LIVE: King Wilkie & the M Shanghai String Band @ The Linda, 10/3/09

October 5th, 2009, 2:32 pm by Greg

This was a topsy-turvy show.

King Wilkie and the M Shanghai String Band are both acoustic bands rooted in traditional American old-timey country and bluegrass music, but who write their own original – and often very quirky – songs in those styles rather than relying on the traditional repertoire.

On Saturday night, the Brooklyn musical collective M Shanghai opened the show, but as the evening wore on it became quite clear that King Wilkie couldn’t top – or even match – their charismatic, contagiously joyous performance.

You can read my review from the Times Union.

Here are a few additional observations:

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KING WILKIE’s “Presents the Wilkie Family Singers”

September 30th, 2009, 3:38 pm by Greg

KingWilkie(Casa Nueva, 2009):

I don’t think this is bluegrass anymore, Toto.

King Wilkie started off as a young, six-piece traditional bluegrass band in Charlottesville, Virginia back in 2003, and they garnered the coveted International Bluegrass Music Association award as Best Emerging Artist in 2004. They were playing all of the big bluegrass festivals and even the Grand Ole Opry.

But with their sophomore album, “Low Country Suite,” the music began to mutate, and now with their third album, the bluegrass has nearly been completely jettisoned. Heck, “Videotape” sounds like the Beach Boys, and “Dr. Art” features a wicked, jazzy clarinet solo.

That’s not a bad thing, mind you.

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