GET READY for a barn stormin’, hell raisin’, high falutin’ hoe down when Hayseed Dixie bring their adrenaline fuelled bluegrass take on classic rock to Strange Brew in the Róisín Dubh.
Hayseed Dixie - John ‘Barley Scotch’ Wheeler (vocals/guitar/fiddle ), Rev Don Wayne Reno (banjo/vocals ), Deacon Dale Reno (mandolin/guitar/vocals ), and Jake ‘Bakesnake’ Byers (bass/vocals ) - play Strange Brew on Thursday February 18 at 8pm.
Hayseed Dixie take the songs of their favourite band AC/DC (as well as songs by Queen, Kiss, Motörhead, Franz Ferdinand, etc, ) and re-do them as pure, down home, high hollerin’ bluegrass. What’s more - it works, because they are phenomenal musicians with a deep love for and understanding of American trad, folk, and bluegrass.
The band’s leader and spokesman John Wheeler explained why when I interviewed him in 2004: “There are four things that make any decent folk song - drinkin’, shootin’, cheatin’, and killin’. People say what about love? Well that’s the cheatin’ part and then there’s the love of drink. There’s a very long tradition in folk/Celtic music murder ballads and looking at the darker side of life.
“My dad loved hillbilly and outlaw country like Merle Haggard, but when I first heard AC/DC’s Highway To Hell it didn’t sound that different in terms of the melodies and chord structures. I was just learning to play guitar and was playing bluegrass and AC/DC and the songs were about the same things.
“It’s that same ‘Yeah I’m a blue-collar no good but I have a right to raise hell Bon Scott style on a Friday night.’ It never seemed weird to us play rock’n’roll and bluegrass. The only difference is the dirty guitar and drums in rock.”
Hayseed Dixie’s bluegrass versions of ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ and ‘Ace Of Spades’ make these slices of classic rock sound as if they were actually written by 19th century American folk musicians and not late 20th century Australians and Englishmen. It’s music the heavy metaller or the bluegrass fanatic will not fail to enjoy.
Tickets are available from the Róisín Dubh and Zhivago.