“....such a tight, melody driven, harmony singin', songwriting band.”
— Larry Cordle
The Bluegrass Outlaws are a band of professional musicians from east Tennessee put together by Chris and Becky Webb Monk in 2016. The band consists of Becky on Bass and Lead/Harmony Vocals, Chris on Banjo, Andy Stinnett on Mandolin and Lead/Harmony Vocals, Joshua Raines on Guitar and Lead/Harmony Vocals, Jacob Metz on Dobro Lead/Harmony vocals.
BLUEGRASS TODAY John Lawless | August 16, 2016
The Bluegrass Outlaws have made a lot of big steps since forming at the beginning of this year. The talented group won the 2016 SPBGMA Band Championship in February.
Based in East Tennessee, the band epitomizes the powerful, “mash style” so prevalent in that part of the country. Aggressive instrumentation and a fanatical devotion to the groove lay behind the strong vocals of Becky Webb Monk, with her husband Chris Monk on banjo, Joshua Raines on guitar, Andy Stinnett on mandolin, and Jacob Metz on Dobro.
They have released a first single to radio from their upcoming album. Upper Big Branch Mine was written by Becky and Chris, with help from her brother Darrell Webb. It tells the true story of the Massey Energy mining disaster in West Virginia on April 5, 2010, where 29 of 31 men were killed when a coal explosion caused a cave in. Becky and Darrell’s dad was a coal miner in West Virginia, and so was Chris’ in Virginia.
Their full, self-titled, debut album is set to release September 5. You can find out more about The Bluegrass Outlaws on their web site.
Several years ago, a sibling band based out of Florida took the bluegrass world by storm when they won the 2012 SPGBMA Band Competition and set off on a powerful career that recently earned them a number of IBMA Awards, including Song of the Year and Album of the Year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock with your Bill Monroe box set, you probably know that this group is Flatt Lonesome.
Could a similar path to success be in the stars for the Bluegrass Outlaws, this year’s SPBGMA Band Competition winners? The group, fronted by husband and wife team Becky Webb Monk and Chris Monk, jumped head first into the bluegrass world after taking home first place during what was essentially their first public performance as a band. They recently released their debut, self-titled album, a twelve-track collection that favors the popular, mash-grass style.
The record is a solid mixture of original material and a few bluegrass favorites, often rendered in a straight-ahead, in-your-face style that fans of the modern traditional sound should enjoy. Chris’s banjo gets things started on No Regrets, a “take this job and shove it” tale sung forcefully by Becky. As she sings lines like “I’ve leavin’ here with no regrets, I’ve put in all my time. I’ve paid my dues, I’m out of here, no worries on my mind,” she sounds like she means it – she’s got better things to do, so she’s moving on. She wrote both this song and several others on the album, including Raging Storms, a similarly powerful number about a treacherous flood.
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