THE BADLY BENT
High Energy Traditional Bluegrass
BY ROBERT STEELMAN
The Badly Bent, Patrick Dressen, Robb Brophy, Bill Adams, Jeff Hibshman and Mark Epstein, bills itself as a "high energy" traditional bluegrass band. Their self-titled debut CD definitely tends to support this claim. Listening to these cuts may bring other descriptions to mind as well: exciting, energetic and entertaining. Based out of Colorado, the band demonstrates an ability to effectively tackle a variety of material. A few numbers should ring familiar like Rank Strangers. If That's The Way You Feel, Spinning Wheel and Grandfather's Clock. There is also some nice original material offered as well. Connoisseurs of fine musical instruments will appreciate the credit given to the instruments used. Look for these guys to stretch their boundaries a bit beyond the southwest and expect to hear more from them in the future. BMP
Review by Joe Ross
THE BADLY BENT -
High Energy Traditional Bluegrass
Based in Durango, Colorado, The Badly Bent demonstrates that they are a very solid regional band with plenty to enthuse a far wider national bluegrass audience. They clearly have a bluegrass bent, along with plenty of inherent passion for the music. With a contemporary edge, The Badly Bent pushes the interpretive envelope, especially when they are presenting originals such as "Where's That Cold Wind Come From?," "Dusty Knob," and "More Dollars Than Sense." Special guest Cindi Trautmann sings the former. The second is an instrumental that accelerates when composer and banjo-player Mark Epstein brings it home. The latter song bursts with hustle, and their racing performance reaches a smoldering extreme for the band's capabilities. The band also draws material from the likes of Randall Hylton ("Cold Sheets of Rain"), Bill Bryson ("Love Me of Leave Me Alone"), The Wright Brothers ("Same Old Bluegrass Story"). While other songs are from Ralph Stanley and Albert Brumley, the band definitely branches into other territory further afield than their album's "traditional bluegrass" subtitle might suggest.
Produced by Sally Van Meter, The Badly Bent's debut album is chock-full of zeal and velocity. Nimble-fingered Indiana native Mark Epstein is a masterful banjo-player, especially as he tears up a standard like "Remington Ride." Epstein has thirty years of experience as a musician and was a recent guest with the San Juan Symphony Orchestra. The rest of the band includes Bill Adams (resonator guitar), Rob Brophy (mandolin, vocals), Patrick Dressen (guitar, vocals), and Jeff Hibshman (bass). Adams is originally from South Carolina and took up resonator guitar in 1992. Brophy is a Colorado native who earned an associates degree in bluegrass music from South Plains College in Levelland, Tx. Dressen, originally from South Dakota, has lived in Colorado since 1967. He's the 1991 Colorado flatpick guitar champion and 1994 Rockygrass mandolin champion. Hibshman, a founding member of The Badly Bent, recently returned to the band as their rock solid, innovative bassist. Some of their most soulful renditions are those featuring guest Cindi Trautmann's fiddling and vocalizing ("Butcher Boy").
This band has a bad case of bluegrass enthusiasm. Collectively, they give us some charged-up music on a generous 52-minute album that will turn some heads. It's gratifying to know that they are receiving considerable airplay around the world on both standard and internet-based radio. Stay tuned for more excitement from this Colorado band. (Joe Ross)
CD Review from June, 2005 Bluegrass Unlimited
THE BADLY BENT- [June 2005 Issue]
No Label, No Number.
Colorado's Badly Bent bluegrass band describes their music as "high energy traditional bluegrass," and the contents of this collection substantiate that claim. Produced by Sally Van Meter, the 14 selections are mostly familiar melodies including "Brown Mountain Light," "Rank Strangers" and Bill Edd Wheeler's "Coal Tattoo." Also included are several band pieces like "More Dollars Than Sense" and the instrumental "Dusty Knob." One particular highpoint is guest fiddler Cindi Trautmann's vocal performance on "Same Old Bluegrass Story"[sic] and "Love Me Or Leave Me Alone." The Badly Bent has created an attractive collection of mainstream bluegrass that will leave listeners pleading for more of the same. (The Badly Bent, 6410 Co. Rd. 250, Durango, CO 81301, www.thebadlybent.com.)
Source: Bluegrass Unlimited, June 2005