High Strung String Band breathes new life into an old tradition. In some ways, the band pays homage to straight-ahead, traditional bluegrass: They flat-pick the guitar, play three-finger-style banjo, and belt out high vocal harmonies. But in other ways, High Strung String Band trades in tradition for surprise. Their bluegrass is part improvisation, part experimentation -- a form that thrives on original songs and unique arrangements. This makes High Strung String Band a reliable, yet unpredictable musical force. They deliver the foot-stomping, high-and-lonesome, storytelling songs you’d expect from a bluegrass band, but with a spirit and style all their own.
The bluegrass quintet’s first full-length studio album “Rise and Shine” offers refreshing original material, skillful string work and soaring vocal harmonies. The lap steel guitar gives certain songs an almost haunting feel, a honky-tonk tinged eeriness. The lyrics, like those preserved in bluegrass from the past, tell the everyday stories of everyday people, but do so with a little more poignancy, a little more vulnerability.
High Strung String Band stands somewhere between the bluegrass of the past and the bluegrass of the future. They bring the traditional cast of musical characters to the stage -- the banjo, the mandolin, the upright bass, the guitar -- but add modernity to the genre with their original songs and unique sound. High Strung String Band does progressive bluegrass with a nod to the traditionalists, but all eyes squarely on musical creativity and experimentation. Expect everything you’d demand from a bluegrass band -- and then some.