The Bluegrass Situation presents:
THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION: “Southern California’s home for everything bluegrass, folk, and Americana” Think Los Angeles is all about pop stars and surf punks? Think again. The bluegrass and Americana spirit is alive and well in LA, and has been for as long as there have been wooden floors to tap your toes on. From Woody Guthrie’s Golden State ramblings to the Kentucky Colonels on The Andy Griffith Show, from the Newgrass and Laurel Canyon sound of California natives Chris Hillman and Herb Peterson to a new generation of musical prodigies in San Diego’s Nickel Creek and Santa Monica’s Gillian Welch, the bluegrass scene is one of Los Angeles’ finest and longest-hidden treasures. But why keep it a secret? We think some light deserves to shine on this situation, on its history and on the wave of burgeoning musicians, fans, and venues blossoming throughout the southland. That’s why Amy Reitnouer’s BLUEGRASS LA blog and Ed Helms’ annual LA BLUEGRASS SITUATION festival at Largo have joined forces to create THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION, your first resource for fans, musicians and venues all over the country to be in the know for what’s happening in the old-time music scene. Showcasing local artists, venues, and upcoming shows, the site also seeks to demonstrate to the world the amazing talent and local fan base that await them in LA. We’re here because we love the music, we love the community and we love our city. And we think you will too. Discover Los Angeles’ best kept secret: THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION.
Hatched in the twilight months of ought nine, these five young men came from all corners of the US looking to do one thing: knock the dust off roots music. A freewheelin', trashgrassin', folk tornado, the Whiskey Shivers take traditional instrumentation, soak it in gasoline and send it into outer space. Breakneck speeds, killer grooves and impeccable musicianship: it's enough to make Bill Monroe himself do a double-take as he spins in his grave. With upright bass, fiddle, washboard, banjo, guitar, and reasonably priced merchandise, Whiskey Shivers adds a fine layer of grit on top of the hard-driving rhythms of traditional bluegrass. They've been called everything from "trashgrass" to "hardcore roots" to "crazy-assed redneck music" — whatever the words, the meaning is the same: Whiskey Shivers brings the house down.
Wild Child, indie-folk pop band from Austin, Texas, began as an acoustic duo consisting of Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins singing ukulele love songs written and shared over red wine and old photographs. With northern U.S. parks and fields as their backdrop and a tour van as their practice studio, Kelsey and Alexander formed their first ten songs, flawlessly documenting the ups and downs of a less than idealistic yet enchanting romance. Wild Child has evolved since then into a six-piece band, accenting the soulful vocals and folk-influenced instrumentation with lush strings, keys, bells, banjo and percussion. Wild Child began recording their full-length album, “Pillow Talk,” in November 2010 with San Francisco producers Evan Magers and Alex Peterson. In the midst of the recording process, and in anticipation of their SXSW debut, Wild Child added drummer Carey McGraw, cellist Sadie Wolfe, keyboardist Evan Magers, and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Mares to inject their own unique influences and playing styles into the mix. Mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Erik Wofford, Wild Child’s debut album, “Pillow Talk,” features 15 tracks comprised of gorgeous harmonies, tempered rhythms and conflicted lyrics about love and loss. Ranging from the dazed and nostalgic “Silly Things” to the waltzy and wishful “I’ll Figure You Out,” the songs tell a rich tale of inconvenient matters of the heart with an irreverent, playful innocence that wanders in and out of reality and fantasy. From the somber and sweet “Darling Divine” to the rambunctiously infectious “Cocaine Hurricane,” the chemistry between Kelsey and Alexander is palpable and unique—seemingly sweet and young, ironic and honest atop a truly frenzied and unruly underneath.
The Deadly Gentlemen:
The Deadly Gentlemen's members had all led eventful individual musical lives before they joined forces. In addition to touring and recording extensively with Crooked Still, Greg Liszt attended college at Yale and earned a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in Molecular Biology. His
innovative four-finger picking technique helped him to win a place as a member of Bruce Springsteen's live band for Springteen's Seeger Sessions tour.
Mike Barnett began his career as a child fiddle prodigy, touring with bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds at the tender age of 15. He's also studied at Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music and excelled as a jazz violinist, while his world-class talents have won him gigs as a member of the David Grisman Quintet and the Tony Trischka Band.
Bassist Sam Grisman has played professionally since his teens, having learned to play bluegrass and other styles at the feet of his father, seminal mandolinist David Grisman. Sam's uniquely assertive approach to double bass, which combines traditional and modern elements, has been known to inspire audience members to play air standup bass.
Mandolinist Dominick Leslie is another former child prodigy, having achieved a series of career milestones before he'd reached the age of 16. More recently, he's won considerable attention for his live appearances with banjoist Noam Pikelny, the Infamous Stringdusters, and the Grant Gordy Quartet.
In contrast to his bandmates' backgrounds in acoustic music, guitarist Stash (short for Stanislaw) Wyslouch grew up on heavy metal before submerging himself in bluegrass and country. His history in hard rock still manifests itself in his propensity for wringing unexpected sounds out of his guitar and screaming at the top of his vocal range. His resume also includes membership in Eric Robertson and the Boston Boys as well as Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers.