Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Music lovers looking for some deft picking and interesting new perspectives on classic bluegrass should take a few minutes to enjoy SouthRail Bluegrass Band, one of the newest additions to the Flowertown artists' roster.
SouthRail Bluegrass Band, a new Lowcountry area bluegrass group, will kick off the Flowertown Festival Saturday with a spirited set of old standards mixed with new ideas – and more.
While the band is fairly new, the members of the band are not, notes Billy Blackburn, who with his father Bill Blackburn, put together the band in late 2012.
“We just started playing together, but we're all veterans,” Blackburn said. “I've been playing around here 20 years, as have the others guys. In fact, my dad's been playing all his life – he was featured on the radio when he was six years old as a child prodigy.”
Bill Blackburn, now 75, has been playing banjo and singing since before he can remember, son Billy notes; Billy himself sings and plays guitar.
The Blackburns, both from Summerville eventually joined up with singer/fiddler Richard Davis and bassist Jeff Goller.
The band approaches music from purist bluegrass stylings – in fact, they describe themselves as a traditional bluegrass string group. However, their set list is much more varied. Basically, if a song sounds good played on bluegrass instruments and played in a bluegrass motif, the band will do it, he said.
“For example, we do the Allman Brothers' 'Rambling Man' as well as a version of 'Sweet Georgia Brown' – most people know it as the theme for the Harlem Globetrotters,” he said. “We approach it from bluegrass, but we're all about music. We just love to play – and we're good at it. In fact, I've never seen a band gel so quickly – this project has really come together in a short amount of time.”
The band's attitude seems to be, “play anytime, anywhere, for any reason and anyone” – in fact, they played at a nursing home in Mt Pleasant recently – but they are especially excited about being in the Flowertown lineup, Blackburn said.
“We're really looking forward to it – we love to play and just want to give the absolute best performance we possibly can,” he said. “It's the biggest gig in Summerville and to be a part of it is really special.”