One of the marks of a great band is in taking a well-traveled genre and doing things within its standard context that make it seem fresh and unique, like you’re hearing its rhythms and cadences for the first time. That’s the way it is with Hickory Robot, one of the coolest new traditional Americana bands on the scene. Coming together in early 2008, the quartet formed around typical Bluegrass instrumentation and crafted a sound that basically uses Bluegrass as a launch pad for their high flying musical ideas. Hickory Robot’s debut album, last year’s Firefly, got them noticed in a big way for their aforementioned singularity and their spectacular songcraft, and their audience grows with every club date and festival they play. It’s all there in the name: wood and steel, traditional and technological, whittled and soldered, antique and advanced.
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings star in the Bluegrass musical version of The Time Machine. (Brian Baker, CityBeat)