January 26, 2008

Playin' in the band

The dynamics of a band teeters, from brilliance to disaster, depending completely on how its players mesh. I have never personally been part of that experience, but have been around it enough to know that one bad apple -- a superstar ego, someone who is perpetually late or absent -- can change those dynamics and destroy a band. And while I am not saying this was the cause of the split-up of cellist extraordinaire Rushad Eggleston from Crooked Still, I would like to think after seeing them a bunch of times and reading about them, there was something to it.
First, let me say that I love the band, and after seeing a few YouTube clips (one of them below) with their new lineup, I'm happy to report they look energized and should be just fine. I think I blogged last year after seeing them at Passim that after the show I had this crazy fear that they would not stay together long. They seemed like a group, with a star cellist and star banjo player, with a ton of talent but not much chemistry. In the middle was this diminutive but powerful singer Aiofe O'Donovan trying to hold things together. I also saw them at Rushad's final concert at Sanders Theatre, and while they were all saying nice things, I didn't find his departure to be overly emotional for the band. And finally, Stills' bassist Corey DiMario, on his blog "Play the Bass, Drive the Bus," writes this about recording the group's new CD with new bandmates violinist Brittany Haas and cellist Tristan Clarridge: "It's really hard to express how excited I am about this music. It's exceeded every expectation I had going into the process by miles. It really feels like we are a band now, both musically and otherwise."
Here's to hoping that Crooked Still continues to make that crazy bluegrass music that we've come to love. I can't wait for the new album.

1 comment:

Abbie said...

You write very well.