Anyone who caught Dustin Welch opening for Mark Germino last month at Anderson Fair, or for James McMurtry at the Continental earlier this year, is already aware of a singular talent rising through the ranks of Americana music. Welch, the son of Oklahoma songcrafter Kevin Welch, brings a new level of artistry to the banjo, bending new and exciting sounds from that most arcane instrument.
Welch ranges from plinky off-kilter country to the full-on jet-engine blast of Drive By Truckers, and his songs, which feature several co-writes with Germino like “Whisky Priest,” delve into a life-experience level far beyond his tender age. The opening track of his Whisky Priest EP, “Don’t Tell ‘Em Nothing,” and the broken-bottle fight soundtrack of “Empty Parking Lots” are as razor-sharp and dangerously surly as anything Mike Cooley does with Drive By Truckers, while at other times Welch and his gang take their music out to the freaky poetic fringes visited by the likes of Bare Jr. and Lambchop. No telling who will accompany Welch on his first foray into the Volcano, but it probably won’t be anyone fans of this kind of music will want to miss. – William Michael Smith
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