Black Twig Pickers Agenda Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m. 2013

As a transplanted southwest Virginian, I’m picky as hell about “old-time” music. It’s one thing to impress beard farmers in Williamsburg or Logan Square, but quite another to earn a spot among the real masters in the places where this music was born—and I think you’d quite rightly be suspicious of an “old-time” band signed to Thrill Jockey. But the Black Twig Pickers, based in Virginia and West Virginia, are as much the real deal as a bunch of folks with metaphorical hard-ons for Tony Conrad can be (they share members with Pelt and Spiral Joy Band). How real? At the Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, Nathan Bowles won second in the banjo category, and the band as a whole took fourth in that contest. Their latest, Rough Carpenters (Thrill Jockey), has everything I want from this style: the silvery, reedy, windy ’n’ watery string tones, the fluent dance rhythms, the plaintive harmonies, the effortless-seeming interplay of instruments. Appalachian music of this type isn’t in any real danger of dying out, despite what some writers who don’t know the culture would have you believe—so it doesn’t actually need bands with the Black Twig Pickers’ crossover appeal to “bring it to a new generation” in indie clubs. But such ambassadors are a fine, fine thing for it to have, as long as they’re as good as this. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $7

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