Out of the box, Waybacks head to Red Room

Waybacks photographed in San Francisco, March 21, 2008 ©Jay Blakesberg/Retna LTD.
Waybacks photographed in 2008 ©Jay Blakesberg/Retna LTD.

The Waybacks announced recently that they’re hitting the road with “all eight hands on deck.”

That’s two hands each for guitarist James Nash, fiddler Warren Hood, bassist Joe Kyle Jr. and drummer Chuck Hamilton.

Don’t put the Waybacks in a box. The San Francisco band has been described as progressive bluegrass with a penchant for “acoustic mayhem.” But the muscians have played with the likes of Bob Weir, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Susan Tedeschi and Joan Osborne.

Think newgrass, Americana, rock, roots, jazz and swing. Hood called the Waybacks a “power trio with fiddle.”

They’ve played festivals that include the MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They’ve covered entire classic rock albums from bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

On Saturday night, all eight hands will be on deck for a free Red Room show at the Crystal Bay Casino. The musical magic starts at 10 p.m.

The Chicago Tribune’s David Royko noted the band’s “near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline and originality.”

Founding singer and songwriter Nash told String Theory Media’s Craig Havighurst: “Through all the stylistic changes and regardless of the instruments we’re playing, to me the fun of the band has always been that in some ways I can do whatever I feel like doing at the moment.”

Hood, who joined the band nine years ago, chimed in: “I really couldn’t put (The Waybacks) into a genre, but I guess that’s what I like about it. I’d rather be in a band that plays a little of everything than a band that lives in one genre all night.”

On Friday night, The Waybacks will headline the sixth-annual HopeFest in Carson City. The free concert will be held on the grounds of the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center, 1535 Medical Center Parkway. Proceeds from food, drink and raffle ticket sales will benefit local cancer patients’ basic needs beyond medical treatment.

 Jay Blakesberg took the Waybacks photo on the top of this story.
Jay Blakesberg took the Waybacks photo on the top of this story.

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