Chris Castino: Fresh Pickles, Chicken Wire Empire, and the soul of Jackson County

May 26, 2022
Tim Newby

Chris Castino / photo: Tyler Hellbeck

Chris Castino first came to prominence with the Big Wu, a band he helped found in 1992. The band established itself as a mainstay of the roots and jamband scene, releasing five studio and five live albums and earning a reputation as one of the hardest touring bands on the scene. As the Big Wu slowed their heavy touring schedule, Castino stayed busy and when the COVID pandemic shut the world down, he dove head-first into a new project highlighting his lifelong passion for bluegrass.

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Hard-living, hard-times, lost years: the “Glory” of the Lost Dog Street Band

January 25, 2022
Tim Newby

Lost Dog Street Band - photo: Justin Dye

“They turned me away because I was unclean / So I kicked down the doors of the Grand Ole Opry,” sings Benjamin Tod on “Until I Recoup (Glory I),” the opening track on the Lost Dog Street Band’s latest album ”Glory.”  Tod spits the line with venom, born from years of hard-living and hard-times. The song, while defiant and a big middle finger to the status quo, is also a statement of purpose, Tod’s declaration that no matter what he and the Lost Dog Street Band will be heard and accepted, albeit on their own terms and by their own rules. 

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The Music and Mythocracy of Col. Bruce Hampton: A Basically True Biography by Jerry Grillo

May 18, 2021
Tim Newby

How do you tell the story of an Alien?  How do you tell the story of someone who was so mysterious, yet at the same time so open and honest? Someone who seemed instantly connected to everyone he knew, who seemed to know the secrets of the universe. If you are writer Jerry Grillo, you do it one word at a time, in his new book, The Music and Mythocracy of Col. Bruce Hampton: A Basically True Biography.

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Erik Deutsch: Live at LunAtico

July 10, 2020
Tim Newby

Live at LunAtico, the latest album from former Leftover Salmon and current Dixie Chicks (now The Chicks) keyboardist Erik Deutsch is a fitting goodbye letter to his longtime home of Brooklyn, New York; the album was recorded at LunAtico’s, a local club that served as home base for much of Deutsch’s jazz explorations in Brooklyn. After 14 years in Brooklyn, Deutsch was preparing to move Mexico City and scheduled a final two-night send-off at the Brooklyn club he had played so many times before, with a band comprised of some of his regular collaborators: Tony Mason (drums), Avi Bortnick (guitar), Mike McGinnis (reeds), Brian Drye (trombone) and Fred Cash (bass).  

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On the Road: A Tribute to John Hartford

June 5, 2020
Tim Newby

on the road a tribute to john hartford

Even if you’re unfamiliar with John Hartford, his presence looms large over roots and bluegrass music. On the Road: A Tribute to John Hartford gathers many of those bands who have been influenced by Hartford, as well as some of his peers, for a tribute to his legendary songwriting. To a generation of bands Hartford was an eccentric, pioneering musician – a guiding spirit who showed it was possible to infuse the traditional sound of bluegrass with the hippie ideals prevalent in the late 60s and early 70s. 

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Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Polyethnic Slamgrass, Part 3(b)

May 27, 2020
Tim Newby

This is part three (b) of three of author Tim Newby’s inside look into the writing of his latest book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival and the time he spent with the band on tour.  Make sure to check out part one, part two, and part three (a).

The band had a few days off and I headed home to Baltimore before rejoining them at the North Shore Performing Arts Center in Skokie, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The after-party found me on the bus at 1 am signing books for many of Vince’s friends who had come that night. 

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Quarantine Time, New Music, and Pink Moons with Adam Greuel

May 7, 2020
Tim Newby

Adam Greuel, guitarist and singer for Horseshoes & Hand Grenades had recently released his first solo album, Low Income Porridge, at the beginning of March. Then the world got sick and closed down for business.  Greuel took that quarantine time at home that was imposed on us to become inspired. 

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Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Polyethnic Slamgrass, Part 3(a)

April 23, 2020
Tim Newby

This is part three of three of author Tim Newby’s inside look into the writing of his latest book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival and the time he spent with the band on tour.  Read part one and part two here.

In the fall of 2017, Leftover Salmon embarked on a brief acoustic tour at intimate venues on the East Coast, dubbed the Living Room Tour.  Each night the band dug deep into their catalog and rediscovered long-forgotten songs not played in years.

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Chris Castino and Brazil – the long answer

March 10, 2020
Tim Newby

Chris Casino

“The guy behind the record is someone who has been playing music a long time and has awakened to a reality of wanting to go as deep as I can into music, and this is my first step towards that,” explains Chris Castino of the Big Wu about his first solo album, Brazil.  It is an album Castino describes as “more of a folk-rock album with a groove to it.”

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Caleb Stine & the Revelations: Mystic Country

February 11, 2020
Tim Newby

A revelation is a surprising and previously unknown fact. Caleb Stine & the Revelations is a Baltimore-based band, and to many outside their hometown, the first time they hear Stine’s music is a revelation into the power of his songwriting. With his latest release, Mystic Country, Stine will undoubtedly become a revelation to many more. 

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