In our continued quest to enjoy live music during the coldest, most depressing time of year, we once again stumbled into the Replay for what turned into a lively Friday matinee.
The night was dedicated to a variety of roots bands, starting with Reagan Zagan. You will likely recognize her as the fierce banjo player from Unfit Wives, but she comes with a wide palette of musical tastes and background. Her metal band beginnings really come through when she gets a chance to shred on the banjo (you heard us, SHRED on the BANJO). But what really wows her audience is her knowledge of throat singing (90’s kids know this was a BIG deal back in the day). Layered in with loops, Reagan provides a very unique insight into the kind of background experienced musicians bring into the roots music scene.
Wakarusa Roundabouts followed with one of the most pleasant sets we’ve seen all year. It’s really hard not to smile when they hit the stage. They’re just so likable. The group is made up of a sort who’s who in the Americana (and Fidpick) scene. You’ll see members from local acts, fiddling duos, and an expert luthier around town. The band describes their music as songs that make you go “ahhhhhh” (that’s a very relaxed “ahhhhhh”), which is accurate because they tend to bring out the best in everyone around them (we’re partial to their cover of “Black Eyed Susie”). They’re used to playing dances and get-togethers, so it took a little while for the folks hidden in the dark corners of the dive bar to come out of their shell. But they did. With Wakarusa Roundabouts, they always do.
The evening rounded out with Madness and Melody, a fairly newer duo out of the Kansas City scene who delivered an expert sound to a normally relaxed genre. Their melodic vocal harmonies paired well with their back-and-forth guitar banter, and they came touting a new single just released in the Fall (you can listen below). This duo is tight, the kind of act you’d expect to go from stages at Folk Alliance to Folk Festivals across the nation. With any luck, we’ll see them at our own folk festivals later this year.