This is a big month for GrassStreet, a bluegrass band from the piedmont region of North Carolina, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band. To mark the occasion, they have released a new single, their interpretation of the classic song, Columbus Stockade Blues.
Sung by guitarist Wayne Kionton, this number was written and originally recorded in 1927 by Thomas Darby and Jimmie Tarlton about an actual prison in Columbus, GA, which stands still today. It has been covered by a great many artists over the years in bluegrass, country, blues, and jazz. In fact, two differing versions of the song exist today in the bluegrass world, one played in a major key, probably inspired by Bill Monroe’s 1962 cut, and another in a minor key, linked to Doc Watson’s recording from 1974. Darby & Talton’s original version was quite similar to Monroe’s, played and sung slower than we typically hear today, with only guitar, Hawaiian guitar, and voice.
GrassStreet goes the Monroe route, with a clever introduction of their own. The band is completed by Ricky Hargis on banjo, Jeff Aebi on mandolin, Tab Kearns on resonator guitar, and David Kinton on bass. Keep an ear open for a number of quotes during the solos.
This track comes from their next album from Reminiscence Music Group, which features fan favorites from their two decade stretch of live shows.
Have a listen…
Columbus Stockade Blues from GrassStreet is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.