Music News

Split Lip Rayfield

On the surface, bluegrass seems to have little in common with punk. After all, the former is traditionally acoustic, not electric, and many lineups don't even include a drummer. Yet because both styles are built for speed, former Wichita rockers Jeff Eaton, Wayne Gottstine, Kirk Rundstrom and Eric Mardis sound extremely comfortable within the context of Split Lip Rayfield, which joins Drag the River and Buckskin Stallion at the Fox. Take "Redneck Tailgate Dream," a track from Should Have Seen It Coming, the band's latest Bloodshot Records release. The ditty races along like a Ford pickup on jet fuel, spewing sassy lyrics ("Susie Lynn, she's just thirteen/Lookin' trashy and wearin' my high school ring") like plumes of exhaust. Granted, even wisecracks as amusing as those that pepper "A Little More Cocaine, Please" can wear thin after a while. But the music as a whole is tart and twangy enough to please just about any fan of countrified Americana -- and as a bonus, numbers such as "Just Like a Gillian Welch Song" manage to be wry and affecting at the same time. Thanks to Split Lip Rayfield, bluegrass has been punk'd.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts