Music » Livewire

Split Lip Rayfield

With Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival. Wednesday, August 10, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Does the word "bluegrass" excite you about as much as sipping sarsaparilla with your grandpa? Well, Split Lip Rayfield will burn those preconceptions from your brain. And if you're a true-blue bluegrass fan, don't let the Split Lip boys' tattoos and punk-rock past scare you off. These guys know how to pick, pluck, and harmonize.

Busting out of Kansas in the mid-'90s, SLR developed a small but rabid following via three hell-bent discs on Bloodshot and wild-eyed live shows, where they've shared stages with the likes of Del McCoury and Leftover Salmon. After a short recording hiatus, they returned with last year's ragged and ribald Should Have Seen It Coming. Nowadays, SLR mixes in a few more slow numbers -- like the terrifically titled "Just Like a Gillian Welch Song" -- with its customary hillbilly speedballs, but the band's still singing white-trash celebrations of trucks, drugs, and drinking. This is moonshine campfire music of the finest kind. Split Lip's furiously fun performances are worthy of your hard-earned bucks, but did we mention that this one's a freebie?

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