Tennessee Bluegrass Band Tall Weeds and Rust Video

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The bluegrass music world was buzzing this time last year with the excitement of a new band that emerged from East Tennessee. After releasing a few simple home movie style videos, we were all wowed by their authentic, traditional bluegrass sound and vocal pyrotechnics. They seemed to be perfect representatives of the young face of bluegrass.

That the band was formed by one of the most dashing bluegrass couples of our time didn’t hurt them at all. Canadian violin maestro Aynsley Porchak, who now plies her trade in the low 48, and her beau, banjo whiz Lincoln Hensley, were not only dedicated and highly skilled professional musicians, their in-depth knowledge of the genre at a fairly tender age is distinctly impressive, learned from the hands of true masters of the craft. Aynsley found her place under Dan Boner’s wing while a student at ETSU, and Lincoln was a protege of the great Sonny Osborne towards the end of his life.

These two added veteran mandolinist Tim Laughlin and enlisted another rising bluegrass star, John Meador, on guitar, and his wife, Gracie, on bass. They were quickly signed to Billy Blue Records and began working on a debut album when two unexpected, but closely related, events occurred. Gracie became pregnant with their first child and John jumped to play with Authentic Unlimited, suspecting more immediate work would be available there for a new dad with a family to support.

This left Aynsley, Lincoln and Tim in a dilemma, trying to replace band members mid-recording. But while Meador was a big loss, the Tennessee Bluegrass Band ended up getting double the value by bringing in Lincoln Mash on guitar and Tyler Griffith on bass. Both are very talented singers, with Tyler singing mostly tenor and Lincoln leading the way.

Mash is a superb bluegrass singer, just developing his potential, as you will hear on the new single released today. Its upper range is reminiscent of the great Elrod, Terry Eldridge, formerly of the Grascals, the Osborne Brothers and many other fine bands. And in the bottom there is a bit of a Sparks growl. Pretty good company!

For the past several years, he has been part of the Coal Creek Mountain Boys, touring across the United States.

Griffith is an Indiana native who has worked with many bands including Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, King Springs Road, the Harvest Road Band and Bridgewater. His tenor voice gives TBB a powerful vocal trio.

Their new single is a song by Tom T Hall, Tall weeds and rust, which tells a sad but familiar story of the dismantling of a family farm after the surviving siblings move to town. It was never a hit for Tom T, although it had been heard in bluegrass before.

Hensley says the song really touched him.

“When we were introduced to this song, I listened to it the first time and immediately knew it would be on our debut album. Hearing the demo of Tom T. sing those lines painted in my mind the image you see here in the video. My grandfather, Don Hensley, had just passed away last year, and this song told the story of what nearly happened to his farm after he passed away…cleaned up, flattened out,” actually that’s what happens to a lot of small town farmland after they’re gone. Their kids/grandkids inherit it and they don’t care about farming so they get sold and turned into housing, malls, or parking lots. Thank goodness that didn’t happen to my grandfather’s farm and I was able to keep it as he left it. Do me a favor and drive into your hometown and listen to this song, and I think you’ll realize how many of those old farms we’ve lost over the last 25 years. Tom T really said it better than me…

“Progress, oh progress, advance if you must, but keep this little patch of tall grass and rust for me.”

And Aynsley says it was popular when you were playing live, even before the album came out.

Tall weeds and rust was a song that had an immediate emotional impact on us as a band. We are all farmers or are closely related to them, and we have seen the story of the song play out in our daily lives. We didn’t expect it when we recorded it, but it turns out that this song seems to have really blessed our fans. Every time we play this song live, I make it a point to watch the audience and watch the emotion on their faces. Every time I see tears come to someone’s eyes, I know that song means something to them, and after all, reaching people with our music is worth it to us.

An accompanying music video hit today, so take a look and listen and see why the Tennessee Bluegrass Band is making such a splash a year after forming.

Their first album, The future of the pastis available now from popular online download and streaming services. Radio programmers can get the tracks at AirPlay Direct.

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