Hometown Honky-Tonking: The BasinBillies Return to Their Old Stomping Grounds
With folk in the midst of a full force revival, more bands are abandoning high octane rock and roll and picking up where banjo legend Earl Scruggs left off. Rose City cow-punks The Basinbillies are one of many pioneering this trend, infusing classic bluegrass with punk rock attitude. And having grown up in southern Oregon, the band looks forward to returning to their old stomping grounds and raising hell Fri., May 13, at Oberon’s in Ashland.
The Basinbillies differentiate themselves from other jug bands by writing aggressive tunes informed by the rock influences of their childhood.
“Back in high school we probably would have all considered ourselves alternative kids,” says guitarist and vocalist Corry Christensen. “We all grew up on that early ‘90s punk scene. Several members of the band played in punk bands right out of high school. Once we all got together when we were a bit older and really enjoyed that folk, bluegrass style of music it just seemed like a natural thing combining these genre to give us an edge and touch on topics not normally rooted in bluegrass.”
While the Basinbillies borrow from the conventions of early Americana, the resulting sound is a far cry from the soft banjo accompanied croonings of the 1920s.
“That’s sort of what thrash-grass is,” says Christensen. “Andrew and I on the guitar really aren’t finesse players. We tend to hack our way through a song. We don’t strive to be finesse players or fit into that new-grass jam band style, we really try to lean to the opposite side of the spectrum. That goes back to the punk feeling. We want people to stomp their feet and whoop and ha.”
Since their inception in 2010 The Basinbillies have been making waves. Hot off a win at the Spirit Mountain Country Ruckus Competition the band recorded their first full-length album Whiskey on Work Night.
“We were very fortunate the first go-around to have Sunny and Jim Filburg, who are long time artist and sound engineers working the Seattle area for bands like Pearl Jam and were right there in that grunge movement,” says Christensen. “They brought us in and produced our album for us pretty much pro bono.”
Though the band is now headquartered in Portland, the Basinbillies are no strangers to southern Oregon. They grew up in Klamath Falls. The band has always received a warm reception in Klamath is set to play a sold-out show at the Ross Ragland cultural center Thursday, May 12th.
“When we play Klamath we still have a lot of friends and family down there,” says Christensen. “It’s good to go down and reconnect with people we haven’t seen in a long time, play music and make people feel good.”
8 pm, Fri., May 13
Oberon’s, 45 N Main St, Ashland.