BlueGround UnderGrass / Oteil & the Peacemakers
September 22, 2006
words/photos by Josh Mintz
Col. Bruce Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit has either directly or indirectly influenced nearly every jamband that’s touring today. It has also spawned many a musician who has gone on to other great projects. Two of those ARU alumni are Jeff Mosier and Oteil Burbridge, whose respective bands shared the stage for an inspired and eclectic night of music at Newby’s in Memphis.
The Rev. Jeff Mosier’s band, BlueGround UnderGrass, defies categorization. They’re part bluegrass, part rock, and really fun to watch. They kicked off the show with a monster segue, "Clock Goes On > Clinch Mountain Backstep > I Know You Rider > Black Muddy River," and never looked back.
"Our Feet" was phenomenal, and featured great interplay between David Blackmon’s fiddle and Matthew Williams’ guitar. It eventually gave way to "The Times They Are A-Changin’ > ‘O Death," which had Rev. Mosier ranting about the government.
BlueGround is just a great band. All of the musicians are extremely talented, and drummer Seth Hendershot, who along with bass player AJ Adams is a new addition since they came through Memphis back in April, was really really solid.
By the time Oteil & the Peacemakers came on stage following BlueGround, they were playing to a decent crowd, and their delivery was fantastic. Oteil’s bass is always rock solid, as there really are few players in his league.
Even without keyboard player Matt Slocum, who was absent and to whom Oteil dedicated the show to (ed. he was back the next time I saw them a week later in Charleston, SC) they found a great groove early on and kept it going throughout the set. His set spanned both Believer and the Family Secret, and had the requiste "Back In Black > Power of Soul" cover.
Mark Kimbrell’s guitar was great all night, and his jazzy, free-form style compliments Burbridge’s bass perfectly. Paul Henson bounced on and off stage all night, clearing out for the instrumental numbers and the songs where Oteil took vocals.
The show was as good as any that have come through Memphis in the past year. All that took the stage are really great on their instrument, and it was a special night of great music. Both Burbridge and Mosier are among the best at their respective instruments, and they showed it on the stage at Newby’s. Col. Bruce Hampton would have been proud to be in the audience as two of his former bandmates showed off their stuff, but his influence was evident in every note.