I have had the privilege to see Dan Whitener, the terrific banjo player with hip-hop bluegrass band Gangstagrass as well as with the newgrass band Man About a Horse, a number of times (only with Gangstagrass) and thoroughly enjoy his style and versatility. I am thrilled to review his new solo album, Crossover.
I saw 224 shows in 2015. Yes, I know, that sounds like an insane number considering I have a day job that is completely unrelated to music. How would I choose my top ten, with another fifteen as runners-up? All the shows except one were at least very good, and I thought that narrowing the list would not be easy.
It turned out not to be difficult at all. The top ten (or eleven as you will read below) were clear to me, as were the runners-up.
Hip-hop bluegrass you’re saying to yourself – how could that be? I said the same when I saw them on Johnny D’s schedule for April 2014. I went to the show not knowing any of their music and walked out of that show knowing I had stumbled onto something amazing.
This, my fourth Gangstagrass show and their final show at Johnny D’s (because it is closing in March 2016), was no less stellar than my first, second or third shows! And truth be told they probably get better because I know their music so well (and consider them to be friends). Prepare yourself to read a biased, glowing review!
If you have been reading this website for a while, you might recall that a year ago I fell in love with the hip-hop bluegrass group Gangstagrass. Our love affair continued over the weekend at Johnny D’s where they appeared in support of their latest release, American Music.
Nobody was more surprised than the band when the album debuted at #5 on the Billboard bluegrass chart! They deserve to be known for more than the theme song for the television show Justified, and maybe now they will be!
Wow, how am I going to choose only ten shows – out of 177 – as my top shows of last year? So many of the shows I attended were terrific so narrowing the list to ten is not easy.
I am in love with Gangstagrass! There, I’ve said it… This writer, who has seen a lot of bluegrass bands but never a hip-hop band, loves the hip-hop bluegrass that is Gangstagrass!