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Live In the Northeast

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Album Review

There is more to a good jam band than jamming. The most noteworthy jam bands also pay a lot of attention to the art of songcraft; they realize that jamming isn't going to mean as much if they don't have worthwhile songs to use as the basis for their jamming. And Hot Buttered Rum's Live in the Northeast is a pleasing demonstration of how much one can benefit the other. There is plenty of inspired jamming on this 70-minute CD, which was recorded live in October 2006 at various venues in New England and Upstate New York. But the thing that makes the jamming and improvising work as well as it does is the fact Hot Buttered Rum hit the stage with a repertoire of well-crafted songs; even if a listener isn't a huge fan of improvisation and doesn't listen to jam bands extensively, he/she can still appreciate the craftsmanship that went into "California Snow and Rain," "Busted in Utah," and other material that the San Francisco Bay Area-based progressive bluegrass/country-rock outfit performs on Live in the Northeast. Of course, people who are heavily into jam bands tend to have a strong appreciation of improvisation — and from a jamming/improvising standpoint, there is a lot to appreciate about Hot Buttered Rum's live performances. But the thing is that it is easier to deliver an inspired improvisation when you have a lot of memorable songs to inspire you. Live in the Northeast is an enjoyable document of Hot Buttered Rum on-stage in 2006.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Bay Area newgrass jam band Hot Buttered Rum have been described as a rock band playing bluegrass instruments (the bandmembers themselves call what they do "high altitude California bluegrass"), and with musical influences ranging from blues, rock, and jazz to Celtic and old-time string band music from the Appalachians, the group could almost be termed bluegrass fusion. The group was formed after Zachary Matthews (mandolin, fiddle) and bassist Bryan Horne's band Oversoul did some unplugged gigs. Matthews...
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Live In the Northeast, Hot Buttered Rum
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