When the Tarbox Ramblers begin playing, a lot can happen quickly. That’s because they can take audiences to a place where Appalachian music, ancient blues and gospel come together in powerful, unexpected combinations. You could describe their sound as one that is both familar and new at the same time. Some might simplistically describe them as “alternative”, but that doesn’t begin to describe these left-field traditionalists whose roughhewn, direct sound has drawn raves from tastes as different os Rolling Stone and NPR.
Playing with the ease and familiarity of musicians who understand each other’s deepest impulses, these gifted interpreters of traditional music also continue to write a growing number of original songs. At any given Tarbox show the audience is likely to hear thickets of gorgeous backwater guitar, followed by fierce waves of percussion in call-and response drum-and-vocal songs, followed in turn by timeless lightning-in-a-bottle laments. From a whisper to a roar—with what led The Washington Post to describe them as “a force of nature”—The Tarbox Ramblers’ astonishing inventiveness keeps their music vital even as it continues to evolve.