For Old Time’s Sake
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades have crafted a modern take on bluegrass featuring all the elements of traditional bluegrass you would expect to find, tight vocal harmonies, inventive soloing, and strong instrumental interplay, but delivered with a youthful energy, an engaging honesty, and a loose sense of fun, allowing them to exist as something new, a bluegrass band for the 21st century, a new-time, old-time string band.
Often lost in the adventurous exuberance of progressive bluegrass bands like Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is how closely tied they still are to the roots of the music. It is easy to hear a forward-thinking explosion of picking that seems miles away from what might be thought of as traditional bluegrass and not recognize that those same roots that powered the genesis of bluegrass are the same that power a band like Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades latest album, For Old Time’s Sake, is a collection of old-timey, traditional songs they have been playing since first starting together as a band in their home state of Wisconsin. They are songs that are still a regular part of their live shows and help define who Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is as a band. Ranging from the harmonica-driven “Darlin’ Corey,” to the classic, “Tennessee Waltz,” to the meditative “Roseville Fair,” to the high-octane thrash of “Skillet,” and “Old Plank Road,” (with its appropriately altered lyrics, ‘Eighteen pounds of weed a week, and plenty more to sell/ How can a Horseshoe stay at home when the pretty girls look so swell’),” the album’s thirteen tracks highlight the band’s deep understanding and respect for the long tradition of bluegrass and old-timey music.
For Old Time’s Sake highlights the dual nature of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades as they exhibit their ability to fit seamlessly into an old-time, string band world with the way they inhabit each song, wearing them like a cozy sweater, yet at the same time stretching and pulling them as they make each well-known tune uniquely their own. For Old Time’s Sake is delivered with an explosive spark and an unbridled joy, reminiscent of what makes Horseshoes & Hand Grenades so special on stage. It is what the band simply calls “that good ol’ live energy.”