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Hot Buttered Run String Band
Chilly Submersion

Granted – my forays into the genre of bluegrass music have been limited, minor exploratory wanders through the collaborative works of banjo player and erstwhile frontman for The Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia. I have, however, plucked a mandolin, and I once worked very closely with an actual banjo player. It is with these credentials that I authoritatively bring you news of the high altitude jams of San Francisco based, Hot Buttered Rum String Band. Their self-released live album, Chilly Submersion, is a collection of 16 tracks, and is available from their web site, www.hotbutteredrum.net.

The band is comprised of Zach Matthews on mandolin, Erik Yates on woodwinds and accordion, Nat Keefe on guitar, and Bryan Horne on double bass. Paying homage to the bluegrass gods, they open their live release with the traditional, "Cripple Creek," which they funk-up considerably with Horne’s poppin’ bass. "Dovetail Joint," a HBRSB original, follows with its mid-song psychedelic vocal reverie – what lost love and wood joinery have in common I don’t know, but the song, co-written by Keefe is a strong introduction into an album full of original work.

Chilly Submersion showcases a range of styles from the 1950s rock and roll vocal harmonies and onomatopoeia ("shalalalalala") found in "Dolphin," another HBRSB original, to the funky string work of "Sunrise Song," an evocative invitation to the subconscious mind of the listener to rise from its slumber and dance. "Glacial Enchantment," another instrumental on the album, pulls together the various strings to create a many-layered tapestry reminiscent of Michael Hedges’ guitar work, and I mean that in the best possible way.

The lyrical content ranges from a soldier’s dolphin dreams to a band member’s secret recipe for split pea soup. These Bay-Area newgrass rebels probably break every rule known to the genre. I don’t know. I do know that The Hot Buttered Rum String Band breathes new life into a genre typically associated with toofless mountain-dwelling senior citizens, and that’s good… right?

Learn more about the Hot Buttered Rum String Band at www.hotbutteredrum.net.

-Mark Flanagan

Track Listing:

  1. yee haw
  2. Cripple Creek
  3. Dovetail Joint
  4. Look Again
  5. Dolphin
  6. Quittin' Time
  7. Norwegian Wood
  8. Ian's Greens
  9. banter
  10. Glacial Enchantment
  11. Mountain Left To Climb
  12. Sunrise Song
  13. Roll River Roll
  14. Red-Haired Boy
  15. Virginia's Grin
  16. The Crest

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