Jack Rose
Jack Rose

Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers @ Stereo, 7 Nov

4/5 stars
Event review by Eric Ledford.
Published 11 November 2009

 

After settling down into his fold-up chair, Nathan Bowles convinces a receptive crowd to conquer their shyness and come closer to the stage. Seated alongside fellow twig picker Mike Gangloff and solo guitar maverick Jack Rose (both of Virginia drone-sorcerers Pelt), the trio blast-off on their longest piece of the evening, a whirling tornado of clawhammer banjo, fiddle and six-string acoustic. This scenario may seem familiar to many diehards in attendance, but there is something altogether different about the trio’s studied and earnest approach to back porch hillbilly blues. By continually rotating between a slew of arcane instruments (washboard, bones, jaw harp, lap slide) during the performance, these American primitives barnstorm their way through an awe-inspiring set of country spirituals, ragtime ragas and old-time stompers. Alternate tunings prove the boys are deliberate folklorists, rare and raw practitioners who have been bestowed with the gift of fostering a musical/oral tradition that will continue for generations. [Eric Ledford]