THEY CALL themselves "trashgrass". The Washinton Post calls them "bluegrass-fueled Americana for a generation that grew up listening to punk rock", while BBC Global Beats declared them "one of the best modern bluegrass outfits around”.
They are Whiskey Shivers - Bobby Fitzgerald (vocals/fiddle ), Andrew VanVoorhees (bass/vocals ), Joe Deuce (washboards ), Jeff Hortillosa (vocals/guitar ), James Bookert (banjo ) - the Texan bluegrass/punk quintet who play the Róisín Dubh this Sunday, February 17, at 8pm.
According to Ann Powers of NPR World Café: “They have that spirit of busking, that punk spirit of ‘let’s lay it on the line, let’s play our instruments hard and messy and just have a great time." To quote again from the Washinton Post: "This group of 20 somethings plays banjos, fiddles and washboards at breakneck speeds while singing high, lonesome harmonies about love and video games."
'Whiskey Shivers isn’t just the five of us on stage. It’s everybody in the room. We’re all here to have a good time'
Whiskey Shivers self-produced two albums, Batholith (2011 ) and Rampa Head (2012 ), but it was their self-titled 2014 album, produced by Robert Ellis, which won them wide attention. Since then, they have released the acclaimed Some Part Of Something (2017 ), while last month saw Smothered & Covered, featuring bluegrass/folk/trad versions of songs by Nirvana, Katy Perry, R.E.M., Weezer, and Iron Maiden.
The Galway gig is set to be a raucous one for band and audience. “Whiskey Shivers isn’t just the five of us on stage," says Bobby Fitzgerald. "It’s everybody in the room. We try to bring everybody into the moment and get them to realize there’s no wall between us and the crowd. We’re all here to have a good time. We’ll do our best to facilitate it, but it takes all of us to make it happen. When you start to feel that, you can’t help but feel a little attachment and become invested in the show. You realize, ‘Oh, I’m here to have a good time too!'”