These Gentlemen serve as the creative outlet for Boston-based banjo player Greg Liszt, who is also a member of Crooked Still. His bandmates are drawn from some of the most virtuosic young artists within Boston’s eclectic string music scene. On mandolin is Dominic Leslie, a west coast transplant who came east to attend the Berklee School of Music; Sam Grisman on bass, son of David, another transplanted Californian; Mike Barnett on fiddle, another Berkleean; and Stash Wyslouch on guitar, who came from metal to bluegrass.
As their band name suggests, these five guys have a slightly different approach to bluegrass music, though they perform with the traditional bluegrass ensemble of banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bass. They are among a growing number of experimental groups that employ the instruments and rhythms of a bluegrass band to explore harmonic and lyrical content that Bill Monroe never would have imagined.
When Greg first assembled this bunch, he was experimenting with a hip hop/bluegrass mashup sound, but Deadly Gentlemen has since evolved into a more subtle string band sound. Their approach is not unlike Crooked Still’s, at least in the outside-the-box sense, but all the songs are written by Liszt and arranged by the band. His distinctive banjo style, jumping between emotive solos and highly percussive accompaniment, is at the center of the band’s approach.
Stash is the primary vocalist, and you can hear him and the rest of these morbid gents in the audio samples to the left.
Bored of the Raging is available now in iTunes, and the full Deadly Gentlemen project, Roll Me, Tumble Me, is due July 9 on Rounder.
You can get another peek at their sound in this recent video. It’s a new song of Greg’s, Faded Star, recorded live at the Lizard Lounge in nearby Cambridge, courtesy of Second Cousin Curly. Look for it on the new CD.