Sound Bites: Jan. 11, 2019

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Friday, Jan 11
Rush Morgan’s Birthday Jam
Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Dr., Greenville
9 p.m.

Last year, Upstate singer, songwriter and guitarist Rush Morgan was invited to take part in a celebratory all-star birthday jam for LOZ band drummer Ryan “Dr. Luv Beatz” McCarthy, and the experience was so enjoyable that it gave him an idea. “I wanted to do something similar, but not exactly the same,” Morgan says. “I wanted a get together with a lot of musicians who I respect and admire for both their artistry and as people.” Morgan created a sort of house-band for his birthday jam at Gottrocks, including himself, guitarist John Durham, bassist Neil Alexander and drummer Gavin Glover. That band will back a revolving cast of singers throughout the night, including Morgan himself. “It’s like a community sort of show,” Morgan says. “John and Gavin are my first-calls, and Neil is an amazing bass player. I’m part of this community and these guys are too, and it’s really cool to be able to put together a show like this.”

Friday, Jan. 11
Fireside Collective
The Spinning Jenny, 107 Cannon St., Greer
8 p.m.
$12 adv., $16 door

The Asheville acoustic quintet known as Fireside Collective got quite a boost in 2017 when, on the heels of their album Life Between The Lines, they were nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for a Momentum Award, which recognizes fast-rising bluegrass-style bands in the early stages of their careers. That nomination opened up doors for the Collective that they’d never even known were there. “The IBMA helped us get a lot of attention and get in front of a lot of new talent buyers and promoters,” says Fireside’s Jesse Iaquinto, who sings and plays mandolin. “We’ll be playing
the WinterGrass festival out in Washington in February, and we don’t tour out there, so there’s no other way we would’ve gotten this opportunity without that nomination.” That having been said, getting attention from a fairly traditional organization took the band a bit by surprise, because while bluegrass is PART of their sound, it’s certainly not the whole picture. “I’ve always respected the IBMA, but I never thought they’d embrace us the way they have,” Iaquinto says. “The0re’s a lot of beauty in original bluegrass sound, but it was also written for people in the 1950s. I kind of think of what we do as an
interpretation of that original bluegrass after hearing classic rock and all that good stuff and blending it with the world we live in now.”

Saturday, Jan. 12
Sierra Hull
Peace Center (Gunter Theatre), 300 S. Main St., Greenville
8 p.m.
$35

One would imagine that it takes quite a talent to impress both banjo master Bela Fleck AND popular singer/fiddle player Alison Krauss, but that’s what mandolin player Sierra Hull has done and she did it before reaching the tender age of 27. “She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved,” Fleck once said of Hull, “and now her vocals and songwriting have matured to the level of her virtuosity.” Krauss added that “I think she’s endless. I don’t see any boundaries. Talent like hers is so rare, and I don’t think it stops.” High praise indeed, from two of the giants of modern acoustic music, but Hull has the chops and the songwriting ability to back up the hype. She’s been considered a virtuoso since she was 11 years old, she signed with the venerable label
Rounder Records when she was 13, and Hull has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Oh, and she’s also the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music. She’s really good, is what we’re saying.

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