And that would be all right with the Flesh Mountain Boys, for they're about having fun, loving the music and not fitting into someone else's box of what bluegrass should be. While many bluegrass acts are traditional as they come, tie-wearing teetotalers, Flesh Mountain Boys bass player Nate Griffith describes their flavor as "quarter to two," referring to that time of the night when bartenders yell out "last call," and there's a general sense of riotous possibility.
The members of the Flesh Mountain Boys are united in their South Side heritage (three went to high school together) and not being born into bluegrass. They came to it from rock 'n' roll or jazz, appreciating the "naturalness," as lead singer and mandolin player Jarron Lippin says, and the ensemble vocals. They're not looking to get signed, or to break into a new market, or to quit their day jobs. But they religiously rehearse every week, tightening the vocals and honing their sound.
When it's suggested their performance at Bogart's April 20 had a "Basement Tapes" feel loose, eclectic and spirited banjo player Derek Moorman breaks into a wide smile. "Dylan and The Band, together, in the basement that's the best thing that ever happened." And that's the Flesh Mountain Boys in a nutshell. While these brewgrass upstarts don't take themselves or bluegrass too seriously, they are deadly serious, even reverent, about the music they love, and it shows. Andy Garrigue
Flesh Mountain Boys play Bogart's Back Room June 16.More Music Issue...
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