This week I trekked to Music City for business. Luckily for me, I was there on a Tuesday night. While Tuesday isn’t typically thought of as a hot music night, quite the scene has emerged on this bland, early-week night. The Mashville Brigade has been jamming on Tuesday nights at the legendary Station Inn for quite some time now. Mixing pickers and players from various well-known Bluegrass acts such as Mountain Heart, The Grascals and even Rhonda Vincent’s band, The Rage.
Tuesday night’s temperatures were absolutely frigid and even, for a while at least, snow was expected, so the turn-out wasn’t quite as large as it typically has been, according to others in the club. By the time the band took the stage however, the crowd made up for it’s lack of size with attentiveness and vocal appreciation for each of the band’s tunes. Each of the members of the Brigade were younger than many of the established icons of the genre. Given the relatively young ages, it was refreshing to hear straight-up old school sounds, and not a manipulation of the style that many are calling “Newgrass” (which is fine, but it’s tough to beat the real thing).
The band worked efficiently through many original numbers. Led by both Darrell Webb on mandolin and Josh Williams on acoustic guitar (IBMA Guitarist of the year 2008, by the way), the band switched between numbers that featured Webb’s more traditional high-lonesome sound on lead vocals and then Williams showcased his Lauderdale-esque howl on lead every other song (or close enough). The playlist drew heavily from the groups only studio release, Bluegrass Smash Hits, Volume 1. I especially enjoyed the performance of “Little Maggie” from that disc. As it tends to be with Bluegrass, though, the highlight of the night was the excellent musicianship on display. All solos – fiddle, banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar – were executed to their tightest perfection and again, the crowd showed it’s gratitude every time a player came out of a solo, ever victoriously, regardless of how many folks were there to see this fantastic display of mid-week roots-music mastery.
About the author: I likes me some wine, women and waffles, not always in that order (but usually). Chaucer is cool, but fart jokes are even better. You feel like spikin' your country with a little soul or mix in a little rock without the roll? Lemme hear from ya!!