Clap your hands, Stomp your feet!

24 05 2011

I’ve started listening to a lot of blue grass.  I made a station on Pandora using Nickel Creek and Alison Krause, and the new music I’ve heard is pretty fantastic.  So much harmony, feeling, and rocking instruments.  I do love me some fiddle; now I love the stand-up bass almost as much.

But as much as I’ve come to appreciate this genre, the recorded music is nothing compared to seeing it up close and personal.  I’m usually more in favor of live music versus the studio version-who isn’t?-but I have officially been blown away by the difference it can make.  At least for one band: the Blackberry Bushes Stringband.  This 4-sometimes 5-piece band from Olympia, Washington, played in Winthrop last Saturday and we went to see them.  Well, actually, we heard there would be live music at the Little Schoolhouse Brewery, and happened to be privileged to find this band on stage.

These kids rocked the house.  The two girls sang wonderfully, and one of them also clogged!  She about stomped a hole through the floor!  The other girl also played banjo, and man, her fingers could pick.  The dude on the fiddle literally tore up his bow from ripping it across the strings.  Then there was the stand-up bass (I can’t bring myself to call it a cello when blue grass comes out of it…) and a mandolin.  And when they came together, the angels were singing!

Being almost Memorial Day Weekend, the tourists are starting to flow into the valley.  Its like they blow in on the warm spring winds.  So locals + tourists + good music = a packed house.  At one point, a group showed up in formal attire.  Rehearsal dinner party?  Funeral? Who knows.  But by that time the whole building was swaying.  The Blackberry Bushes were giving it their all, and the crowd reciprocated.  It was a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, finger-snapping, free-twirling kind of party.

I think that’s what I like best about this band – maybe the whole blue grass genre: the rowdier, the better.  They seemed to feed off it.  The louder the crowd was, the more they played.  They just laughed right along.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to jump and stomp along with a raging fiddle and banjo when there are bodies packed around you like sardines, but here’s the truth of it: you have no choice.  You move as the crowd wants you to, because you are lifted along with them.  But its a glorious thing, to feel the music like that; for the music to be a full-body experience.  By the time we left, I was giddy with it.

The part that was disappointing was that I couldn’t toss the whole band in the car and take them home with me.  Yes, I’ve been listening to their music at home, but its not the same.  Still good, but without the living, breathing, in-your-face aspect their live performance had.  I can’t feel the music when its simply floating out of my speakers. It can’t rock my whole body in the same way.

So Blackberry Bushes, if you ever want to come live with me, to be my personal in-house band, feel free.  I’m sure we’ll have a rowdy good time together.  Do yall like cookies?  I’m baking….   😀




2 responses

30 05 2011

The music seems so much fun from your description! Will try to listen to blue grass soon 😀

31 05 2011

Thank you! If you can catch it live, its a very memorable experience. Happy listening!

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