Live at the Newburyport Firehouse

Live at the Newburyport Firehouse

by Dry Branch Fire Squad
     
 
It would be way too simple to call Dry Branch Fire Squad a bluegrass band. They play bluegrass, certainly, but they infuse it with mountain gospel harmonies and an intimate knowledge of Appalachian folk melodies until it would seem to be something else again, a sort of natural extension of the old-time string bands, not slick and showy like most contemporary bluegrass

Overview

It would be way too simple to call Dry Branch Fire Squad a bluegrass band. They play bluegrass, certainly, but they infuse it with mountain gospel harmonies and an intimate knowledge of Appalachian folk melodies until it would seem to be something else again, a sort of natural extension of the old-time string bands, not slick and showy like most contemporary bluegrass, but rustic and creaky and perfectly executed for believability rather than speed. But that's not all. Frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ron Thomason's amazing and hilarious song introductions, which range over all manner of political, social, and cultural themes in his disarming hillbilly accent, make DBFS a kind of cross between a hot string band and Alan Lomax doing standup comedy while an ethnomusicologist does sly commentary on the side. Thomason's fractured monologues are so alluring that the songs they introduce, which are brilliantly played and impeccably selected, seem almost like commercials when they finally appear. Dry Branch Fire Squad simply has to be heard live to be fully appreciated, which is why this two-disc concert set is the perfect place to sample this one of a kind band. Thomason here is wry, subtle, charming, and wickedly funny as he skewers big government, rural perceptions, uptown folk music, and all manner of other targets, while the songs themselves, which include three written by Gillian Welch ("Orphan Child," "Miner's Refrain," "By the Mark"), a Merle Haggard standard ("Lonesome Fugitive"), and a Grayson & Whitter classic ("He's Coming to Us Dead"), are given stellar performances that border on definitive. If Comedy Central and the Smithsonian got together to sponsor a traveling old-time music show, that show would sound something like Dry Branch Fire Squad, a truly unique American band.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2005
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661052727
catalogNumber:
610527
Rank:
189425

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Rollin' on Rubber Wheels
  2. Cas Wallin, World's Greatest Ballad Singer
  3. Orphan Child
  4. Banjo Pickin' vs. Modern Country Music
  5. Roanoke
  6. Massachusets Epithets/War Has Always Been Hell
  7. He's Coming to Us Dead
  8. The Metaphorical and John Duffey
  9. Miner's Refrain
  10. The Carter Family
  11. Fifty Miles of Elbow Room
  12. The Politics of Folk Music
  13. The Orphan Train
  14. Grandma's Stove
  15. Standing by the River

Disc 2

  1. Hot Corn, Cold Corn
  2. The Baptism of Little Roy
  3. By the Mark
  4. Bill Monroe Through the Crack in the Curtains
  5. Shine, Hallelujah, Shine
  6. Mel Bay
  7. Lonesome Fugitive
  8. Hippies, Beatnicks and Power Easements
  9. Jesus on the Mainline
  10. Green Pastures and Equine Dignity
  11. Going Up Home to Live in Green Pastures
  12. Guaranteed Forever
  13. Shenandoah Breakdown

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dry Branch Fire Squad   Primary Artist
Charles Leet   Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Mary Jo Leet   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Ron Thomason   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Hambone,Group Member
Adam McIntosh   Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Group Member
Stan Zdonik   Master of Ceremonies
Dan Russell   Banjo,Bass,Mandolin,Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
Clarence "Sleepy" Anderson   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Ken Irwin   Producer
Carter Stanley   Composer
Ron Thomason   Song Notes
Gillian Welch   Composer
G.B. Grayson   Composer
Henry Whitter   Composer
David Rawlings   Composer
Andy Edelstein   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
David McClister   Inlay Photography
Tracy Aiguier   Cover Photo,Inlay Photography
Nancy Cardwell   Author
Marian Leighton   Liner Notes
Elizabeth Anderson   Composer

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