Everything that Hank, Pattie & The Current do is decidedly and intentionally modern. Though they follow the model of the bluegrass ensemble, as far as the instrumentation is concerned, their music is seasoned for a more contemporary, urban taste with rough edges smoothed and backwoods accents removed.
They are a North Carolina band, based in Raleigh, with a mission to bring the sound of the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar to audiences unaccustomed to bluegrass. That element remains in everything they play, but with perhaps a dash of Latin rhythm for zest, or a bit of a jazz kick for spice. But through it all, it’s always clear that they know their grass.
Hank is Hank Smith, a banjo player who has carefully studied the music of Béla Fleck, so much so that he once fronted a Flecktones tribute band. And his co-bandleader, Pattie, is Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw, a conservatory-trained violinist and vocalist, with a knack for the fiddle as well. They have assembled a group including Billie Feather on guitar, Robert Thornhill on mandolin, and Jonah Freedman on bass.
To help promote their upcoming release, Rise Above, Hank and Pattie have offered to share this track premiere for our readers, the opening track titled Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way. As is their way, the song takes a familiar trope from the world of traditional string music, and applies a little twist.
“Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way sits in the familiar bluegrass subgenre of the murder ballad, only here it flips the perspective to the woman’s point of view. Tired of the way her man treats her, the protagonist decides that today is the day she gets her revenge. The driving rhythm evokes a call to action and hearkens back to a modal old-time musical theme with a modern twist.”
Rise Above is set for a June 28 release, with pre-orders enabled now on the band web site.