14/9/2023 Hayseed Dixie Review by Claire Spencer

Hayseed Dixie play classic rock songs in their own inimitable Hillbilly blue grass country style that they have dubbed 'Rockgrass.' The clue's in the name - Hayseed Dixie: AC/DC. Get it? So to be sure, tonight there'd be their take on greats like Queen, Sabbath, Metallica, Motorhead and of course AC/DC with whom they are actually good friends. Their first album, released in 2001, entitled 'A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC,' consisted entirely of AC/DC covers, and charted in Billboard's Bluegrass charts. Make no mistake, these guys are seriously good musicians who are respected in Nashville, that veritable Mecca of country music.

As well as their whimsical C&W take on rock music's finest, they have also written songs that cock a snook at themselves and life in a style reminiscent of the old Shel Silverstein songs sung by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show prior to them going all sloppy and commercial. For sure, their mandolin player, 'Hippy' Joe Hymas, would not be out of place in the old Medicine Show lineup alongside Ray Sawyer (the guy with the eyepatch) and lead vocalist Dennis Locorriere.

This four piece band has no drummer; none is necessary as Jake Byers' bass adds the right amount of depth to the overall sound of the band. Add to that, Tim Carter's wonderful banjo picking, Joe's mandolin and guitarist/violinist John 'Barleyscotch' Wheeler's wonderful narrative dialogues, and there you have Hayseed Dixie in a nutshell.

There was a support band at this sellout gig in the persons of The Fargo Railroad Company. Guesting tonight on steel guitar was Big Jim Widdop, looking and sounding to all the world as if he'd just stepped off the plane from Nashville.

After the support we didn't have to wait long before Hayseed Dixie hit he ground running with 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,' one of a handful of AC/DC covers along with more rock classics all given the band's patented Rockgrass treatment. John Wheeler was in fine form interspersing the songs with interesting chit chat. As well as the rockgrass covers there were some amusing bluegrass songs. I really liked the reworking of Drunken Sailor in the form of 'Jug of Whiskey' as well as the ever popular 'Duelling Banjos.' 'Drinking Again' was one of those songs that would have sat well with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show as most definitely would 'I Keep Your Poop In A Jar.'

After the gig, the merch stand saw brisk business, and the band didn't hide themselves away in the green room, but mingled and chatted with those who hadn't dashed off home. John Wheeler was especially good fun to chat with as was Hippy Joe Hymas, who really looked the part in his patched dungarees.