This is both a review and a rant. The review portion had been declined for publication by my editor at the paper, and I decided it bore some airing-out. It’s been fleshed out a bit from the original article so as to not have my ire focused on just one band.
Unless you have something new and interesting to bring to the table, please don’t start a bluegrass band. Keep it on your porch. As my buddy Rob said the other day, “Why is it that none of these guys can figure out the correct way to play a banjo? Every time I see one of these dreadlocked fucks hammering out power chords it makes my head EXPLODE… Look, buddy: You do NOT play a banjo like an electric guitar.” GCDC, for instance, has an obvious Split Lip Rayfield obsession, as does seemingly every bluegrass band to spring up around these parts. It seems that new thing is to learn how to sing with a twang, write songs about drinking beer, and set it to breakneck speed. Rather than playing electric guitar, however, these bands seem to have hit on using the mandolin and banjo instead.
The difference between GCDC and Split Lip being the fact that GCDC seems to find the need to overplay some of the more “redneck” parts of their existence. Rather than just singing songs in a true and honest fashion, the whole band seems forced. “Gawd Dam”, the opening track to their recent cd, is so over the top white trash that it almost put me off the rest of the cd. Once I got to the rest of the cd, it ended up lacking anyway. It’s not that GCDC lack talent- they’ve got the chops, musically. The fact of the matter is that lyrics are not their strong suit. The lyrics are repetitive and still don’t manage to work themselves into your head. The band shows promise, but the songs would be better suited as instrumentals until they get their lyrics in order.
And for God’s sake, people, slow the fuck down. Try and learn how to pick before you’re blazing along at 120 miles an hour. The expression “you have to learn to walk before you can run” holds pretty true in this situation.