Hillbilly Thang

Layla's Bluegrass Inn, Nashville, TN
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's been over ten years since BR549 left their fabled residency at Robert's Western World for the glory and riches of a major label deal, so their not quite secret (but definitely under the radar) two night stand at the Bluegrass Inn this week was kind of a big deal. The cowboy hats, western shirts, rockabilly hairdos and ironic trucker caps were out in full force to see the band that started the Lower Broad revival return to their roots. And I can't imagine that any of them left disappointed.

It wasn't the original lineup reunion that had been rumored, although it did see guitarist Chris Scruggs return to the fold. Both nights the band played non-stop four hour sets full of old country covers both classic and obscure, along with the occasional original tune. My personal favorites of the three hours I caught last night were "Matchbox," "Cocaine Blues," and "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)." And of course as it got close to midnight and the set was winding down, they played their classic retelling of a fabled lost episode of the Andy Griffith show, "Me 'N' Opie." But the absolute highlight of the evening came when a guy who had flown down from Connecticut just for these shows made a request. He handed them a piece of paper (with the requisite accompaniment of Alexander Hamilton) asking for "Perpabst a medley of songs you don't really know" (he thought the PBR reference was quite punny). After conferring for a minute to figure out exactly how they were going to pull that off, the band launched into impromptu versions of The Ramone's "Beat On The Brat," The Who's "Squeeze Box," and after a brief pause when they decided it took three songs to make a medley, The Beatle's "All Together Now." The kicker was that the guy who made the request didn't recognize a single one of those songs.

It wasn't just like the old days. The low ceiling (and even lower stage) at Layla's made it hard to see the band, and it was downright impossible if you were at the back of the bar. And while there was a full house for most of the evening, it certainly wasn't packed to the gills like Robert's used to be on Friday and Saturday nights. But musically it was everything you could have hoped for, and the honky tonkers definitely seemed thrilled to have their favorite sons back home.

BR549 - "Me 'N' Opie (Down By The Duck Pond)" (mp3) from Live At Robert's
BR549 = "Little Ramona" (mp3) from BR5-49

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Hey Darrin....it's the guy from Connecticut....you forgot to mention that blonde. One could have placed a few silver dollar tips in her cleavage.
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