Bluegrass goes Furry on screen

If you have young children at home – or are exposed to much television advertising – you know about Furry Vengeance, a new theatrical film from Summit Entertainment. The premise is a fairly common Hollywood morality play where venal developers bulldoze a forest to build a housing and retail tract, only to be outsmarted and ultimately defeated by the cute, furry critters who have been displaced.

So why are we interested in this movie on Bluegrass Today? Well it turns out that The Goodtime Stringband, a group near Boston, has a role in the film and performs a version of Cotton Eyed Joe onscreen, which is also included in the soundtrack release.

Bass player Andy Sicard gave us a quick recap of their star turn…

“The Goodtime Stringband appears onstage during the film’s climatic Forest Festival scene. After we perform for the Rocky Springs crowd,  Neal Lyman (played by Ken Jeong) addresses the crowd. He is confronted by Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) about the harm his housing development project is doing to the environment and wildlife. So as not to give any more of the movie away, I will just say that mayhem ensues!”

The film was shot in Topsfiled, MA about 25 miles north of Boston last summer, and Nancye Tuttle with The Lowell Sun has a piece up this week that featured interviews with band members about their experience.

“They were 12-hour days, and really humid,” says guitarist Bob Sevigny, who lives in Lowell and is warehouse manager at Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

“At least we weren’t in animal suits, like others in the movie,” quipped Sicard.

Lead vocalist and mandolin player Corrie Jones, dealing with a broken foot, found a large boot and stuffed her foot, cast and all into it.

“Everyone was understanding — even the director, Roger Kumble, who saw me limping out of the shot when we cleared the stage,” said Jones, who grew up in Acton.

For her, the best part came when filming took place.

“Between shots, the costume and make-up girls would come and fix our hair, straighten our clothes, and, the best part, hold fans up to our necks to cool us off,” she said.

Critics are offering mixed reviews of Furry Vengeance, but Sicard’s family gave it many thumbs up.

“I went and saw the film with my kids when it opened on Friday night. They absolutely LOVED it. There are lots of slapstick gags geared towards kids in the film, though the closing credits will tickle the parents.

I’m telling my friends that it’s like ‘Caddyshack meets Deliverance.’ “

You can find out more about the movie at, and visit with The Goodtime Stringband on their web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.