From the blood-red heart of Kansas, Split Lip Rayfield is going stronger than ever. It's completely fair to call these guys legends. It's been more than two decades since they first mashed up their aggressive stew of acoustic bluegrass instrumentation, tight country vocals, fierce metal shred and in-your-face punk sensibilities. One observer said we all "owe them a huge debt for not only defining a sound, but stretching the possibilities of the acoustic music world. Fans of Flatt & Scruggs and Metallica could find a common tent to party under."
So yeah, they virtually invented "thrashgrass." But then they kept right on moving as their chops, songs and selves grew stronger from hard-won experience. Following the 2007 death of their beloved bandmate and founder Kirk Rundstrom, SLR reinvented itself by simple staying the course and continuing to play hundreds of shows -- and there are hundreds more to go.
Their new material highlights the powerful songwriting talents of banjo innovator Eric Mardis and mandolin renegade Wayne Gottstine, while bassist Jeff Eaton holds it all down with his hand-built one-string Stitchgiver.
All of that old-school invention and energy is intact, and they still stomp the living hell out of a stage. But their songs keep getting better, and their sound is sneakier and smarter than ever. “Split Lip Rayfield is still the same band with the same ideals that we've had for years," said Gottstine. "But we’re more diverse, sound-wise, than we have ever been before.”