Stash Band 3 tests the limits of bluegrass

How do you feel about experimental music? Think carefully, because how you answer will go a long way towards determining whether you find this article fascinating, or downright silly.

If the concept of blending influences and merging genres appeals to you, then the work of Stash Wyslouch will pull you in. And if you enjoy heavy metal music in any of its myriad forms, you’ll surely be entranced by what The Stash Band is doing, creating a bluegrass/metal mash up, using acoustic instruments and grassy memes side-by-side with the iconoclasm and occasionally profane symbolism familiar to metalheads.

Bluegrass fans will recognize Stash from his time with The Deadly Gentlemen, a Boston-based group that cut a number of records for Rounder, or from his recent touring with Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters. Neither outfit was particularly extreme in its musicality, leaving us unprepared for Stash music.

Perhaps you need a grounding in the world of metal to understand that the scene, while intentionally shocking, isn’t really meant to be scary – except to the parents of teens who are often drawn towards the music for its ability to upset the blue hairs. Or maybe you just need to have followed Wyslouch’s path, growing up as I did immersed in metal during the angry years of youth, only to discover bluegrass in college, and diving in with the same level of intensity.

It’s also important to understand that, for the most part, the rage demonstrated on stage is part of the show. Stash is a fairly regular guy, trying to earn a living and figure out the world he lives in, like most folks his age. He’s not trying to call forth the devil, or cause Bill Monroe to be tortured in the afterlife, though that sort of allegory could be called to mind by his songs. He just wants to mate his two favorite forms of music, and offer it to fellow art lovers with his own distinct stamp.

So if you still want to go on, have a look at this video, produced to promote the band’s upcoming third album, and see what you think. And yes… the weirdness is intentional.

If you dig what these guys are doing, pre-orders for their next project can be ordered through their Kickstarter page.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.