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Hot Mustard: Special Recipe for Tasty Bluegrass

29 June 2012

The New England bluegrass outfit Hot Mustard has got a busy summer brewing, including festival appearances and a set at— wait for it—The Night of 1000 Cupcakes!

This band could be said to be a marriage of marriages, in that it consists of two couples, Kelly and Bruce Stockwell and April and Bill Jubett. In this final episode of our Performers Showcase on the band, we circle back to beginnings, tracing how the various band members met up to share music and more. Who knew that “Bile Them Cabbage Down” could have sentimental value?

The featured tune in this clip is of course “Angel Band,” which is my way of sneaking one more gospel number under the tent flap after our recent trifecta of gospel-related posts. The song is indelibly associated with the Stanley Brothers, but its history stretches back 150 years. According to ye olde Wikipedia, the melody was first published in 1862 in Bradbury’s Golden Shower of S.S. Melodies, a title that brings forth unwelcome associations with grindhouse movies or worse. If that weren’t unsettling enough, consider the fact that, among the many bands that have covered this song, we find…The Monkees.

Hot Mustard’s version, which comes from the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, is angelic indeed. The key modulation that occurs near the end (listen for it under the final interview segment) is particularly nifty.

Yer Pal— Curly

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