For years, Boise Bob and his Backyard Band have brought swampy, raucous, hootenanny energy to the people of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. And this Friday, they'll be playing washtub basses, fiddles, and banjos at Churchill's Pub's American Roots Festival where hillbilly heritage and knee-slapping will be celebrated openly.
"We play a few different styles," banjo and kick drum player Dan Hosker says. "Some stuff is more easy-breezy, sing-along country tunes. And then we have a tune called 'Mother Jones' that's about coal miners in West Virginia."
If you've never seen these guys perform, you should this weekend. Boise Bob pens songs like "Possum Meat," "Well Runs Dry," and "Swamp Song," stuff that should be cherished and honored with appropriately country elbow swinging.
Hosker is a guitarist. But he says, "Boise Bob asked me to give the banjo a whirl." When he first saw them playing as a trio, "I thought they had a really, great, raw, primitive thing going on," and he said to himself, "I'd love to be a part of this." Hosker has been a part of other projects over the years, including a large scale noise orchestra with Rat Bastard that was performed at the Dorsch Gallery in Wynwood. Meanwhile, Boise Bob and his Backyard Band has also opened for Otto Von Schirach in the gallery's actual backyard, introducing a downtown art crowd to good, old-fashioned Americana.
They play instruments traditional to American folk music, things you're less likely to see at Bardot. "It's in the vein of garbage art," Hosker exlains, referring to the washboard and washtub bass. "It just came out of the landscape. Two instruments that are based on washing your clothes became instruments out of accessibility."
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Of these instruments one might deem unusual to urban Miami, Hosker says, "I think you're seeing it quite a bit more of it these days. People are getting back to roots. I call it primitive, a little less complicated."
Boise Bob and His Backyard Band buddies have been traveling around the state touring, making their way from St. Pete to Fort Meyers. They just completed their next album, which should be at the top of your shopping list. This weekend, though, expect "a whole hell of a lot of fun," according to Hosker. "We're not here to bring anyone down. We're just there to hoot and holler."
The American Roots Festival with Boise Bob and His Backyard Band, Darling Sweets, The Loxahatchee Sinners Union, The Wholetones, Ain't No Mother Fucker, Lone Wolf, Xela Zaid, and Uncle Scotchy. Friday, September 23. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The hootenanny starts at 7 p.m to 5 a.m. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.