Posts Tagged ‘bluegrass christmas’

Infamous Stringdusters and JJ Grey

December 8, 2017

I found a HuffPo list featuring their top performers of 2015 — The list included Humming House (see Dec 2), The Wailin Jenny’s (see Dec 12 2016) and Jorma Kaukonen (from Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) and then 12 other I had never heard of, including the bluegrass band, The Infamous Stringdusters.

A little secret: when I find lists like these, I google the band or artist and the word Christmas (or holiday) and check results. Sometimes you find stuff. Sometimes you don’t. When I googled The Infamous Stringdusters the #1 result was a cover of jingle bells featuring this odd, stiff dude standing in the middle of the band singing the song.

That odd, stiff dude just happened to be JJ Grey – a singer who is truly an amazing talent (discovering people like Grey is a huge benefit of researching this blog).

The Infamous Stringdusters are a bluegrass band from Boston (seriously). They formed in 2006, have released eight records.

John Higginbotham, aka JJ Grey is from Jacksonville, FL. He and his band Mofro formed in 2001 and have released nine records. Their music is described as “southern swamp” but I think it’s really so much more than that. Grey is an outstanding vocalist and songwriter.

I’ll feature the two bands singing/performing Jingle Bells then follow it with some cuts from JJ Grey and Mofro. Not much info on the Jingle Bells collaboration. It was recorded to promote a concert featuring both bands at Red Rocks in Colorado in May of 2016. The song isn’t available anywhere except youtube (and you can probably figure out how to download it from there).
Fun version of the old Christmas classic.

Stringdusters – Facebook
Stringdusters Official Website
Stringdusters – Spotify

JJ Grey & Mofro – Facebook
JJ Grey & Mofro Official Site
JJ Grey & Mofro – Spotify

The Infamous Stringdusters with JJ Grey & Mofro – Jingle Bells (You need to click this one twice — embed code seems to be off. The link works despite the grayed out icon)

JJ Grey – Brighter Days (solo)

JJ Grey & Mofro – Tic Tac Toe

JJ Grey & Mofro – The Sun Is Shining Down



The Punch Bros. O Come O Come Emmanuel

December 11, 2013

The Punch Brothers, a New York based progressive bluegrass band (their music is described as “bluegrass instrumentation and spontaneity in the strictures of modern classical”) added their take to O Come O Come Emmanuel to the wildly diverse collection of Christmas music, Holidays Rule.

Holidays Rule really is an odd collection of artists but is worth checking out (although you may not want to purchase all of it).

The tune from it you’ve probably heard over and over is Paul McCartney singing “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…). But it also features The Shins singing McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime,”  The Heartless Bastards covering “Blue Christmas,” and Calexico singing “Green Grows The Holly.”

There are a lot of misses on this collection. However the beauty of purchasing digital music is you can pick and choose. Back when I was a kid, you bought the album and you were stuck with all of the crappy songs. And there are some crappy songs in this collection.

The song below is not one of the crappy tunes.

The Punch Brothers rival Bela Fleck in their use of progressive bluegrass. They even get out there a bit on this version of O Come O Come Emmanuel — it’s an interesting and well done alternative to this wonderful Christmas standard.

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