We were back at the Baggott Inn last night for another edition of the Sheriff Sessions, featuring a band from Austin, Shotgun Party, that includes fiddler Katy Rose Cox who was a highlight of the Brooklyn pickin’ scene before moving to Texas a few years ago.
Their music lives in an area somewhere between honky-tonk or the classic blues of folks like Memphis Minnie, and modern alternative music. The instrumentation is completely traditional — fiddle, bass and a gorgeous old archtop acoustic — but the songs (all originals) go places you don’t expect. Katy plays wicked fiddle, sometimes like horn lines, sometimes like keyboards, sometimes very dissonant, and Christopher Crepps on bass was right there with all the weird changes and unexpected turns, playing masterfully in the classic style. And Jenny Parrott is one of the quirkiest and most engaging singers I’ve seen in a bluegrass setting in some time, and a great songwriter. Her voice ranges from little-girlish to gutbucket blues, sometimes in a single line, and a stage presence that’s hard to describe and harder to capture on camera in very low lighting. (I was using a 50mm/1.4 without autofocus, not that I’d use it anyway since the focusing light is very distracting, and with the lens opened all the way up so the depth-of-field was very narrow; as a result I have many great out-of-focus shots.) Check the link above; they’re playing several more times in the area over the next few weeks and are well worth catching.
Also on the bill was Copper Kettle, which combines the talents of two excellent songwriters in the Brooklyn scene: Andrew Hunt and Fred Skellenger, and also the Sheriff’s own Cheatin’ Hearts, a good-time band if ever there was one.