Bluegrass for Dummies
November 13, 2011 1:22 PM   Subscribe

I am not a habitual listener of bluegrass. However, I really, really like The Devil Makes Three. Can you recommend additional bands or artists I might like?

If it helps, part of what I like about The Devil Makes Three is the relatively dark nature of the lyrics. However, I don't know if that's standard for the genre so I'm not sure if that is useful. Other than that, my only real exposure to bluegrass and similar music has been through the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, a FPP about the Cleverlys, and Hayseed Dixie. (All enjoyable, mind.)
posted by daikaisho to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
The Haunted Windchimes may be of interest.
posted by sacrifix at 1:25 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Old Crow Medicine Show
posted by Lorin at 1:30 PM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

The Builders And The Butchers
posted by St. Sorryass at 2:45 PM on November 13, 2011

I find Tastekid helpful for questions like these. They suggest the following: Larry And His FlaskLost In The Trees, Trampled By Turtles, Sarah Jarosz, Mischief Brew, Todd Snider, The World/inferno Friendship Society, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Deer Tick, Dwarves, Jason Webley, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Ryan Bingham, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucero, and Alela Diane.
posted by jwhite1979 at 3:14 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Two to offer you, which go in different directions from your starting point and are not mentioned above:

The Gourds - poke around the various things available there or at, as they have a wide variety of styles blending in their music.

Mumford & Sons
posted by batmonkey at 3:29 PM on November 13, 2011

Crooked Still is by far the best young up and coming bluegrass band in my opinion.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:37 PM on November 13, 2011

While I'm not familiar with The Devil Makes Three (listening to them now!) it sounds like you might be interested in what's known as "progressive bluegrass". I made a post on progressive bluegrass on the blue that might be a good starting point for your musical explorations, featured Trampled By Turtles, Crooked Still, and Railroad Earth. (There's also a somewhat-related post about live music that features The Punch Brothers and Crooked Still). I hope they help!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:32 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might want to check out Pete Bernhardts solo stuff. And Loch Lomond too maybe.

The Devil Makes Three aren't really bluegrass, their style is a mix of traditional older styles, one of which is bluegrass, but you might do better searching for music under another term.
posted by fshgrl at 4:57 PM on November 13, 2011

You must try Railroad Earth.

They're filed under "newgrass" which I kind of feel like you would love.

Check this out.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 5:16 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, if the clip on their website is any indication, I wouldn't call these guys bluegrass either. I'm wondering if alt-country might be more your speed. Maybe try Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets, or the Blood Oranges? If you're specifically looking for acoustic acts, the Old Crow Medicine Show seems like the right place to start — or maybe the Be Good Tanyas, who have a lighter sound, but their lyrics are nice and bleak.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:48 PM on November 13, 2011

Trailer Bride broke up, but they have several albums out, and they're pretty cool. They were on Bloodshot, a great country-punk label out of Chicago that launched Ryan Adams and Neko Case, among others. You might also like the Sadies, also on Bloodshot. I like 16 Horsepower a lot, but they are significantly dirge-ier than Devil Makes 3--I don't know if that meets your specs.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 5:54 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not exactly bluegrass, but for dark murder ballads and a rootsy feel, check out Pine Hill Haints.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:09 PM on November 13, 2011

The .357 String Band
Good bluegrass, dark subjects, kinda crusty (as in punk, not geezer)
Down on a Bender
Black River Blues
Glory, Amen
Long Put Down that Gospel

Formerly a member of .357, Jayke Orvis and his Broken Band fits the bill.
Beating My Head
Shady Grove

Dreadful Sinner

Yankee Taste

Rachel Brooke may work for you
The Barnyard
She does some damn fine collaborations.
With Lonesome Wyatt
Crippled Farms . . . um, bluegrass you said?
with Jayke Orvis and Friends
Hold Me Tight

Definitely love Sixteen Horsepower, I would have linked to Black Soul Choir, but I am not sure how well it fits.
posted by Seamus at 11:04 PM on November 13, 2011

You might like North Carolina's Humble Tripe. Their style is a bit different than some of these bluegrass bands, but he's got some amazing lyrics and a great sound that some call "new South" - kind of folk/bluegrass/indie/Dylan. Their album is awesome.
posted by barnone at 9:38 AM on November 14, 2011

You might like Luther Wright and the Wrongs - they're a Canadian alt-country band. They did a bluegrass cover album of Pink Floyd's The Wall and it's really well done, beyond the novelty of it - the bluegrass taps nicely into the darkness of the music and lyrics.
posted by flex at 6:16 PM on November 14, 2011

Response by poster: Wow... this has been a lot of fun and extremely useful - not only in actually clarifying what I was looking for (apparently I was clueless in the correct genre classification as well) but in finding new bands to listen to. I've started going through the links and I've pretty much loved everything I've heard so far, and it's probable that I'll be liking the rest too. This is the reason that there is no "best answer." I'd have to mark every comment at this rate, which would be silly.

Thank you all!
posted by daikaisho at 6:52 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Check out The Civil Wars and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Enjoy!
posted by SuperErin at 10:24 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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