Dave Bruzza during a recent interview with Miranda Brooks of IndyMojo. With sentimentality most American’s can relate to, the album, furthermore, is benefiting from increased exposure with first-time distribution help from Nashville-based Thirty Tigers.
The traditional, all-stringed instrumentation of Greensky formed organically at open mic nights in Michigan with a full-time touring schedule that began in 2006.
“We just did it, just went for it, for years, we played everywhere. Then something happened along the way and it was like, ‘Oh shit.’”
Clearly the 200+ days a year of travel have proven to be a selling point for the five-piece.
“Promoters like to know you can bring an audience,” Bruzza said, referencing the larger festival circuit invitations they’ve received from Bonnaroo to Northwest String Summit to Outsidelands.
Perhaps Greensky’s accessibility to mainstream acceptance is their unique, hardly strictly Bluegrass background mixed with their evident ‘raised on Rock and Roll’ experimentation within the genre.
“Though our name surely suggests to anyone who doesn’t know who we are, we never intended to be specifically labeled.”
The dynamic ability of the band is known to those who’ve experienced their live shows.
“So many of our fans come to multiple shows, so it’s important for us to be fresh,” Bruzza said of Greensky’s familiar, prescribed, yet varietal sound.
But what’s interesting is the fact that much of Sorrows was arranged primarily in the studio, void of excess rehearsal and on-the-road confirmation.
“We played ‘Windshield’ once and then recorded it; it was amazing to hear to such a raw, powerful song.” Ironically, ‘Windshield’ was played live for the first time at Telluride Bluegrass in 2013…after the album was completed. For reasons undisclosed, Greensky sat on Sorrows for well over a year and experienced both anxious eagerness and forced patience with its debut.
“We had this new music and wanted to get it out, so, yeah, there were some times we felt a bit frustrated,” Bruzza remembered. Frustrations aside, the product of their efforts, If Sorrows Swim, charted in the top fifty for iTunes downloads on the day of its release.
The idea of ‘making it’ in today’s music world may be relative and difficult to describe, but Greensky Bluegrass’ path appears to suit them just fine. “We love what we do, playing together, and creating music,” Bruzza added, “It’s great that people are acknowledging the fact that there is a future for Bluegrass.”
Greensky’s sound undoubtedly impacts the burgeoning landscape of their namesake genre, even if its trajectory may not be historically straight forward.
Want to win tickets?
In the spirit of the tour, please leave a comment describing your favorite Greensky show or song. One winner will be randomly-selected by Thursday, October 2nd and will receive two tickets to the show.
Greensky Bluegrass w/ The Stampede String Band
The Vogue Theater
Friday October 3rd, 2014
Doors at 7:00pm, Show at 8:00pm
Leftover Salmon have been touring the country for over 25 years, bringing their blend of bluegrass and jam music to adoring fans everywhere. They will be performing at the Vogue Theatre on May 1st with Bill Payne, the keyboardist for Little Feat. I had a chance to interview Vince Herman, the guitarist and singer of Leftover Salmon about their upcoming show. Continue reading to hear how he started playing music, formed the band and more.
MOJO: I figure I’ll start at the beginning; how did you get started playing music?
VINCE: I grew up in a town near Pittsburg and went to a lot of family weddings. I had a real big family and I saw bands playing there. I just thought that was the shit, man. No one else in my family played but I decided to start lessons in 2nd grade or something like that. I played at church as a kid and then went to college in Morgantown, West Virginia, and got all tied up in the bluegrass scene and migrated to Colorado and started a band.
M: What was the first band that you were in?
V: Leftover Salmon, pretty much.
M: How did you guys come together initially?
V: It was a combination of a band called The Salmon Heads that I was in. Yeah, I guess that was really my first real band. We combined the Salmon Heads with some guys from the Left Hand String Band and what we thought was going to be one gig, filling in a couple people, we called it Leftover Salmon out of a combination of the two bands names. Little did we know, almost 25 years later, we’re still doing that stuff.
M: When did you decide to incorporate the washboard?
V: I got turned on to Cajun music in 1982 at the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, West Virginia and that is the first time that I heard the washboard played and I thought that it was pretty cool. I didn’t get one until about 10 years later but you know.
M: You recorded your last album in 2012, before that it had been 8 years, what made you decide to record that album?
V: We called it quits on the band for about three years and then got it back together for the occasional one-off reunion gig and then we did enough of those that we figured it was either time to do it for real or not and we decided to do it for real. That meant doing a record.
M: Why did you guys take a break for a couple of years?
V: Well, we lost our banjo player to cancer. We really needed a break after Mark Vann passed.
M: I saw that you guys recently released the self-titled album digitally. What made you want to do that?
V: Well, that was the last album that we made before we took the break and that was before iTunes and all of those things and so we realized that we never had an online digital release of the record. It just took us a little while to realize that.
M: That makes sense, that is the way that most people get music these days, I guess. Have you played Indianapolis before?
M: What do you think of the music scene here?
V: It is great city, I love it, man. (There are) a bunch of cool little venues. I’ve always enjoyed my time in Indianapolis.
M: Do you like life on the road?
V: Sure. I’ve done it almost 25 years; I hope I did (laughs).
M: Since you guys have so many songs, how do you decide what you are going to play on a given night?
V: Well, we kind of put together a set list just about every night but we tend to forget about it and play whatever we feel. Having a list makes sure we don’t forget what we know. There are about 300-400 songs that we can pull off at any time.
M: Is it more fun to just drift into a song that seems right but wasn’t on the set list?
V: Absolutely, absolutely.
M: I used to go to a bunch of festivals, but I haven’t really as of late. I was wondering your thoughts about electronic music taking over the festival scene.
V: It reminds me of when disco happened. The culture will cure itself.
Leftover Salmon will be at the Vogue Theatre on May 1st at 9:00 p.m. You can purchase tickets here.
Click below to hear their self-titled album that was recently released on all major digital outlets.
Yeehaw, bluegrass lovers! Start prepping for a hootenanny on February 13th at the Vogue, because Yonder Mountain String Band is picking on Indy. These stringed maestros have a reputation for tremendous concerts, so you can bet they’ll inspire plenty of boot stompin’ and skirt twirlin’.
Since 1999, Yonder Mountain String Band has been jamming their version of Bluegrass across the country. From Telluride Bluegrass Festival to Summer Camp to their own Northwest String Summit, this group’s resume is stacked and they’ve grown into a line-up staple for music festivals of all kind.
Working ceaselessly in the festie circuit has earned them the honor of being one of music’s most progressive bluegrass outfits alongside the likes of Leftover Salmon and Greensky Bluegrass. Much like these groups, Yonder’s style is rooted in stringed instrumentation, and their love for skin-searing speed.
Hailing from Colorado, YMSB’s music evokes the sounds of a big-sky landscape. “Half Moon Rising” paints the image of pine trees illuminated by lunar light, and one can almost smell the trees’ piney perfume when listening.
Their melodic strumming and plucking has granted them the ability to meld classics like “They Love Each Other” from Grateful Dead, and “Girlfriend Is Better” by Talking Heads into something their own. When it comes to covering a song, YSMB knows how to do it justice, and simultaneously make it unique.
With a multitude of live and studio albums under their belt, their repertoire is quite extensive. Taking a listen to any of their releases will illuminate the band’s musical ability, however, seeing them live is like watching an animal in its natural environment: simply amazing and awe-striking.
Mosey on down to the Vogue February 13th for a knee slappin’, boot stampin’ good time. Yonder Mountain String Band is certain to work their unbridled, stringed magic.
Get tickets: http://ticketf.ly/17C32BI
$25 Day Of
Doors at 7pm; Show at 8pm
IndyMojo & The Vogue present:
* GREENSKY BLUEGRASS
If you’re familiar with bluegrass music, then you’re tuned in to some of what Greensky Bluegrass does. They’re also known to throw a great party, rock n roll, and (if the critics are to be believed) they have great songs. They are unquestionably a team of friends that traverse the country making music they enjoy. What makes Greensky different than Bluegrass? Poignant rural ballads about real people? Dobro tone that Jerry (Douglas or Garcia) would love? Distortion Pedals? Grit and attitude from a whiskey soaked card game? Indeed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This quintet from Michigan has been staying up late at all the coolest festivals and stopping to play your favorite clubs and theaters across America for 11 years now. Nearly 175 shows per year has prepared them for the rigorous task of continuity. Greensky Bluegrass isn’t slowing down. “They’re coming to your town to help you party down.” Yeah. Really. Like you never thought possible.
At the start of the millennium,some of these guys met, then they met more guys. They thought Greensky was a clever name for a bluegrass band. Fast forward to 2011 when they recorded their fourth studio record, called Handguns. Among them, words like, “proud,” “killer,” and “damn right!” have been spoken in regards to the music of Handguns.
While they all may be accurate, we hope you’ll find far more than you expected, hell – even more than we expected contained in this piece work that may well come to define one of 21st Century America’s hardest working musical ensembles.
* FLATLAND HARMONY EXPERIMENT
Flatland Harmony Experiment is a non-traditional vocally driven bluegrass string band based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. FHE started in the summer 2011. Since then the Flatland Harmony Experiment has worked relentlessly across the midwest and has been received with open arms. Flatland Harmony Experiment is Scott Nelson on upright bass, Kris Potts on Mandolin, and Johnny Plott on Banjo.
Get tickets: http://ticketf.ly/1cFauJw
$20 Day of
Friday, Jan 17th
Here is how you do it!
1. In the comment section below, tell us is in, why you deserve to win. Make it good people. 100 words or less!
2. Post this event blog to your Facebook Page. Be sure to tag the IndyMojo.com Fan Page in your post so we see it.
It’s THAT easy!
Winners will be announced Thursday, January 16th!
Born in a meth lab deep in the hills of Tennessee, Wattie Green was found and raised by a pack of coyotes; one of which only had three legs. Wattie later took up with a band of nomadic gypsies who formed a band and made their living selling magic tonics and some taxidermy on the side. After a falling out with the gypsies, Wattie staged a rebellion and fled in order to single-handedly create the EDM subgenre of “Cave-Rave.” Dj’ing since ’99 and producing since 2004, this spelunking, multi-instrument playing, jazzy swing house producing phenom moves the crowd wherever he goes. Wattie’s vinyl and digital releases on Flapjack, Spatula City, Juiced, Knocturnal Emissions, Serial Sickness, Funk Mansion and Coyote Cuts have topped the charts of Stompy and Traxsource. Come check out how he has redefined the swing house sound with his nuskool/oldskool jackin’ feel.
Mojo/AF: So, what kind of stuff did you listen to growing up as a kid? What was the first tape/CD you ever bought?
WG: My dad played music. He had a bluegrass band and I liked that stuff. I also liked classic rock and Motown. My mom’s from Detroit and bought all these Michael Jackson records and Motown music.
I started playing guitar at 10 or 11. I played early alternative rock stuff like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Sonic Youth was a big thing for me; different kinds of punk rock, commercial punk stuff like Bad Religion and Butthole Surfers… Then at 14 I started going to parties with a fake ID.
AF: How did you first get into “electronic” or house music?
WG: Going to underground shows in Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta as an early teenager. They would be featuring Chicago house djs and drum and bass stuff from the east coast, and some west coast. Paul Johnson Derrick Carter, strictly Jazz Unit Crew like Vic Lavender, Glen Underground; and at that time, it’s embarrassing to say now, but Bad Boy Bill and Humpty Vision– that was hot shit in ’97 and ’98. Terry Mullin, DJ Dan– these people were all at parties that I was trying to sneak into. People like Farina, Sneak and Carter, frequented Nashville, Atlanta and Memphis … around 99. We’d go all the time on weekends, missed a lot of school…
I first got turntables when I was 15….I got them for Christmas and had those until I was 18, and I convinced my parents to use a small college fund on Technics at 18 and I still have them. That’s basically all I have.
AF: What was the first track you ever made?
WG: In 2009 I finally released some stuff. I’d been trying to make tracks for 4 or 5 years but wanted someone to release them on vinyl, but most of the people I sent stuff to were not willing to do vinyl. But, eventually Frankie J agreed to release Sea Lion Woman on Flapjack. I made some tracks for Juiced Music in 2009 and 2010 I gave them several tracks. Flapjack and Spatula City and Juiced Music in 2009 and 201 were my first releases… I was the 2nd release on Flapjack. (A.F. sidenote to readers. This blows my mind and I have to take a moment to collect myself and get my breathing under control again, as this is a huge fucking deal….)
AF: Do you keep up with the “latest charts” on Traxsource and Beatport and the like? How do you stay current on what’s coming out, or do you; and do you use those as any sort of guideline when you’re making new tracks, or do you just not care and do your own thing?
WG: As a DJ I’m supposed to, but I really do not. I don’t keep up. Every now and then I go through the top 10 or go to the Jackin’ top 10, and be like “I know that guy”, or I already have it or I ask them to send it to me… I only play stuff that people send me. I don’t pay attention to those websites… I play them when I get promos, but most of the good stuff that is top 20 in the genre I get most of it already, People are putting out stuff I love, but I hit them up and ask them….”Here’s my new thing, let me get that one thing.” I really don’t keep up with all that stuff, I’m lucky if I get on line for 20 min every day… I am blessed that people send me promos… The only stuff I play live is the stuff people send me or stuff that I’ve made.
AF: So what’s up with this cave stuff?
WG: Actually – me and my grandfather and my father, our pastime was to hunt for arrowheads…this was in Paris Tennessee, there is this land between lakes and between the rivers, and we’d find cave openings while hunting for arrowheads. In middle Tennessee, we have some of the largest concentrations of caves in the US. I took up caving and repelling, well it’s been over 10 years that I’ve been doing that. I’ve been members of caving grounds, it’s a big hobby of mine. There are about 400 different caves I’ve been to. I’m a member of Tennessee Cave Survey, Georgia Conservancy and Alabama Cave Survey. I am in this group of people who take notes and when they find caves they turn in coordinates and map them; it’s a big thing where I live. A couple times of year we get together and share new information and digital information about new caves found, There are 11,000 caves in TN alone; they have more than any other state in the US. So, it’s not only like a family tradition, a lot of my friends and I did that straight out of high school as a big hobby. I grew up in west Tenn. there aren’t any caves there, but my grandparents were from Paris, and that’s where the caves start and we’d go canoeing down rivers and look for arrowheads and I went out on my own and took my friends and it was our hobby. There are lots of caving groups in upper Cumberland grotto, in the college town I live in. I don’t do it as much as I used to, but usually when I do, it is revisiting things….so yeah, it’s been a family tradition and one of my major hobbies. (WATTIE:
AF: If you had to go spelunking with any people from history, musicians, actors, artists, etc., which 3 would you choose?
WG: You, Thomas Barr, who wrote the original book Caves of Tennessee in 1961 and Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Anton Wilson.
AF: What inspires you to make new tracks? Is it methodical and pragmatic for you, or do you just kind of go with the flow and create as it comes to you?
WG: I just spend time digging through old music, researching who, or what guy from this genre jazz or disco or whatever, search for other people like them, dig through old music, find something that lends itself to house music then I use it. I spend time researching and learning about old jazz, funk and disco music and when I run across something that lends itself to house; I try to work it in. The library of Congress Recordings from the 20’s-60’s have been a giant influence to me… Alan Lomax is a big influence to me; one of the first people to do field recordings for Library of Congress. Anything from jazz to bluegrass, the type of stuff I do is directly motivated and influenced by super old stuff I come across digging through old obscure things from folk to blues to jazz to funk and disco. I try to go back and do something better that’s already been done. I have a lot of respect for people who can make house music without using any samples from old music. The main things people know from me and that I’ve had the best results with, it’s from is digging through old house, disco and funk music.
AF: Coolest show/venue you’ve ever played?
WG: Earlier this year in San Francisco at the Monarch with Mark Farina…this place was giant and packed and I got to rock…The Smart Bar in Chicago last year with Frankie J .and the dude that owns Gramaphone and South of Roosevelt. playing Bonnaroo, guitar on the street outside the big stages and bass… and it’s like right down the street from my house….
AF: Place you’ve never been/played but really want to?
WG: I’ve never played anywhere in the pacific northwest . Seattle or Portland or Eugene…
AF: Your biggest musical influences. Name as many as you want.
AF: If you could play a show with anyone, who would it be?
WG: Miley Cyrus. Well….(I laugh hysterically) I’ve gotten to play with most of the people I wanted to… I’ve played with Sonny, Mes, MarkFarina, Sneak…. so Daft Punk or Basement Jaxx or Green Velvet or Cajmere….
AF: Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam or Makers Mark?
WG: Yes please… (Wild Turkey).
AF: What’s up with the debt ceiling debate?
WG: During the government shut down, the only national park in TN was closed down and that sucked…I would rather not speak on that.
AF: What’s up with Obama care?
WG: I have no idea; I don’t know what to say about the debt and I don’t even know what you just said.
AF: Is there any track or record you’ve done that you’re MOST proud of or that means the most to you?
WG: I used to ghostwrite for Jodeci but they never gave me any royalties and we don’t speak anymore, I also was an original member of Menudo, but due to personal differences we don’t talk anymore. I guess the ones I put out on vinyl with Flapjack and Spatula City.
(AF Note to readers: At this point I was laughing so hard I almost peed on myself)
AF: Someone you haven’t ever seen perform, but really want to; name up to 3.
AF: Three artists/djs/producers who are rocking your world right now; doesn’t have to be “new” and doesn’t have to be any specific genre.
WG: Mark Funk, my young buddies from Philly: Maggs Bruchez, Oh and Geraldine.
AF: If you could take private lessons, on any instrument, from any musician–past or present–who would it be and what instrument?
WG: I’d want to take banjo lessons from Earl Scruggs
AF: Anything to tell the people as to what they can expect from your show at RISE?
WG: Expect to see me get half way drunk, and then completely drunk afterward. Yeah, I’ll be playing my stuff and playing stuff from labels I’ve been on, the labels I’d like to be on. Expect jazzy funky disco house music; that’s what I do.
One of my favorite Wattie Green tracks, “We Can Funk”
See you at 247 Skybar this Friday night 10:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Don’t miss this monumental night!
Bluegrass music is one of our country’s oldest traditions, the pickin’ music of a banjo stirs memories of country livin’, moonshine, driving fast down dirt roads and kickin’ your heels up in a cloud of dust at your favorite summer festival. Though the feelings remain the same, the experience I had at last Wednesday’s An Evening of Bluegrass was quite a different experience. With little to no promotion for the event I was lucky that I happened across the page of the Old National Centre (forever known as the Murat) and a friendly Facebook post informing me of the event. With a little research I realized that this was not a show to miss, as it boasted some of the most sought after acoustic session players in bluegrass, including 2 Grammy award winners and 1 Grammy Nominee. The line-up included Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers on banjo, Bryan Sutton, known for his time with Ricky Skaggs, the Dixie Chicks and Doc Watson, on acoustic guitar, Ronnie McCoury, the son of famed Del McCoury, on mandolin, Luke Bulla on fiddle, and Barry Bales of Allison Krauss and Union Station on the upright bass.
The Venue on the tickets and on the Old National Centre’s website was referred to as Deluxe, but talking with some of the people that work there I found out it is actually called Corinthian Hall, a small room in the basement of the Murat. There was the standard marble floors, seen throughout the building, along with a beautifully lit ceiling and walls to boot. Very classy indeed, matched by the atmosphere of a seated event and a much more mature crowd. The one drawback was that we ended up having to sit behind one of the several large pillars in the center of the room, making it hard to see more then half the band at any given time. Obstructed view aside, the show was a wonderful collection of heartwarming bluegrass and folk tunes full of energy and pride. These guys are all very experienced musicians, you don’t win a Grammy otherwise, and they hardly missed a note. This kind of bluegrass was definitely different then the style I have been accustomed too, listening to The New Old Cavalry, Yonder Mountain String Band, and the Rumpke Mountain Boys, but I think seeing this different side to a very wide spanning genre of music was refreshing. It was very hard not being able to jump up and dance around but that was just part of the experience. All in all it was a good show, it wasn’t great because great would have been to see these boys really cut loose with a wild crowd dancing arm in arm into the wee hours of the morning. Regardless, check em out if you see them on your next festival handbill, you wont be disappointed.
To view more photographs from the show, click here.
Words by Chris Lucas
Keller Williams digs deeper into his musical repertoire with help from bluegrass specialists The Travelin’ McCourys in his latest studio album Pick. Anyone familiar with Keller’s work knows he isn’t a stranger to exploring different musical avenues. In recent years he’s released a reggae-funk album, a children’s album, and an album of cover songs. His collaboration with Del McCoury’s bluegrass band The Travelin’ McCourys is his 18th album and arguably his most well-rounded studio album throughout his twenty-two year long career. As talented of a musician as Keller is, he absolutely could not have pulled this gem of an album off without the help of the Ronnie McCoury masterfully plucking the mandolin, Jason Carter’s ability to create absolute auditory beauty on the fiddle, and the steady bass play of Alan Bartram.superb banjo play by Rob McCoury,
The album starts off with a Keller Williams original, “Something Else”, and from the get go it is clear his singing has greatly matured over the years. In “Something” his guitar play still offers frantically fun blasts of energy and The McCourys ingeniously keep the music sounding crisp and tight while maintaining an excitable twang. “Mullet Cut” features an excellent blend Keller’s silly songwriting skills, his funky guitar play, and the undeniably refined bluegrass twang of The McCourys.“The Graveyard Shift”, a Steve Earle original, features excellent melodies with mandolin and fiddle beautifully harmonizing with Ronnie McCoury’s excellent vocals. Also, the track features the most notably recognizable upright bass play by Bartram.
“I Am Elvis” features the best mixture of Keller’s silly songwriting skills and The McCoury’s infectiously energetic bluegrass twang. The lyrics to the song go like this: “I like to sail around the world in my mind. I like to snowboard naked in the morning, jump out of a helicopter and freeze my behind. I like to ride upon the space shuttle where there’s no gravity. I like to float around just for fun ‘cause you see space is the place.” “What a Waste” is classic bluegrass through and through. The lyrics touch a wide array of subjects; love loss in the form of death, moonshine, religion, and definitely playful comedy. “I’m Amazed” is easily my favorite song. The My Morning Jacket cover perfectly captures the essence of the song, but I believe it transcends the original. A very special treat comes on the last track of the album, “Bumper Sticker”, which features Del McCoury joining Keller and the rest of The Traveling McCourys. It is an excellent bluegrass fusion track and ends and already fantastic album with a bang. If you even remotely enjoy bluegrass music this album will be a very special treat. After seeing Keller play an amazing set this past fall and hearing his latest album, I’m very excited to see his upcoming show at The Vogue.
Written by: Alex Toy
Photo by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images