Lively Entertainment

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An old favorite & a new local act

Have you heard Mountain Sprout yet? If you haven't, you probably have never seen anyone play bluegrass this rowdy or this fast.

Hillbilly-bluegrass band Mountain Sprout features high-speed, rollicking good times at every turn, and there are a lot of turns. The Eureka Springs-based band has been taking a break lately, cutting back their schedule, but they are headlining a show at George's in Fayetteville this Friday night.

Mountain Sprout fiddler Blayne Thiebaud plays his instrument with a quickness that awes the audience, but he manages to still hit every note within that lightning speed that leaves rosin burnin' and smoke coming off his bow. (I am not making this up!)

But all of Mountain Sprout's members are highly energetic, spitting out original tunes and entertaining listeners with witty lyrics and face-melting musicianship.

You won't hear Mountain Sprout cover many -- if any -- old bluegrass hits, either; but you won't mind when you hear these humorous story-songs about this group of moonshine-making, pot-smoking, nature-lovin' good ol' boys trying to survive life in a dry county.

The Sprouts play shows all year-round all over the country, including at Wakarusa Music Festival and its younger, smaller sister festival, Yonder Mountain String Band Harvest Fest, also held at Mulberry Mountain Resort near Ozark.

Critics and fans alike adore Mountain Sprout, which also features Grayson VanSickle playing his machine-gun banjo, slinging out a redneck novel of the members's hilarious lives; guitarist Adam Waggs, who yanks up the melody up by the ear and keeps it kickin'; and smiling Daniel Redmond, who pulls out cannon-fire notes pounding the stand-up bass.

Kevin Kinder of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote of the band after a performance in Little Rock: "Mountain Sprout has the look of wild all over them in their long beards and smoke and drink while they play attitudes. It is a potent combination and it works. The quartet plays wild and loose too, sawing fiddles or trashing banjos. They inject their funny songs about smoking and drinking and fighting with fervor and a sense of believability."

The Sprouts have taken off in the past several years, from opening up for global icons Willie Nelson and Leon Russell to performing with jamgrass standard-bearers Yonder Mountain String Band and jamband titan Widespread Panic.

Their show at George's starts around 9 p.m. and admission is $8 in advance; Admission is 18 and up.


On Saturday, come check out Eureka Springs' newest original live music.

Calling their sound "Ozark Mountain psychedelic rock," the new group is named Ice Cold Fatty and is the latest side project of Mountain Sprout bassist Dan Redmond and Fossils of Ancient Robots' Caleb Lindsey.

The play at Chelsea's Corner Cafe & Bar this Saturday around 9:30 p.m.

For Ice Cold Fatty, Lindsey plays drums and contributes vocals, and he is joined by Redmond on electric bass and vocals, Justin Easter on lead guitar and vocals, and frontman Webb Cooper on lead vocals and rhythm guitar.

I stopped by a rehearsal the other day to check them out, and I liked what I heard. Their sound is sort of Southern rock-meets-jamband with some blues and classic rock flavor thrown in. They reminded me a little of The New Mastersounds or Tea Leaf Green only a little more rock-and-roll than the latter.

The original songs were impressive, with complex songwriting and very difficult chord progressions for a "rookie" band. Someone (I suspect Webb Cooper) has been at this a while.

I was mightily impressed, I must say, with Dan's skills on the electric bass, which I've never witnessed before. While I've always thought he was a great upright bassist, I guess his laid-back, nonchalant style of playing -- at least when he is onstage with the other, more spastic members of Mountain Sprout -- has never really put him in the spotlight for me. But Wow! I was blown away by his electric bass skills; he really did shine. Many songs I heard Ice Cold Fatty rehearse featured very active, very funky bass lines, and his fingers floated over every note like milk flowing down a rock waterfall.

Justin, Ice Cold Fatty's lead guitarist, is a great musician as well -- he was seriously shredding at all the appropriate places on nearly every song I heard -- but it was not too much, as is often the case with younger, gifted guitarists. He seems to know when to step into the solo and when to back out of it, and I'm sure that as the band gels further, the transitions will become even smoother.

Webb, on lead vocals, is a treat. He has a great voice with a pure tone that is never off the mark.

And Caleb on drums -- what a surprise! He makes it look easy as he almost flippantly attacks the rhythm, moving with ease through beats and transitions that sound as professional and experienced as any drumming I've ever heard.

Ice Cold Fatty will be doing a mix of originals and covers (I heard a great one from J.J. Cale at rehearsal) at their show at Chelsea's this Saturday night.

Admission is $5 and it's open to ages 21 and up.


* Chelsea's, 10 Mountain St., 479-253-6723: Jazz Night, 9 p.m.

* Squid and Whale, 37 Spring St., 479-253-7147: Open Mic Musical Smackdown with Bloody Buddy & Friends


* Berean Coffee House, 4032 E. Van Buren, 479-244-7495: Live music, 7 p.m.

* Cathouse / Pied Piper, 82 Armstrong St., 479-363-9976: Teddy, 8 p.m.

* Chaser's, 169 E. Van Buren, 479-253-5522: Sing & Dance with Tiny, 9 p.m.

* Chelsea's, 10 Mountain St., 479-253-6723: The Biscuit Grabbers, 9 p.m.

* Eureka Live!, 35 N. Main St., 479-253-7020: DJ & Dancing 9 p.m. to close

* Jack's Place / Centerstage Live, 37 Spring St., 479-253-2219: Karaoke with DJ Goose, 8 p.m. to midnight

* The Lumberyard, 104 E. Van Buren: The Dirty Roots, 8 p.m.

* New Delhi Cafe, 2 N. Main St., 479-253-2525: Live music, 6:30 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Den, 45 Spring St., 479-363-6444: Jukebox Dance Party, 7 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Tavern, 417 W. Van Buren, 479-253-8544: Ladies Night with Skillet Lickers, 7 p.m.

* Squid & Whale: Carter Sampson and Friends, 9 p.m.


* Cathouse / Pied Piper: Teddy, 8 p.m.

* Chaser's: Ozark Thunder, 9 p.m.

* Chelsea's: Ice Cold Fatty, 9 p.m.

* Eureka Live!: DJ & Dancing 9 p.m. to close

* New Delhi Cafe: Springbilly, 6:30 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Den: Skillet Lickers, 7 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Tavern: Bad Jack Wicked, 7 p.m.

* Squid and Whale: Method 2 Madness, 9 p.m.


* Chelsea's: Black Out Boys, 6 to 10 p.m.

* Eureka Live!: Customer Appreciation Night specials 5 p.m. to close

* New Delhi Cafe: Live music, 3 p.m.


* Chelsea's: Springbilly, 9 p.m.

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Lively Entertainment is written and complied by Managing Editor Kristal Kuykendall. Deadline for venues to submit their events for inclusion is noon Mondays. Events should be emailed to and/or phoned in to 479-981-9419 by noon Monday each week. Kuykendall also writes Kristal's Northwest Arkansas Live Music Blog, which includes video and song clips of band she previews each weekend, as well as additional previews and recommendations of major, not-to-be-missed live concerts throughout the region. The blog is at

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