Photo | boynamedbanjo.co
Band: Boy Named Banjo
Date: Friday, Nov. 1, at 9 p.m.
Stage: Courtyard Stage
Each year, the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off hosts an epic pre-party. On Friday night, the Hangout will open its doors for its Craft Spirits & Beer Night. The crowd will be able to sample a plethora of liquid refreshments of all types. The Craft Spirits & Beer Night will also feature a performance from up-and-coming folk rockers Boy Named Banjo.
This group has one of the most versatile sounds in the music industry. Boy Named Banjo’s sound is built on an acoustic foundation and adrenalized by bass and drums. Elements of bluegrass and indie rock are skillfully mingled for a truly unique sound. In the beginning, Boy Named Banjo consisted of banjo player Barton Davies, guitarist William Reams and mandolin player Willard Logan. Davies says his entry into the band came through an English class that he shared with Reams.
“William and I were in the same English class in high school [in Nashville], and we got asked that 10,000 hours question,” Davies explained. “If you could spend 10,000 hours doing one thing, then you could be a master at it. We went around the classroom, and the teacher asked us individually what we would choose. We both said, ‘playing our instruments.’ Turned out, I played banjo, and he played guitar.”
After making this musical connection, Reams and Davies began jamming in the parking lot after school. Those early sessions were mainly instrumental. Both were apprehensive of incorporating their vocals. Davies says that his and Reams mutual encouragement helped conquer this fear of singing. Eventually, they brought Logan’s mandolin to the mix. When they started writing original material, Davies says the sessions had “no agenda.”
“When we started out, we were really influenced by folk bands and folk rock bands like Old Crow [Medicine Show] and Avett Brothers and bluegrass stuff,” Davies said. “We really just wanted to be a string band that wrote good enduring songs. It’s grown from that, obviously. The goal was to keep it in the bluegrass realm at first.”
After busking on the streets of Nashville as a trio, Boy Named Banjo entered the studio for “The Tanglewood Sessions,” which leaned heavily into the bluegrass world. After adding drummer Sam McCullough to the mix, Boy Named Banjo’s sound began evolving into a new sonic animal that brought indie rock overtones to the band’s Americana style, which was showcased on the band’s sophomore effort, “Long Story Short.” Bassist Ford Garrard completed the band’s lineup for the EP release “Lost on Main.”
With each new member and each passing album, the band’s sound has become more eclectic. Now, they are preparing to release another full-length album, which their Hangout crowd will get to sample in the live setting.
“It’s an album that we’ve been working on for at least a couple of years,” Davies said. “Some of these songs are three years old. We’ve really just been buckling down and writing and coming up with some really catchy, fun songs to play. They’re really energetic, and we’ve recorded about 10 in Nashville with our good friend and producer Oscar Charles. So, we’re sitting on those right now. We’re trying to come up with a good game plan for releasing it.”
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