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The Waybacks: Power Trio and a Fiddler

The last time I'd seen The Waybacks, the band was tiny, but whenever it played on one of the 15 stages at MerleFest in North Carolina, it drew such a crowd that we had to stand "way in the back." (I don’t think that’s how they got their name.) Adding fiddler Warren Hood to the mix only made them better. Since Hood is classically skilled, now the Bay Area roots band can add Mozart riffs to those of Charlie Parker.

As they set up, in addition to talking about their new CD Loaded, I wondered how to ask them about the loss of founder and fingerstyle guitarist Stevie Coyle. Would they be touchy about it? What did James Nash mean as he described the new lineup as "a power trio with a fiddle"? Well, we did get into all of that. Not only were they not touchy; they were excited about their new direction and thrilled with the chance to impress. There's a reason why Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead often chooses The Waybacks to open when he tours. Listen to this session and you’ll hear why.

More About The Waybacks

In 1999, Nashville guitarist James Nash hooked up with a group of acoustic musicians in San Francisco. The experience had a profound effect on the course of his life. He switched from solid-body to acoustic guitar, and became recognized for his picking. The Waybacks, the group that grew out of this experiment, incorporates a wide variety of musical styles. Not satisfied to settle only on bluegrass melodies, the band drew from jazz, swing, folk, and even classical music for inspiration.

Fast forward past four CDs to 2008's Loaded, an album that sees an increase in original tunes -- thanks in part to the addition of fiddle phenom Warren Hood. An accomplished classical musician, Hood is also a righteous fiddler who's more than up to Nash's goal of shaking up the acoustic world. Joe Kyle Jr. on upright bass and drummer Chuck Hamilton complete the lineup.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2008 WKSU

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Jim Blum
Jim Blum has been sharing his love of folk music as a radio host on WKSU-FM for more than 25 years and, since 2003, also on FolkAlley.com. Blum graduated with a B.A. from Kent State University, played bass in a bluegrass and swing band and used to be a landscaper. As host and music programmer for Folk Alley and WKSU's weekend folk music, Blum has nearly three decades of experience broadcasting to a folk community that is now, thanks to the Internet, global in scope. His broadcasts include his own mix of musical influences featuring classic folk heroes, acoustic instrumentals, world rhythms, contemporary singer/songwriters, Americana, bluegrass and other roots-based sounds. He also acts as a valuable resource for area venue owners and concert coordinators as well as holding the position of artistic director for the Kent State Folk Festival, the nation's second oldest folk fest held on a college campus.