Hayseed Dixie A Hot Piece of Grass

Beefy Nashville iconoclasts Hayseed Dixie have made their name to date by merging serious bluegrass lineage with a penchant for pillaging the classic rock canon, creating in the process what they call, sensibly enough, "rockgrass.” And, though the first half of A Hot Piece of Grass contains its share of bush party classics covered with a reverential wink, the second half’s set of rollicking hillbilly originals present a welcome departure from the band’s novelty norm. As might be expected, the countrified classic rock staples are somewhat hit-and-miss. Though skilfully done, there’s a jokiness inherent to such treatments that renders note-for-note arrangements of "War Pigs” and "Runnin’ with the Devil” little more than amusing curios. That said, Green Day’s "Holiday” is transformed here into an almost unrecognisable back-porch stomp, with timely message intact. Lest one think this is all being played strictly for laughs, however, it’s worth mentioning that band leader Barley Scotch is, by day, noted Nashville producer John Wheeler, while band-mates Don Wayne and Duncan Dale Reno are the sons of bluegrass legend Don Reno, whose immortal "Dueling Banjos” is also covered here. As such, their original tunes have the air of legitimacy: "Kirby Hill” is a dark rave-up of which the Sadies would be proud, and the tongue stays firmly in cheek on "Moonshiner’s Daughter” in which the narrator informs us that the titular character "makes me liquor all night long.” Yep, it’s that kind of funny. In short, if your hootenanny needs a hoot, grab A Hot Piece of Grass. (Cooking Vinyl)