Phoenix Friday: Go for Ben Sollee, discover Humming House

This afternoon’s Phoenix Friday concert, presented by WUKY-FM 91.3, features well-known Lexington musician Ben Sollee, who is taking the cello places most Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra kids probably never imagined it would go.

But there is a discovery to be made on the bill, for people who have not already heard of Nashville’s Humming House. A number of Lexingtonians certainly have heard the band, which made a stop at the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, earlier this year.

The quintet seemed a bit squeezed to the right hand side of the stage, but quickly let loose with a very muscular take on country and bluegrass, with flourishes like bassist Ben Jones adding to the foundation with a kick drum. The rhythm is strong in the group, but so are intricate arrangements, virtuosic playing and pure energy. Simple, rousing choruses are a Humming House trademark on songs such as Gypsy Django (above) or Nuts, Bolts and Screws and Great Divide from the band’s March release Revelries. The group also has a penchant for covers such as Justin Timberlake’s My Love and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean that really show off its strengths (I had never before contemplated what a treat it would be to hear Billie Jean‘s bass line on an upright, acoustic bass).

Justin Wade Tam and Leslie Rodriguez are a winning combo of lead singers, but regardless of who has the lead, the whole group is always fully engaged. So expect more than a bit of a party at the park, as long as the rain holds off.


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