Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Gangstagrass video exclusive: Twist It

Gangstagrass Gangstagrass Gangstagrass Gangstagrass

New York-based Gangstagrass hit the UK this November and in turn drop a deft slice of Hip-Hop and Country in a huge mash-up stylee - yes I said “Hip-Hop and Country!” Move on! Lol. OK, we have seen many genres mix together over the years and I agree, this is possibly one of the more chalk and cheese combinations you could imagine - with that said, it makes it even more amazing that it works… and in this case, it definitely does!

Gangstagrass founder Rench (vocals, acoustic guitar, beats), has spent the past decade producing honky-tonk hip-hop recordings on his Rench Audio imprint, while also making beats for local NYC rappers and hosting country music nights in popular NYC venues. Playing down their unique mix, with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek observation, “There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think.” He continues, “I was listening to the 1970s recordings of Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys and couldn’t help imagining what classic bluegrass would sound like with rap vocals and beats.” The result of his vision/endeavours produced an album called “Rench Presents: Gangstagrass”, which was made free to download... and to cut a long-ish story, which involves 5 albums and a who’s who of admirers of their talents short, the success of that download fed the aspirations of these groundbreaking individuals and their fans alike…

I mention Gangstagrass fans for a reason, it was these same devoted fans who have also been architectural in the band’s brand new video, “Twist It”, from latest album “American Music”. This video features segments bid for by fans, who in doing so purchased the right to choose what action the band took within each paid segment - this not only took care of the production cost for the video, but also makes for an enthralling ‘must watch’.

The band's view on this groundbreaking / tricky process was, as ever, taken in their own inimitable stride "It was a bit of a jump off the cliff to put the bits of video up for sale, not knowing what we would end up having to do! But that was all part of the excitement. Even seeing the list beforehand, it was a real shock to get onto set and start doing those things for real." Continuing "Rench and the directors worked out all the logistics and props beforehand, and the rest of the band showed up without a sense of how it would all work. But it's all part of the fun of Gangstagrass that we do ridiculous things and it didn't faze us to jump in and start trying to keep up with someone yelling "Now lick the fiddle! Now wrestle the tiger! Now pick up the watermelon!" Those are the times when we glance at each other and say, "I can't believe this is my job today."

Gangstagrass, a band who not only think outside the box but perform outside it too.

An exclusive look at the video “Twist It” is below - enjoy!


GANGSTAGRASS: Rench (vocals, acoustic guitar, beats), R-SON (vocals), Dan Whitener (banjo, vocals), Landry McMeans (Dobro, vocals), Dolio The Sleuth (vocals) and Melody Berger (fiddle, vocals), the seeds for Gangstagrass were planted back in 2007 when Rench had a musical itch that needed scratching.


Thu 17th Bury, The Fusilier Museum
Fri 18th Glasgow, The Rum Shack
Sat 19th Perth, Inchyra Arts Club
Sun 20th Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
Tue 22nd York, Fibbers
Wed 23rd Derby, The Venue
Thu 24th Exeter, Phoenix
Fri 25th Bristol, Thekla
Sat 26th London, The Borderline
Sun 27th Shoreham, The Ropetackle


Twitter: @gangstagrass


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