Crooked Still – What’s in a name?

Crooked Still: Shaken by a Low SoundThis morning I noticed a recent post on the Japanese bluegrass blog, run by mandolin player Kasninoyh (Nino), about Crooked Still’s newest CD Shaken by a Low Sound.

Nino wrote a very thorough review of the disc for his Japanese readers, and made a great observation that this is really urbanized bluegrass played by four very talented, jazz influenced, young musicians from the Northeast. One thing he was unclear on though was the band name. I myself wasn’t sure how they had come up with the name, and neither was John. I emailed Rushad Eggleston, the cello player, and inquired as to how the name had come about.

Rushad tells me that Greg Liszt, the banjo player, came up with the name.

It basically refers mostly to a moonshine still, representative of Appalachian vibes, and its crooked which is kind of about us coming at it from a different angle.

a moonshine stillFor our non-english readers who may not be familiar with the concept of a moonshine still, let me explain. Moonshine is a strong alcoholic beverage made from corn in the rural mountains of the southeastern United States. A “still” is the device they use to distill the corn mash into liquor. The production of moonshine is illegal by the way.

It’s a “crooked still” because the band plays Appalachian/bluegrass music but, as Nino noted, is not a regular bluegrass band. Some people talk about traditional bluegrass by calling it “straight up bluegrass” so the band decided since they weren’t “straight up” they must be “crooked.”

All in all, that’s a pretty cool band name for a progressive bluegrass band.

  • parispal

    Hello from pAris,

    Thanks for the expalnation, Brance. I was wondering!

    Same for “stringduster”! Does it mean that they remove the dust from the strings by playing?

    Herve in pAris

  • 1969mets

    I think Rushad was being modest…the “crooked” is clearly a reference to his delightful insanity. Rushad is a mahor force.

  • Ergobanjo

    One quick note: strictly speaking, the production of moonshine is not illegal. What is illegal–what all the old movies and folk tales were about–is selling moonshine without a license. The revenuers went after ‘shine runners, not because they didn’t want anybody making moonshine, but because they didn’t like losing their share of the profits. My understanding is that in some states it is illegal to make a certain quantity without a license, since higher quantities usually mean the distiller is making it in order to sell. Also, in some places it is illegal to transfer moonshine over county and state lines. Another tidbit of info: moonshine is also made out of potatoes and (I think) wheat. The local favorite moonshine in my area is vodka or potato moonshine. I’ve got a jar of it in my refrigerator!