While deciding whether to call its unique, infectious, wildly irreverent music "whiskey grass" or "whiskey folk," the Single Malt Band trotted out a few other ideas -- including "fiendishly adolescent, fried chicken, monster music" and "flies on the folk cuisine." Good luck, pickers 'n' grinners. Ever since progressive bluegrass earned an unwanted reputation for pissing on the grave of Bill Monroe, every tie-dyed noodler from Kentucky to Oregon has tried to distinguish his own experimental sound with one good, amiable, all-purpose label. (Although during the early '70s, New Grass Revival unwittingly launched its namesake as a pioneering but generic subgenre to bluegrass's traditional hardscrabble forefathers.) Whatever the heck you want to call it, the highly skilled and tuneful music of fiddler Jordan Moretti, guitarist Jefferson Hamer and upright-bassist Will Downes relies on hard, fast tempos, high, close harmonies, clever songwriting and pronounced instrumental chops. Infusing more strings than a kite convention, this eclectic trio maintains a rustic groove while distilling Celtic, Appalachian and occasional rock nuances into a potent blend of recreational savagery. Last year's enjoyable self-titled debut (in which Boulder expat Tony Furtado makes a decidedly tasty cameo) features "tanked classics" in honor of weather-vanes, the new John Henry and an ornery galoot named Tractorface. The members of Single Malt take a break from their ale-swilling and horticultural pursuits to warm up the stage with the Wayfarers, Friday, October 10, at the Boulder Theater for headlining act Swing Set (featuring banjo master Dave Johnston of Nederland's pride, the Yonder Mountain String Band). The evening is shaping up to be high, all right -- but hardly lonesome.
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