Strange encounters and surprising sounds: Spencer Griffith on World of Bluegrass, Night One | Music | Indy Week
Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Strange encounters and surprising sounds: Spencer Griffith on World of Bluegrass, Night One

Folks from Alberta, outlaw roots from Nashville

Posted by on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Arriving yesterday in the early evening at the Raleigh Convention Center’s registration area for World of Bluegrass 2013, I first met a pair of young guys from Alberta. “We decided to come down on a whim,” one told me. I tried to imagine flying across the continent on an impulse to see bluegrass in Raleigh. I couldn't, but I didn't need to: I simply needed to walk down the street, to the Long View Center.

Indeed, I was anxious to hear something—anything—as soon as possible. Kristy Cox & Calder Highway were just beginning their set. Cox’s vocals and the complementary male harmonies rang crystal-clear throughout the sanctuary. It was only during the breaks between the group’s carefully arranged songs that you could tell Cox hailed from Australia, based mostly on the way she pronounced Raleigh in an accent that had been previously undetectable. With Cox and Irish folkies the Niall Toner Band sandwiching Raleigh’s The Gravy Boys and Virginia’s The Honey Dewdrops on the first portion of the Long View bill, I quickly learned that the festival is just as international as the association's name bills itself to be.

Based on the IBMA-related anecdotes I’d heard over the years, I expected mostly hard-line traditionalists and a sizable contemporary contingent to descend on Raleigh this week—that is, bluegrass “purists” in two different forms. I didn’t expect, then, that the best performance of my first night would belong to a Nashville-based group that wouldn’t be claimed by either camp. Disposing almost entirely of bluegrass conventions, Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys defied both the frontman’s surname and the name of his backing band, though they were damn good at whatever you call their brand of outlaw roots music. Folk’s high-lonesome voice haunted his dark, richly detailed tales, totally dosed with black humor.

“This one’s about heroin addiction,” he said, introducing an unreleased tune. “Raise your hands… anyone?” After that dead-pan delivery, I knew I’d be better off leaving my assumptions at home this week.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Thanks so much for giving me a platform to share this video far and wide. I appreciate everything the IndyWeek …

by Louis Landry on Video Premiere: Louis Landry's "I Know a Guy" Updates the Bible (Music)

It was an editing error. It has been fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

by David Klein on Corrosion of Conformity, Superchunk Top the State Fair's Concerts This Year (Music)

Why does this piece call Maceo Parker a master funk bass man when he plays saxophone?

by sonikrock on Corrosion of Conformity, Superchunk Top the State Fair's Concerts This Year (Music)

Last paragraph is just more proof there is a double standard when it comes to justice.

by aburtch on Live: Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa Puff Puff Pass in Raleigh (Music)

Comments

Thanks so much for giving me a platform to share this video far and wide. I appreciate everything the IndyWeek …

by Louis Landry on Video Premiere: Louis Landry's "I Know a Guy" Updates the Bible (Music)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation