Round 4 success for Bluegrassers on NGAB

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.

Next Great American BandThey made it! Both Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 and The Clark Brothers got enough votes to keep them on Next Great American Band for another week. Friday’s show was only an hour long, so the eight remaining bands each played one song from the catalog of Billy Joel.

Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 chose You May Be Right from "the old Kentucky fox hunter Billy Joel" and gave it a laid-back country shuffle treatment, with Cliff trading the banjo for a guitar. Two judges loved in, but Dicko, reliably cantankerous, deemed it a "soporific, sleepy" arrangement.

The Clark Brothers played seventh (a little nail-biting going on by that time) and did a slow beautiful rendition of She’s Got A Way, with Ashley on fiddle, Adam on guitar, and Austin, as usual, on dobro. All three judges proclaimed their song the best of the night.

Now the stiff competition begins as all the bands left are quite good, have excellent musicianship and vocals, and are improving all the time. Next week bands tackle the songs of early rock & roll writing team Lieber and Stoller. Be sure to tune in Friday the 16th and phone in those votes!

You can watch previous weeks’ performances on the NGAB site.

  • Steephu

    I like these two Americana bands. I hesitate to call them bluegrass because the Cliff Wagner has a drum set and the Clark Brothers don’t have a banjo. The only criticism I would add is that the mandolin players in these bands don’t seem to do much picking other than power-strumming. Maybe they feel like they need to sound more like rock bands to compete here.

  • I keep saying it over and over every week on my show- EVERYBODY IS GETTING INTO OR WANTS TO BE IN BLUEGRASS!

    EVERYBODY!!

    Whether authentic, traditional or not – lets vote for them!
    It will only help the genre – and believe me the “protectors” of True Bluegrass – will always be there!