Country and bluegrass meet ragtime at a dance party
It’s well documented that bluegrass and old-time country aren’t my favourite styles of music. But, after seeing the Hot Seats ripping up the joint at the recent SummerTyne Festival I graciously accepted a copy of their latest CD. Like so many others, it has sat in my review box for a few weeks, but it finally got taken out on a recent business trip around the highways and by-ways of Yorkshire. The sun shone and, withGrandad’s Favourite on the car stereo, I was soon pretending that I was driving a jalopy around the hills of Carolina, as tune after glorious tune blasted out of the speakers.
While they may dress like extras from Boys Town, the Hot Seats are premium musicians. When they set their mind to it, they can make sparks fly off their instruments. Try listening to “Ain’t a Bit Drunk” to hear what I mean. If I hadn’t seen them play this toe-tapper live, I’d have thought it had been speeded up on disc.
They sweep between genres with ease — one minute regaling us with a jolly ragtime ditty like “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young”, and follow it with a 100 mph note-perfect bluegrass instrumental called “Snakewinder”, followed by a dance song called “Had It; Lost It”, with a ukulele solo that would have made George Formby proud.
I’m not sure how often I will play Grandad’s Favourite in the future, but I heartily recommend it to bluegrass, ragtime, old-time and country swing fans who will quite likely have it in their Top 10 albums of the year.