Best Bluegrass Band - 2011
The Local Gents
Many young bluegrass bands require a pound of weed and an iPod full of Yonder Mountain String Band bootlegs just to get warmed up. The Local Gents needs only a single microphone. Preferring to perform in the classic one-mic formation of such bluegrass gods as Bill Monroe and Jim and Jesse, the five musicians — stratospheric tenor singer and banjoist Will Miskall, singer and guitarist Kevin Smith, mandolin player Michael Jonas, bassist Brian Johnson and virtuoso fiddler Ian Walsh — bob and weave their way through old and new material. It takes a seasoned but ambitious band to tackle such sacred ground as Monroe's "With Body and Soul." The Gents is one such band; together these pickers have more than enough chops and vision to preserve and smartly reshape what true-blue bluegrass is all about.