At this point, Split Lip Rayfield have essentially reached legendary status in not only their home state of Kansas, but also inside and outside of the national bluegrass scene. This is in no large part thanks to their raucous shows that are often filled with whoopin’ and hollerin’ from the crowd along with a LOT of whiskey.
However, the unique approach to bluegrass has made them one of the most influential, if not underappreciated, modern bluegrass bands. From almost the very beginning of their more-than-twenty year career, Split Lip Rayfield have taken the traditional American music of bluegrass and injected it with the speed of thrash metal and the attitude of punk. They’ve also included an array of other influences such as gypsy jazz and alt-country. This is not to say that they stray away from the traditions of bluegrass: many of their songs are reminiscent of the older styles of bluegrass, and their instrumentation has never strayed away from their acoustic instruments: guitar, mandolin, banjo, and a legendary gas-tank bass (affectionately known as “Stitchgiver”).
On My Way is the band’s sixth full length, and while it has everything fans have come to love from the band (down-on-your-luck lyrics, three-part vocal harmonies, and expert playing among many other elements), it also features some of the band’s strongest work to date. Songs like “I Don’t Need a Gun”, “Deck of Many Things” are fast and furious, but both are excellently crafted. The former has an almost gypsy-jazz-like chord and guitar solo, while the latter has some unexpected chord changes and an incredible banjo solo. Split Lip Rayfield is also not afraid to slow it down on songs like “Drunk and Sad” and “On My Way”, the latter being arguably their most straightforward bluegrass song on the album.
Fans know what to expect from Split Lip Rayfield, and that’s why they keep coming back. On My Way is another excellent addition to an already high-quality catalogue.
Recommended If You Like: Bad Livers, Larry and His Flask, .357 String Band, Hackensaw Boys, Old Crow Medicine Show
Recommended Tracks: 1 (That’s My Girl), 3 (Drunk and Sad), 4 (Deck of Many Things), 7 (Lake), 8 (I Don’t Need a Gun)
Do Not Play: 9 (All F****d Up)
Written by Josh Gaston on 03/15/2017