Onion Creek Crawdaddies

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Onion Creek Crawdaddies

Barn Burners & Bathtub Bourbon (Beergrass) Is Central Texas just now feeling the effects of O Brother, Where Art Thou? How else would you explain the seemingly sudden emergence of young bluegrass bands all over Austin? The Onion Creek Crawdaddies are just one of the many new faces on the scene. As evidenced by the live performances on their debut, Barn Burners & Bathtub Bourbon, the local quintet has the potential to be one of the best bands in Austin. What's most impressive about this collection is that the group has recorded all original material, and while they make a couple of freshman mistakes, overall it's a solid start. The Crawdads aren't a traditional bluegrass outfit by any measure. At times, their youthful effervescence recalls the spunky attitude of the late lamented Split Lip Rayfield. There's an edge to the music that strictly traditional bluegrass doesn't have, but by leaving the rough stuff in, one gets the sense that the band is playing to the best of their ability, from the heart. With Trent Shepherd (mandolin, vocals) and Ryan Hunter (banjo, vocals) sharing the majority of songwriting duties, there are a variety of styles here, from the rousing opener "Blood in My Veins" and sprightly instrumental jam "Sunflower Hill Two-Step" to the Latin-influenced "Vamos," which is sung in Spanish. With the local resurgent interest in old-time and bluegrass, Barn Burners & Bathtub Bourbon is likely the first shot in a wave of like-minded music and an impressive beginning at that. (OCC celebrates 'BBBB' at the Continental Club Thursday, May 29.)

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