Members: Matt Baldwin, guitar and lead vocals; Chad Flaharty, banjo and vocals; Menden Kissling, upright bass and vocals
Who we talked to: Flaharty
How did you guys get together? I met the guitar player actually through MySpace. He was looking for a banjo player and I was looking for a guitar player who sings. It turns out we live five minutes from each other and never even met. I met (the bass player) at a bluegrass jam they hold down in Craley every Thursday night. It's just the three of us for right now. The bass player lives 10 minutes from me, so it worked out well. We don't have to travel for practices or anything like that.
Where did the name come from? Bluegrass music kind of died out in the '90s and it's just starting to come back now. We think there's kind of a lost generation there of a lot of younger people who missed out on it. I was taught (banjo) by a guy, John Farmer (of the Del McCoury Band) from Red Lion, who was taught by Earl Scruggs. (Scruggs) is a god of banjo. I never came out of the woodwork. I just kind of played around the house . . . until now. They also say I'm the lost generation.
Did you listen to a lot of bluegrass growing up? No, actually not. My father and family (were) into bluegrass and as a kid, I hated it. I always wanted to play rock 'n' roll. A buddy of mine took me to my first bluegrass festival and that's just when I fell in love with . . . the musicianship. I categorized it as speed metal on acoustic instruments. They play so fast and so hard, and they don't get as much credit as they deserve. I was 20 years old. I had played guitar since I was in third grade, and I got bored with it. Then, I went to that festival . . . and I tried banjo, and I just seemed to pick that right up. I've been playing that for 12 years now.
When you were into rock, what bands did you like? (I was into) classic rock and southern rock and some modern rock. I've been in a bunch of different bands around the area. I've done a couple acoustic things all on guitar. I'm a big Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin head myself. We mix a lot of classic rock in with what we're doing right now, we just do it bluegrass style and it seems to go over really well.
Do you play originals? We're still working on originals. We've actually been together I'd say about three or four months right now. We've probably got about 10 originals, but (we play) mostly traditional bluegrass right now.
I heard you guys had some big news recently. We got accepted into one of the major music festivals on the East Coast. It's in New Jersey. It's called Camp Jam. They usually only book signed bands and stuff like that. The singer (Baldwin) sent them a two-song demo of what we had and they loved it and booked us right away. That might be our chance right there. We're supposed to get some radio play out of it. We get to be backstage and get to meet all these other artists. There's supposed to be some artist scouts there . . . so we have our fingers crossed.
Do you guys play out a lot? We've been doing a couple benefit shows. We're trying to feel out the area. We're planning on doing festivals and parties and outside stuff like that (during the summer). I'm already starting to get calls and offers (to book shows for the fall and winter). There seems to be a lot of interest. There's really not any other bluegrass bands around. It's going to help us. (Laughs)
What is coming up for you in the future? We're in the studio right now. Our plan is to shop (our record) around Nashville. Nashville is our goal, so hopefully in the next year or two we'll be relocating down there. We're serious about it.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF