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Band Rock Bluegrass


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"Highfalootin' profile"

In the interest of painting a picture, imagine this intrepid writer relaxing after a long day of work on a warm spring afternoon. I’m reclining in a lawn chair with a beer in one hand and a smoke in the other. My notebook rests upon my stomach and my trusty tape recorder sits between my feet.

I’m lounging with three of the four members of High Falootin’ (guitarist and dobro player Chad Kinsey couldn’t be with us) in the back yard of bass player Charlie Burnett. From the outset, the experience keeps sliding from the same old question-and-answer routine to a more laid-back, informal hangout session comprised of shared anecdotes and stories largely unfit for publication. Spontaneous acoustic outbursts and multiple vocal harmonies punctuate the conversation. Burnett, singer/guitarist Dave Hurd and mandolin player Matt Underhill seem more interested in drinking beer and shooting the shit than pontificating about themselves and their music.

The scene is refreshingly out of the ordinary – most musicians are eager to reveal every inconsequential detail about themselves when interviewed. High Falootin’, however, seem reluctant to talk about High Falootin’, which makes my job kind of tough. I go with the flow, abandoning all hopes of getting an easy interview. Instead, I just hang out and party. The irony here is that I probably ended up getting a better sense of them as a band and as individuals than I would’ve gotten with all my questions.

If you haven’t heard the name before, you should know that High Falootin’ has been generating quite a stir among denizens of the live music scene due to its raucously entertaining, high-energy shows. The musicians are impressively skilled, and the music has a sort of stripped-down, acoustic country/bluegrass flavor. Their sets are at times evocative of whiskey-fueled barn burners from the Tennessee foothills, balanced with a bevy of more traditional plaintive country ballad sing-a-longs of a bygone era. Yet here they are, thriving in Lancaster .

“It’s definitely bluegrass instrumentation,” Hurd says with a shrug. “I think overall it departs from that at times, but I wouldn’t know how to define what it turns into. Our live show goes in and out. There’s a fair amount of straight bluegrass. There’s also a fair amount of rock ‘n’ roll, Irish drinking songs ... It’s a variety show.”

High Falootin’ got its start about four years ago when Hurd began playing music with Underhill, who was then playing guitar for The Inca Campers. Shortly thereafter, Burning Bus guitar player Chad Kinsey began sitting in on dobro, and High Falootin’ became a real band.

“Basically, I had just gotten a mandolin, so I wanted to learn how to play it,” Underhill explains. “The band was kind of just a fun little project, and then Chad came along and really made it into a viable act. He really helps run the band. He’s kind of the guy who whips us into shape a lot of the time. He has a very professional approach to everything.”

The band traveled to Hurd’s native Tennessee in 2005 and recorded a self-titled CD with the assistance of Nashville luminaries such as Joy Lynn White and Kevin McKendree. During the recording process, the band tapped Burnett of Modern Icons fame to fill in for original bassist Neil Kreider, who bowed out to fulfill other responsibilities.

With the exception of occasional sit-in musicians and perennial sound guy Rick Coberly, this is the current High Falootin’ lineup you can expect to see at the band’s shows. It plays at area bars such as Lancaster Dispensing Company, Shank’s Tavern and Bube’s Brewery.

As the time ticks by while we sit beneath the tree, the sun sags low in the sky and numerous beer bottles lay discarded around us in the yard.

“Now, you realize that these are all pretty much Dave’s songs, right?” Underhill asks me.

I hadn’t.

“Well, like all good bands we all have a part in arranging the songs, but Dave’s the songwriter,” Burnett says. “The funny thing about this band is that Matt, Chad and I are all professionally trained musicians. Dave’s just a natural genius. Dave has a lot of that ... natural inbred talent.”

There is a solitary moment of silence that gives way to torrents of laughter so loud that my tape recorder playback is reduced to waves of crackling distortion as we realize Burnett’s gaffe. Hurd shakes his head, smiles and points to me. “Inbred talent! Make sure that goes in the article.”

An hour later, I’m sitting at the bar at Shank’s Tavern in Marietta with Hurd and Burnett. It’s open mic night, and one-half of High Falootin’ plans on taking the stage for some fun.

I ask Hurd what the one thing is he’d like people to know about the band. He thinks for a moment. “Earlier, when we were at Charlie’s? Just having fun? That’s band practice for us. That’s us being serious.”

This nonchalance, coupled with the band’s genuine talent, is what defines High Falootin’ and makes them so enjoyable. Hurd has a cert - Fly Magazine


Highfalootin' (debut self-titled) Our song "Cotton Candy"
has been added to the rotation at iradioLA! We're currently the number 2 most requested song.



Formed in Lancaster, PA in late 2004 Highfalootin’ recently released their debut, self-titled first album. Singer/songwriter Dave Hurd grew up in rural Virginia in the late 70’s listening to the “Stained Glass Bluegrass” radio show”...and hating every minute of it! 20 years later, those bluegrass tunes infuse the original rock music of Highfalootin’ with a particularly American sort of energy that folks from all walks of life feel right at home with.
Dave worked as a carpenter for years, one day building a recording studio for Delbert McClinton piano man Kevin McKendree in exchange for “free” studio time. Transplanted from Eugene, OR to Lancaster, PA Dave found the right 3 guys, went to that studio he built in Tennessee for 3 days and, presto, Highfalootin'!