Not Grass

We went to the Ark last night to see a bluegrass, newgrass, acoustic, oh heck I don’t know what they were. They had a fiddle, a 10 string thing that looked like a baritone uke, an electric upright bass, a banjo and a guitar. Everything was plugged in. Papa said, “The only thing missing was the drum.”

So the band played some music on a stage that is in an acoustically good room, where you hardly need mics. They played it a high volume through mics with plugged in instruments. Each song seemed to go on and on, with no end or beginning. Each time I’d get ready to get up, they would play something that gave me hope. Well, twice they played something that gave me hope, but even the songs that were comfortable didn’t sound right. There was no rhythm, no drive, no reliable beat, it simply didn’t fit my definition of bluegrass. I like and listen to music other than bluegrass, but it is mostly acoustic, or old time, or old country. What we heard was none of those, either.

There is an audience for this music, they were there. The hooted, hollered and yelled. They sang along. And in that audience were Papa and I and a friend of ours who does sound for a number of bluegrass festivals. We are fans of bluegrass, we like the drive, the unplugged instruments, the beat, the harmonies. We didn’t hear any of that. We didn’t even hear the couple of songs from the group that are featured on satellite radio. What we did hear made the newest of the new Cherryholmes music seem “grassy”. Our friend was uncomfortable, and left before we did, saying, “I’ve got a long drive.”

It’s been a long time since we’ve walked out on a show, but we did this one. I finally went to the restroom, put on my coat and met Papa in the hall. There were a few others leaving as we did. I hope those that were there watching Cadillac Sky at the Ark enjoyed it, and heard what they expected. I just wish that this type of music wouldn’t be called bluegrass, since most of the people who like it wouldn’t care for the music, styles and performers normally heard at bluegrass festivals and shows.


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    • on November 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Sandie. I wondered what you might think, now I know.

    • sandie on November 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Dick and I thouroughly agree with you. The show at the Ark was unusual.
    Hardline Drive was great of course, but Cadillac Sky was a disappointment.
    We went to hear bluegrass, not some weird rythmic songs that sent the band in a trance??? Our friends left early too. We waited it out as long as we could, hoping that we would hear something that even minutely sounded like BG. It was a little embarrassing to get up and walk out when you sit in the front row, but opted to leave early too. Dick grumbled all the way out the door.
    Anyway, it was nice to see old friends there.
    Love your Blog!

    • on November 24, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I found the Flatbellys when I was searching around for more friends for Pickin on Cystic Fibrosis on MySpace. I actually have them as friends on my profile, too. We are looking for an opportunity to see them, the Eagles is a possibility.

    Also, the people that run the Michigan bluegrass Network on MySpace wrote a great review of the Cadillac Sky performance. For the record, they did recommend that traditionalists (that’s Papa and I) stay home. I don’t know if you can see the bulletin if you aren’t a member of MySpace and a friend of the Network, but if you can it’s worth a look.

    Overall I’m always in favor of supporting live music. But, I will continue to choose to spend my resources to support artists that produce live music I like.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    • sandie on November 24, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Me again.
    Just wanted to let you know we went to a local bar in Dexter Saturday night and saw a new and upcoming band called the The Flatbellys out of Lansing. As it turns out they were the people in line behind us at the Ark that we struck up a conversation with. (The boy with the dreadlocks). They loved Cadillac Sky, and ended up having them stay with them in Lansing. He said they jammed all night. Anyway, The Flatbellys were great and will be playing at the HV Eagles January 17th. You may know them…they’ve been to several of the festivals this summer. Check their website out. Nice kids.
    Have a great Thanksgiving!!

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