While sitting through COVID lockdowns Chris Castino of Minnesota-based rock’n’roll jam band The Big Wu teamed up with Milwaukee-based bluegrass band Chicken Wire Empire to reimagine some of his catalog into impeccably fitting bluegrass tunes. These songs were transformed and resulted in their collaborative album Fresh Pickles. Fresh Pickles is just the beginning of a heartfelt and fulfilling voyage into bluegrass— it features stomping rippers and sweet, harmonic ballads, as well as a taste of genre-shifting psychedelic rides. Always true to the tradition and authentic in presentation, this collaboration is packed with great pickin’ excitement and most importantly joy.
Fresh Pickles is a triumphant musical collaboration that was pulled right out of the ground by its Midwestern roots, from traditional folk to blends of contemporary bluegrass and jammy deliciousness. The joyous album-making process produced many special guest appearances from several GRAMMY-winning artists in the bluegrass and Americana world including Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall, Vince Herman, Nick Forster, Keller Williams, and Adam Greuel. With the help of many of Chris’s lifelong musical heroes, the record has that classic 70’s and 80’s alt-bluegrass sound, while never too far from the traditional bluegrass style that defines the genre.
This episode features recordings from Chris Castino & Chicken Wire Empire’s July 2022 performance under the tent and serves as a special experience for audiences of bluegrass purists and all lovers of great tunes.
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