March 7, 2012

B-sides

Old time and right now

The Pee Wee Valley-based quartet Whiskey Bent Valley is releasing its second album, also called Whiskey Bent Valley, with concerts Friday at the Shepherdsville Music Barn and Saturday at Kenna’s Korner. LEO talks to guitar/banjo/harmonica man Mason Dixon.

LEO: Tell me about your new album.

Mason Dixon: Our new album is a true sound of where this band has been and went over the last five or six years. It has our take on old-time mountain music, the stuff we have grown up around and love to share with new people each and every time we take the stage. It has over 10 tracks on it, most original, some from the early 1900s … very fiddle- and banjo-driven with a high-energy feel … I just wanted a hard-driving old-time record, full of blazing fiddle and foot-stompin’ good times.

LEO: Outside of Kentucky, do you encounter audience members who expect a certain hillbilly stereotype?

MD: When we go out of the state and play, we always get a great reaction from folks. Some people say, “Now, that’s really mountain music,” or “These boys are the real deal hillbillies (laughs).” It’s fun to play off of.

LEO: Your wardrobe — how do you match garments with music?

MD: We have always, for the most part, dressed how we do now — nothing has really changed that. We don’t just play old-time music, we live it every day. Some of us buy and sell junk on the side, going to auctions and estate sales. We just love finding the old-time stuff.

LEO: To beard or not to beard?

MD: To beard is the answer. We all have beards besides Leroy. We get a lot of comments on the music, the clothes and the beards. It makes for a true, honest feel for what we are doing.

WBV also play on April 5 with Ralph Stanley at Headliners. Check out whiskeybentvalley.tumblr.com.