We heard recently from The Parmesans, a new bluegrass outfit in the Bay area of California. Like many young urban bands, their members are interested and involved in a wide variety of musical styles, in this case “ranging from punk to electro pop to metal and beyond” as banjo man Andy Brown puts it.
Brown is joined by Brendan Welch on mandolin and guitar, Skylar Kilborn on bass and guitar, Andrew Byars on guitar and trumpet, and Spencer Acton on bass and guitar.
Since formally assembling earlier this year, The Parmesans have two recordings to their credit, with at least one other planned before 2012 comes to a close. Both Uncle Dad’s Cabin, which aping Spinal Tap has a solid black cover, and Horse Crumbs, which was recorded live this past August, are short form albums with a a total of 8 tracks between them.
As their varied interests suggest, the band’s sound is as much alt-folk/Americana as it is bluegrass, and their songs likewise reflect those sensibilities.
Here’s a video of the boys rendering Brahms Was A Satanist, live at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room.
Purists may place The Parmesans on the outskirts of mainstream bluegrass, but it remains encouraging to me that so many young musicians seeking expression for their muse are turning to banjos and mandolins to bring it out.