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
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
Learn more about the Hot Buttered Rum String Band at www.hotbutteredrum.net.
- yee haw
- Cripple Creek
- Dovetail Joint
- Look Again
- Quittin' Time
- Norwegian Wood
- Ian's Greens
- Glacial Enchantment
- Mountain Left To Climb
- Sunrise Song
- Roll River Roll
- Red-Haired Boy
- Virginia's Grin
- The Crest
in the webboard
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