A funky, alternative bluegrass
“An absurd interpretation of bluegrass; a bluegrass-tronica involving disco party experience.”
Nothing better describes the fast-paced, progressive bluegrass party that is Riverbend, as told by banjo-player and singer Keith Summers. The band includes members from four different areas of the U.S.: Keith – New Jersey, Kyle – Georgia, Barrett – South Carolina and Nate-Wisconsin.
These different backgrounds all came together in Boulder two years ago. Although the band has always played bluegrass, it happened somewhat by chance.
“That’s the cool thing about the band, everyone has their own style,” said Keith Summers. “[Barret] Summers writes fast-driving bluegrassy songs while most of the stuff I write to make ska or island-sounding songs; we have a pretty diverse songwriting.”
This lack of bluegrass background resulted in the band’s unique sound which they coin ‘New-Grass.’
“We like to call it ‘New-Grass’ because it’s not really traditional bluegrass but we’re still playing the same instruments – banjo, guitar, mandolin and the electric bass,” said K. Summers. “We plug in as well, rather than playing around a microphone [and because of this] I’ve experimented with a lot of effects pedals to create different sounds.”
Riverbend is best known for their live-shows. Combining typical bluegrass elements with the band’s own style creates a fast-paced, energy-driven experience for audiences to get on their feet and move around. The band also tries to make the audience part of the show by asking the crowd to do train-whistles and other sounds to contribute to the music.
“People don’t come to see us play cause we are awesome musicians, we try to write songs that are really funny and to entertain people,” said K. Summers. “When people leave, they’ll have had a good time and won’t be thinking about school or work.”
Riverbend performs regularly around Boulder at venues like Conor O’Neils and the Lazy Dog. On Friday, Dec. 14, they are the opening act for the Mark Vann Benefit at the Boulder Theater, a benefit show originated by Leftover Salmon bassist, Mark Vann.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Devon Taylor at email@example.com.
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