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Grass-Fed Sounds 

Wednesday, Feb 8 2012
Hailing from the Appalachian region of West Virginia, the burgeoning BrownChicken BrownCow StringBand (tonight at 8 p.m. at Café Du Nord) curled its toes in the topsoil that nurtured bluegrass. After only four years, its acoustic musicianship is exemplary, an effortless weaving of reels, waltzes, reveries, and improvisational stomps inspired by its members’ Scottish, German, and black musical progenitors. And yet they are as unpretentious as their name implies. Lyrics such as “bees make honey/ honey makes it sweet” and “she’s sexy when she comes/she’s beautiful even when she’s gone” follow closely in the mountain tradition of singing about what you know. (The band has relocated to Hawaii, so its latest album is appropriately titled Live from Paia Tattoo Parlor.) While the outfit may lack the traditional “stack” of vocal harmony, there is no doubt that lead vocalist Xander Hitzig possesses the prerequisite high, lonesome sound. In our constantly evolving cultural enclave, it’s easy to forget that the Gold Rush drew this nation’s most vibrant musical traditions right along with the 49ers. But one look at the roster for the 13th annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival should serve as a fast reminder. BCBCSB is one of nearly 60 acts, including locals such as the farmers market fave Squirrely Stringband, and the fine musicians responsible for the weekly “Taco Jam,” perhaps the world’s only taqueria-based bluegrass invitational.
Feb. 10-19, 2012

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Silke Tudor

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