When you hear dueling banjos, run!
February 27, 2012 5:18 AM   Subscribe

I need help finding uptempo contemporary/progressive bluegrass tracks for my running playlist.

I have, until now, been using Pandora to keep me supplied with bluegrass tunes for my runs. But the release of Zombies, Run! by MetaFilter's own Adrian Hon has put me in the position of needing to assemble a playlist of owned music.

This blistering track by Trampled by Turtles may be what steered me back toward bluegrass after a 20-year hiatus, and it is one of my favorite tunes to run to. I am looking for other tracks by contemporary bluegrass artists that recall the furious, fast-picking bluegrass classics of yore--the Foggy Mountain Breakdowns and Flint Hill Specials of the new millennium. Trampled by Turtles seems to have a ton of these kinds of songs (e.g., "Truck" or "It's a War"), but I'm having a hard time finding other artists in the same vein that have a lot of fast songs.

To help narrow down what I'm looking for, there are certain edge cases of bluegrass (and/or old-time music, for those of you who draw a distinction between bluegrass and pre-Bill Monroe string band/mountain music artists) that are not what I'm looking for. For example, I've discovered I don't much care for the jazz-infused style of Bela Fleck or The String Cheese Incident. And what I've heard of Nickel Creek so far strikes me as more indie rock with mandolin rather than what I'd describe as "bluegrass." However, I do like Old Crow Medicine Show (but most of their songs are a little pokey and rambly), and The Clumsy Lovers have a number of good rolicking uptempo songs that would fit the bill ("Better Me" for example) even though both bands are probably also edge cases on a different edge of bluegrass.

But more so than names of artists I might like, I'm looking for the names of specific tracks that fit the mood/tempo I need for this particular purpose.
posted by drlith to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: All of these are on Spotify- sorry for no links, I'm at work.

The Meat Purveyors- TMP Smackdown
The Meat Purveyors- Sunshine
The Meat Purveyors- Little White Pills (maybe slightly too rock)
Cherryholmes- The Harder I Fall
Cherryholmes- Tattoo of a Smudge (instrumental)
Spring Creek- Under the Gun (instrumental)
Spring Creek-Try and Catch the Wind
posted by kimdog at 6:36 AM on February 27, 2012

Allison Krauss & Union Station Unionhouse Branch.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:46 AM on February 27, 2012

Choctaw Hayride is probably my favorite Alison Krauss uptempo number.
posted by vasi at 6:49 AM on February 27, 2012

Jerry Douglas. In particular anything from Skip, Hop & Wobble (give it a sec to get going).
posted by The Bellman at 7:11 AM on February 27, 2012

Best answer: I assume that if you listened,a nd liked, one tune by TBT you have at least previewed their other stuff? (they where just on Prairie Home Companion last weekend). Had them in the studio for a local project several years ago before they hit the big time and it always amuses me to see them referenced.

Might want to check out Ross Nickerson and The Fast Brothers
posted by edgeways at 7:12 AM on February 27, 2012

Railroad Earth - Little Rabbit
Railroad Earth - Waterfountain Quicksand
Railroad Earth - Drag Him Down
Railroad Earth - Head (Let this one build. It'll take you on a ride)

Carbon Leaf - Mary Mac

Caution: These may be too "jazz influenced".
posted by euphorb at 8:09 AM on February 27, 2012

Best answer: You want some Hackensaw Boys!

Tracks that are awesome and upbeat: (sorry no links, I'm at work on lunch)
"Dance Around"
"Gospel Plow"
"Blue Run"
"Mecklenburg County"
"We Are Many"
"Look Out Dog, Slow that Train"
Possibly "Keep me Lord"
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 8:12 AM on February 27, 2012

The Cleverlys are a group of guys who pretend to be related and are in a silly yet talented bluegrass band. They do covers of pop songs, which might be up your alley. I recommend Walk Like an Egyptian:

Walk Like an Egyptian
I Gotta Feeling
Single Ladies
posted by zoetrope at 9:05 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

As mentioned, TBT was on Prairie Home this past weekend. They just put up a link to the show today. It's here. (I actually opened that tab just an hour ago and let it to listen to later.)

Yesterday I was listening to this playlist on Daytrotter. It's bluegrass-ish.

ALSO! You might like some of the jams The Avett Brothers are putting down. It's not full on bluegrass, but it might be up your alley. 'January Wedding' is downbeat, like quite a few Avett songs, but the end really builds and picks up.

Other bands you might dig:

Chatham County Line
Spirit Family Reunion
Hoots & Hellmouth (they're older offerings are more what you're looking for)
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Yonder Mountain String Band
The Beaten Sea (though they're a little more indie than strait up bluegrass)
Matthew & The Atlas (now defunct; also a little less bluegrass but still in the same vein)

In all honesty, if you've already discovered Trampled By Turtles and devoured their catalog, you've probably found the best new music of this kind being made.
posted by youandiandaflame at 10:35 AM on February 27, 2012

I love a lot of bluegrass, but I confess to being a bit ignorant of "this sub-genre vs. that sub-genre" (I am similarly ignorant when it comes to slicing and dicing the different metal and hardcore genres, to the chagrin of my lovely 19 year old son). Lately, I've been liking The Grascals for up-tempo bluegrass. I hope no one makes fun of me.
posted by ersatzkat at 1:16 PM on February 27, 2012

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