Bluegrass, Whatever That Is

The Dustbowl Revival Don't Rehearse

Comments (0)


Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:11 AM
click to enlarge The Dustbowl Revival
  • The Dustbowl Revival

Combining elements of New Orleans jazz and Appalachian bluegrass, Venice-based band The Dustbowl Revival seems to come out of another era. But the band competently and inspiringly brings vitality to genres decades older than its members.

Made up at times of anywhere from five to 15 members, the acoustic collective was put together by Zach Lupetin, who spoke to us about the act. Its name comes from Lupetin's move to L.A. from Michigan five years ago in search of prosperity. "It's this idea that you come to California to make something of yourself, where it's like this promised land," he says.

Upon his arrival he put up a Craigslist ad looking for musicians. "[It] said 'Do you play any one of these 16 instruments? Do you like Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, and... Bruce Springsteen?'" It worked, and he's been playing music with the core crew the ad attracted ever since, with an assortment of added players at each show.

Dustbowl Revival fuses many styles of roots music, including folk, bluegrass, the blues, jazz, Dixieland, Americana, and gospel. It sounds a bit counterintuitive to smoothly combine bluegrass with the brazen brass of New Orleans jazz and the spiritual melisma of gospel, but they pull it off. Their latest work, Holy Ghost Station, floats between frenetic bluegrass banjo rhythms to funky horn arrangements. Lupetin calls it "funk grass." (Not to be confused with Gangstagrass.)

Dustbowl keeps their live shows earthy as well. "We never have a set list," he says. "I really like feeling out the vibe... usually in my mind, as I'm playing, I hear the song that's coming next. And I trust the band enough where I'll literally just start the next song."

But how do they know what to rehearse, then?

He raises his eyebrows. "That's another funny thing about this band. The full band is upward of 10 people, so it's very hard to get everybody in the same room... we rehearse on stage during the show."

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Nico Vega's Album Release Party
    The Sunset Strip burned up the music scene as Nico Vega launched their Lead to Light record release bash Monday night at The Roxy. Dark Waves played an amazing debut performance, while Queen Caveat broke open the the jammed packed club. Nico Vegas frontwoman Aja Volkman danced in the crowd, brought the party on stage, and painted dots on fans foreheads. Good times as always on the Strip! All photos by Michele McManmon.
  • Air Guitar Championship Semifinals @ The Troubadour
    The Southwest Semifinals of the US Air Guitar Championship were held last Saturday at the historic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. The event determined who would compete as regional representatives at the 2014 National Finals in Kansas City on August 9th. The colorful contestants (many of whom opted for elaborate codpieces) were judged by comedians Kristen Schaal and the Sklar Brothers. The top score was awarded to crowd-surfing guitarist Kingslayer, the mother of a teenage son who also competed wearing little more than an American flag bathing suit. All photos by Gustavo Turner.
  • Lina in L.A. -- Country in the City
    Greg Allman kicked off KCRW and the Annenberg Foundation's free concert series on Saturday evening in cool fashion. The series, in conjunction with Annenberg's current exhibit, "Country -- Portrait of An American Sound," features superstars and rising stars from the genre on an outdoor stage in Century Park, plus food trucks, beer gardens and museum entry. More info at kcrw.com.