Black Twig Pickers, Northside Southpaws | Hideout | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Black Twig Pickers, Northside Southpaws Recommended Agenda Soundboard

When: Sun., June 12, 6 p.m. 2011

When West Virginia's Black Twig Pickers first came to Chicago in 2004, their unhurried tempos and loose ensemble playing betrayed their status as newcomers to old-time music. Today Nathan Bowles (banjo, percussion), Isak Howell (guitar, mouth harp), and Mike Gangloff (fiddle, banjo) still hold down day jobs, but that's the only thing that's amateur about them now. They show off their strength on their recent recorded collaborations with Minnesota folkie Charlie Parr, Glory in the House and EastMont Syrup, proving equally adept at fiery acoustic gospel and sprightly instrumentals. But it's their Thrill Jockey debut, last year's Ironto Special, that's the best measure of the skills they've honed playing regular gigs near their home—the titular Ironto—including a monthly jamboree at Virginia's historic Floyd Country Store. You'd have to be a pretty crummy dancer to trip over your feet whilst moving in time to their precisely syncopated version of "Bonaparte's March Into Russia," and even though you'd best hold onto a partner's hand when the band blows through "Pickin' Out the Devil's Eyes," the trio never makes a false step. The Twigs' singing keeps things from getting too squeaky clean; their lusty bawls on "Last Payday at Coal Creek" make you wonder if they haven't already drank half the night's door money. The Twigs will perform as a duo without Howell, and will play outside in front of the Hideout. —Bill Meyer

Price: $5-10 suggested donation

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