Hot Buttered Rum

Beloved Bay Area newgrass outfit Hot Buttered Rum get back to their string-band roots on The Kite & The Key: Part 2. The new EP (out February 5) is a tribute to bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley, who graced our stage in 2015 with an unforgettable performance.

“Ralph Stanley is an inspiration to me on so many levels," says guitarist and vocalist Nat Keefe. "My dad has a dozen of his albums on vinyl and I grew up listening to these on Sunday mornings, his lonesome mountain tones contrasting with my warm suburban Californian childhood. Out of all the bluegrass music founding fathers, his is the sound that makes my hair stand up on end. There’s the driving groove, and the soulful, tuneful way the songs are put together. It was a pleasure to have to listen though hundreds of Stanley tunes and a struggle to decide which to record with HBR."

(Ralph Stanley at Musicians Corner)

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“There were so many reasons to let the music of Dr. Ralph Stanley do its work on us, as players and listeners and lovers of all things lonesome," says multi-instrumentalist Erik Yates. "It was an easy choice. Stanley’s tone, taste and timing, as both a player and a singer, have been a de fining force in bluegrass music since the music emerged in the 40s. And he’s still gigging! I’ll be thanking my stars if I have half his longevity. I think there’s something in him that won’t quit, that never has, a kind of rawness that chills me every time I hear it. He’s a hero of mine, and I’m glad to’ve been able to play both some of his best- and lesser-known numbers with this band.

Take a listen to "How Mountain Girls Can Love," an old Stanley Brothers song, from the EP below.