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Basic Folk: Barnstar!

May 23, 2024

Basic Folk: Barnstar!

Barnstar!, Boston’s premier kinda bluegrass and definitely bombastic band, has released their new album Furious Kindness and we’re #blessed to welcome Mark Erelli and Zachariah Hickman to the pod. Originally a fun side hustle and bluegrass vehicle for Zack, the group – which also includes Charlie Rose and Taylor and Jake Armerding – started very casually performing at the legendary local Cantab Lounge. Zack accurately likens the vibe of the place to a basement Star Wars Cantina full of bluegrass bands.


In between their main gigs with performers like Josh Ritter and Lori McKenna and amidst their solo careers, Barnstar! has cultivated explosive live performances filled with energy and emotional expression, leaving concert attendees cheering and crying along. Included in their repertoire are some of the finest covers including many that you’d never expect to see on a kind of bluegrass band album, like The Hold Steady, Patty Griffin, Elliott Smith, and Elizabeth & The Catapult.

On this episode of Basic Folk, we talk about what it’s like to bring a cover song to the band to learn as well as co-writing with friends like Dinty Child and Chuck Prophet. We’d be remiss if we did not address the alien-like quality of Mark Erelli’s singing voice and learn that it is because of his bestie Zack and Barnstar! that he can sing like this. Now he finds himself performing vocal warm-ups before hitting the stage with the guys. Not something he ever thought he’d do. All members of Barnstar! contribute to and sing on the new album, Furious Kindness, a recording that just wants to shout in your face about how awesome you really are.

Photo Credit: Sasha Pedro

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Basic Folk: Barnstar!
Basic Folk: Barnstar!