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The Waybacks

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They draw freely from the old school and the old world, but The Waybacks are no throwback. They’ve been erroneously pigeonholed as a bluegrass band and celebrated as purveyors of “acoustic mayhem.” They are as uninhibited and unpredictable as the eclectic San Francisco Bay area that claims them, and for nearly a decade, their experiments have always proven sharp-witted and musically dazzling. They’re living proof that in music anyway, evolution and intelligent design are entirely compatible. “The whole spirit of improvisation, that’s always been the cornerstone of this band for me,” says founding singer, songwriter and guitarist James Nash. “Through all the stylistic changes and regardless of the instruments we’re playing, to me the fun of this band has always been that in some ways I can do whatever I feel like doing at any moment.”
They’ve been through changes for sure. Now a four-piece with a full arsenal of acoustic and electric instruments, The Waybacks are releasing Loaded, the boldest, rangiest and most exciting album of their career. Produced by Nashville bassist, composer and consummate sideman Byron House, it’s a musical rebuke to anyone who would typecast true artistry.

The folk and roots underpinnings that have long been a Waybacks hallmark are still there, but after years of playing a huge range of venues and festivals, touring with Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir, and reconfiguring themselves around the hot guitar of James Nash and the fiddle virtuosity of Warren Hood, The Waybacks are enjoying a refreshed repertoire, one that’s touched by Memphis soul, honky-tonk, Parisian swing, classical music, vintage blue pop and much more besides.

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