Brushfire Stankgrass
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Brushfire Stankgrass


Band Country Bluegrass


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"Brushfire Stankgrass Not Afraid to Cross Musical Boundaries"

In the ever-expanding world of genre-stretching, another characterization has evolved. Stankgrass, the brainchild of the Saylor brothers, is more than just a band name. For the bluegrass infused with primal jam rock quartet that is Brushfire Stankgrass, it’s a way of life. Asheville native and guitarist/vocalist for Brushfire Stankgrass Will Saylor recently spoke with take5.

Question: How would you describe what you do?

Answer: It’s definitely jam rock-influenced and bluegrass kind of stuff. (We do) mostly original tunes with a few crowd-pleasing covers thrown in. We like to explore anything from bluegrass to reggae to old-school country to modern rock, and anything in between.

Q: Who makes up Brushfire Stankgrass?

A: Will Saylor on guitar/vocals, Ben Saylor on banjo/vocals, Bryan White plays bass, and Ian Cunningham plays drums. My brother and I started out picking bluegrass tunes together at a pretty young age.

Q:What are the group’s collective influences?

A: Our influences run from John Hartford to the Grateful Dead to Phish. Plus, with the drummer and bassist both being active jazz musicians, there’s a heavy jazz influence. We’re influenced by everything from Hank Williams to the jam rock scene; they all just flow together (into what we do).

Q: What are your goals for the project?

A: Generally, we’ve largely been playing in and around Asheville. We wanted to put our roots down, build a strong local following first. Now that people are really starting to realize that Brushfire Stankgrass shows are a fun place to be, we’re looking to push on up into Boone, Charlotte, Knoxville, to build our regional influence.

Q: How can fans get your recordings?

A: We’re working on a new studio album right now — just laid down guitar tracks. We’ve been distributing a live compilation CD, and I rotate the songs on it so the performances are different every time. It’s a great way to catch a snapshot of what the band is doing at any given time. Also, we’re going to be offering downloads of entire shows really soon.

Q: What sets Brushfire Stankgrass apart?

A: One thing that is important to know about the Brushfire Stankgrass experience — you never know exactly what you’re going to get. We try to do at least one or two new songs per show. We incorporate a lot of silliness — we never take ourselves too seriously. We don’t let attitude get in the way. We’re not pretentious — we’re just there to have a good time, and that definitely comes across in the show.

— Laura Blackley writes for take5. E-mail her at

- Asheville Citizen-Times

"Brushfire Stankgrass To Play Town Pump"

Kicking off a busy 2007 touring schedule, Brushfire Stankgrass will be appearing Thursday January 11, 2007 at the Town Pump in Black Mountain. Headed up by brothers Will & Ben Saylor with local jazz masters Bryan White & Ian Cunningham, the group has built a steady following and looks to expand on its recent success with another Black Mountain performance.
“We’ve really been working hard on our new songs lately and with all the playing we’ve been doing, the old stuff is sounding better than ever,” says Will. “We had a packed house for our last visit to the Pump and this time promises to be even better.”
Brushfire Stankgrass has a carved a unique niche in the highly competitive newgrass music scene.
“We take the sound of traditional bluegrass music and infuse it with the improvisation, energy, and varied influences of the jam band genre,” says Ben when asked how describe Brushfire’s sound. “We call the music we play Stankgrass and it’s been great to watch people respond to it. Our audience seems to grow with every show.”
Currently the band is distributing copies of their self-produced album “Stankgrass,” which is receiving airplay on WNCW and other stations across the state. Also, recordings are now available featuring songs from recent live shows the band has played.
In addition to these live recordings; work is now underway on a new Brushfire disc of original material. “We’re very excited about the new album. The songs are really coming together and promise to break new musical ground for us,” says Ben. “We are handling the production work on the new album ourselves, so we can really devote the time needed to each song to really make the tunes sizzle. We expect big things from this album.”
Brushfire shows consist of a combination of traditional, cover, and original songs all with a healthy dose of jam. “We’ll do anything from The Grateful Dead, to John Hartford, to The Allman Brothers so there’s a little something for everybody,” says Will. “Better bring your dancing shoes.”
There is a $3 cover charge for Thursday’s performance and the show starts at 9:30pm. - Black Mountain News 1/11/07


Live - 2007



Mixing Moog effects with bluegrass backbeats, the sound of Brushfire Stankgrass is instantly unique. The Asheville group was recently voted into The Mountain Xpress’ best of WNC for the second year running, tying with The Steep Canyon Rangers & Steve Martin in the bluegrass/oldtime category. While the music is certainly not straight bluegrass, the sound is undeniably derived from mountain musical traditions. The past few years have been exciting for Brushfire with shows at Downtown After 5, the Music City Brewer’s Festival, Brewgrass, The Mountain Sports Festival, The Orange Peel, French Broad River Festival, headlining spots at the Asheville Winter Warmer Beerfest and the Asheville Downtown 4th of July celebration to name a few. Their eclectically entertaining live performances have earned the band a loyal following.

This “Stankgrass” sound has landed the group three sessions in western North Carolina’s famed WNCW Studio B over the past two years and regular airplay on independent stations nationwide. Their live concerts, recorded in stunning multi-track clarity, are downloaded from at a rate of over two hundred downloads per week to listeners all over the world. Their new album, “One for the Salamanders,” is due for release Spring 2010.

The remarkable chemistry and live experimentation in the music of Brushfire Stankgrass begins with its founding members, Ben & Will Saylor. The brothers began playing music in the Suzuki method at the age of three and picked up the banjo and guitar at 10 & 12, respectively. They still maintain their bluegrass chops today, but have added some Moog analog effects and “trance-mountain dub” rhythms to create a style which has moved beyond the traditional into truly uncharted territory; they call it Stankgrass.

Along the way the brothers Saylor have found two outstanding musicians to round out the group. Bassist Bryan White hails from the land of Merlefest (Wilkesboro, NC), and is a veteran composer and performer on upright and electric basses. Drumming virtuoso Micah Thomas slides into the newgrass-style seamlessly, having absorbed the traditional music of his native West Virginia. Both Bryan and Micah are accomplished musicians in their own right, and they maintain a busy schedule playing music full-time with multiple groups.

For more information on Bryan please visit:

“My engine runs on techno music. Imagination is how I steer”
-Banjo in my Spaceship