This report comes from Casey Henry, a banjo player and writer living in Nashville, TN. She performed the past few years with her brother, Chris, in The Two Stringers, now disbanded.
Bluegrass got the boot last night when Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 got voted off Next Great American Band. The Clark Brothers made it into the top six, though, delivering a standout performance of the Rolling Stones’ Gimmie Shelter.
Everyone seemed disappointed to see Cliff and the band go. The judges had some parting words, all on a positive note. John Rzeznik said that he really appreciated their sense of humor and the chemistry between the band members. Sheila E. deemed them "so real, so genuine," and said "we love you very much." Dicko praised them for "bringing some real variety" to the show and asked what their plans for the future are. Cliff eloquently said that they’ve gotten "new inspiration" from being on the show and have expanded musically from where they were before. They are now able to play more "outside the box."
Cliff said, to the television audience, "Thanks to everyone who voted. We had a great time on the show," and he wished, "good luck to all the other bands." And even the final band to play, Dot Dot Dot, said as they took the stage, "We love you, Cliff Wagner!"
The NGAB site now features Cliff’s Green Room acoustic performance. Hopefully, even though he didn’t win the show, this national exposure will benefit Cliff’s career and help keep his playing schedule full for years to come. Maybe they’ll add their take on Brown Sugar that we didn’t get to hear to their shows‚Ä¶
The Clarks version of Gimmie Shelter was stunning. They started out sparse and low and built up the tension. By the end, according to Dicko, they’d "turned it into a blind panic." Ashley’s singing continued to impress, Austin rocked on a black, flying-V electric dobro, and Adam even got a short mandolin solo. All three judges gave them a standing ovation and Sheila deemed them "the band to beat."
Be sure to tune in next week bands tackle the Rod Stewart catalog. You can watch all the past weeks’ performances on the NGAB site.