‘We play folk with rock attitude on bluegrass instruments’

Acoustic quartet Hayseed Dixie return to Lancashire to bring back their own breed of rock from the USA.

Hayseed Dixie
Hayseed Dixie

Barley Scotch – real name John Wheeler – has led the US Rockgrass band Hayseed Dixie since their inception in the year 2000. But what is ‘Rockgrass’? Barley explains.

“ Playing folk music with a rock attitude. Or playing rock music on instruments people typically think of as bluegrass or folk instruments.”

For Hayseed Dixie this includes banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and acoustic bass.

Since their first record A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC in 2001 they have produced 13 albums of classic rock covers.

They have even garnered support from the likes of rock legends Brian May and Gene Simmons of Kiss.

New album Hair Down To My Grass features classics like Don’t Stop Believin’, Eye Of The Tiger and Livin’ On A Prayer.

Keen TV viewers may also have seen the band performing on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny show on New Year’s Eve – but Barley Scotch is not quite sure how it came about!

“I have no idea how they go about selecting the acts for the show, but however they do it I sure appreciate the free Cava! Also the opportunity to dance with Joss Stone and have Paloma Faith sit in my lap!”

“Mr Holland sat on my knee briefly, too, but I didn’t get as excited by that, truth be told.”

“Joss Stone is cool, and a lot taller and prettier than you would think.”

Hayseed Dixie play King George’s Hall in Blackburn on February 3. They are no strangers to Lancashire having performed at Preston’s 53 Degrees, and they also headlined Darwen Live festival in 2010.

Barley admits it is a different experience playing that kind of free event than to a crowd full of their own fans.

“It’s more fun. I love seeing the look on faces when they hear I’m Keeping Your Poop In A Jar for the first time!

“Ultimately, we’re just happy to to be playing every night instead of shovelling pig poop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either, but we’d rather be playing.”

Lee Howorth