Wood Box Heroes, a new bluegrass group made up of some major bluegrass heavy hitters, debuts today with their very first single.
The band is based around the songs and singing of guitarist Josh Martin, supported by Seth Taylor on mandolin, Matt Menefee on banjo, Jenee Fleenor on fiddle, and Barry Bales on bass. Martin’s songs are definitely bluegrass, but with a fresh sound that sets them apart from the contemporary standard.
We caught up with Barry Bales a few days ago, and he shared a bit about how this group came together.
“Josh Martin is the ramrod behind all this. We were all recording with him remotely last year. Jenee recommended me, and he sent me tracks to play on. Then he contacted me and said he had a run of dates up in Michigan, and asked if I would play them with him. I knew Jenee was going, so I figured it would be cool.
We had a great tour, and laughed all the time. We were loading up getting ready to go home, and everyone was standing around kind of sheepishly when Josh asked if I might be interested in doing some more.”
Barry’s enthusiastic yes led to some in-person recording last year.
“We’ve cut five tracks, and are getting ready cut five more, at Sound Emporium with Brandon Bell engineering. We’re doing this on spec, and will be thinking about labels once we get finished.”
He agreed that the songs Josh writes have a unique spark that makes them stand out.
“He’s a bluegrass guy for sure, from eastern Kentucky, but he’s also a very smart guy, and his songs are just different enough to spark some interest. I’m really happy with the sound. It’s not far out there, but it is different.”
The first release from Wood Box Heroes, Made Up My Mind, hits today, February 3. It’s a clever song about coming to grips with the realities of life, and setting your sights on better times. Josh’s evocative singing perfectly suits the story, and the skill of the various players gives it an ideal underpinning.
Have a listen..
Asked about touring, Bales tells us that they do intend to be out on the road.
“We’re kind of feeling our way through all that. We plan on playing. We have some dates on the books, just getting everybody’s schedules together.”
What a treat to hear some new bluegrass with its own distinct feel!
Made Up My Mind is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the track via AirPlay Direct.