Basic Folk podcast, eps. 262 – Barnstar!

Barnstar!, Boston’s premiere kinda bluegrass and definitely bombastic band, has released their new album Furious Kindness and we’re #blessed to welcome Mark Erelli and Zachariah Hickman to the pod.

Originally a fun side hustle and bluegrass vehicle for Zack, the group, which also includes Charlie Rose and Taylor and Jake Armerding, started very casually, performing at the legendary local Cantab Lounge. Zack accurately likens the vibe of the place to a basement Star Wars Cantina full of bluegrass bands.

In between their main gigs with performers like Josh Ritter and Lori McKenna and solo careers, Barnstar! has cultivated an explosive live performance experience filled with energy and emotional expression; concert attendees often leave concerts cheering AND crying. Included in their repertoire are some very fine music covers, including many that you’d never expect to see on a “kind of bluegrass band” album, like tracks from The Hold Steady, Patty Griffin, Elliott Smith and Elizabeth & The Catapult.

We talk about what it’s like to bring a cover song to the band to learn as well as co-writing with friends like Dinty Child and Chuck Prophet. And, w’e’d be remiss if we did not address the alien-like quality of Mark Erelli’s singing voice and learn that it is because of his bestie Zack and Barnstar! that he can sing like this. Now Erelli finds himself performing vocal warm-ups before hitting the stage with the guys. Not something he ever thought he’d do. All members of Barnstar! contribute and sing to the new album Furious Kindness, an album that just wants to shout in your face about how awesome you really are.


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