Hot Buttered Rum plays bluegrass that is both traditional and instilled with mountains of personality. In our festival preview of All Good 2011 we mentioned how this set would help link the HBR we know and love to the band that is evolving before our eyes.
What I saw shifted effortlessly between newgrass, rock, funk, folk, and traditional roots. Their newer music sounds like a bluegrass/world folk mashup, self-possessed and pragmatic, but with polished multi-instrumentalism. There is a lot of soul in HBR, it’s what makes them stand out from other bluegrass outfits. It comes through with inflections from other genres – like funk and rock n’ roll – and by the band’s ability to create a poppy yet heartfelt atmosphere for the music to pass through on its way to the audience. There were droning violins, multilingual lyricism, and washboard fun. In between mentions of moonshine and drinking wine in the afternoon, HBR was perfectly placed at the cusp of the festival, starting the party right with warm vibes and bluegrass that was as poppy and new as it was traditional.
journalism by M E G A L O M A N D E E