Gangstagrass has been cooking up the heat to stun their fans once again with the release of their 5th album and first live recording, Pocket Full of Fire. At first thought, the idea of mixing hip-hop and bluegrass and country music seems fairly ludicrous. Even though the hitmakers in Nashville have been doing this kind of thing in appalling fashion in recent years as part of their effort to pander to the mainstream, a true mix that does all genres proper justice seems difficult to come by. Yet this band of musicians and MCs have spent close to a decade doing just that, and they have managed to do it quite well. The Brooklyn group brings together rappers and pickers to create music as steeped in Appalachia as it is in beats and lyrical flow.
Of course, this type of dynamic is best experienced in the live setting where you can absorb the full ferocity of the unique interplay between seasoned bluegrass musicians and talented rappers. Pocket Full of Fire was pieced together from recordings that the band captured across the U.S. At some of those venues they also captured the performances on video and have been releasing videos to accompany the album.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the band’s take on the classic hymn “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, a song that has been recorded by seemingly every famous country, Americana, folk and soul musician. Recorded and filmed at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois, the Gangstagrass rendition finds Dobro master Landry McMeans lending her own soulful vocal prowess to the chorus. At first the song starts off peaceful and spiritual, and things take a different turn as R-Son The Voice of Reason and Dolio The Sleuth both lay down smooth lyrical flow.
Gangstagrass front man Rench shares his own thoughts on the tune:
“Our unique rendition of the traditional song was always a highlight of the set – seeing people in the crowd start to sing along, and then seeing them delight in rap verses coming in. It showcases everyone so well and exemplifies the way we bridge the traditions of country and hip-hop. I knew we had to capture this for a live video single to share it with even more people.”
Gangstagrass is on tour this summer:
June 14th- Purple Fiddle- WV
July 25th- Levitt Amp – -Stevens Point, WI
July 26- Merchant Street MusicFest – Kankakee, IL
July 28th- Levitt Amp- Galva, IL
August 7th – Music On Main – Portland OR
August 8th – Hult Center for the Performing Arts – Eugene OR