Jackass Flats
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Jackass Flats


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"Purgatory Mountain CD Review"

Jackass Flats is a five member bluegrass band from Richmond, Va., that has created an exciting compilation of contemporary bluegrass. All 12 titles were composed by bandmembers Travis Rinehart and Stephen Kuester, including "Freedom Song," "At The Mercy," "Murder Ballad," and "Carolina Girl." There is some especially captivating instrumental work on "Quit Trying To Save Me." Jackass Flats has created some magical musical moments that should earn the group an abundance of attention. - Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

"9x Magazine CD Review"

Going on a decade ago, there were a couple of college-aged friends who liked to sit around the Fan and pick bluegrass instruments. They enjoyed playing the Beatles ‘She Came In Through the Bathroom Window’ as much as they liked playing the Seldom Scene’s ‘C&O Canal.’ There were virtually no bounds to the tunes they chose to pluck through and learn, and there was a geniality to the playing and the comradery. Those two guys were Stephen Kuester and Travis Rinehart, now the heart of the highly regarded regional bluegrass band, Jackass Flats. Back then, these were just two fellows with tremendous voices, each his own, who enjoyed music for music’s sake. Well, look at them now.
After gaining a substantial regional following, and playing venues as esteemed as the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Jackass Flats has just released Purgatory Mountain, a driving, dynamic record of all ORIGINAL bluegrass. I cannot overstate how important it is for young bluegrass bands to be writing/releasing new material. Fans of the genre are direly disserved by being forced to listen to another version of ‘Rocky Top,’ ‘John Hardy,’ or the ‘Freebird’ of bluegrass, ‘Orange Blossom Special.’ With Purgatory Mountain, Jackass Flats joins the ranks of King Wilkie, Old School Freight Train, and the Hackensaw Boys (the first two made us proud by playing MerleFest this year) as central Virginia’s up-and-comers on the National bluegrass scene. Each band has a signature style, and Jackass Flats leans on their exceptional vocals, strong fiddle playing by Dennis Elliott (warms my heart!), and diverse songwriting to put them near or AT the head of the pack.
Kuester and Rinehart write all of the band’s material, typically solo, and with their unique talents, each brings a different spice that adds to what becomes a fine aural stew of an album. Vocally and instrumentally, Rinehart (banjo) is the Ralph to Kuester’s (guitar) Carter Stanley. This is not to compare their music to the Stanley’s, but to use the analogy of two opposite voices blending to make a music all it’s own. Rinehart’s is the high lonesome voice that could peel paint, and Ruester’s is the midrangey, warm one (think a gutsy James Taylor). Rinehart wrote the title cut, the wailing instrumental, ‘Purgatory Mountain,’ and Kuester wrote such storytelling standouts as ‘Freedom Song’ and ‘Murder Ballad.’ All told, with nice touches of fiddle, dobro, and a thumping doghouse bass, this young band of mighty marauders blend mountain style and new grass to form a sound that is quite appealing to these ears. Here’s to the success of local music, and here’s hoping that Jackass Flats makes the Ryman stage a standard setting for their shows, for years to come. - J. Holdren 9x Magazine


Purgatory Mountain - Full Length All Original CD
Miracle - Single- Played on radio and internet
Freedom Song - Single - Played on radio and internet
Train 2732 - Single - Played on radio and internet



Starting out in 2000 as a group of like minded musicians, Jackass Flats has taken their sound from their hometown of Richmond, VA, to the nation's premier venues and festival stages. Fueld by original songwriting, award winning musicianship, and exhilarating bluegrass instrumentation, Jackass Flats epitomizes the new generation of acoustic string bands who combine creativity and tradition to produce something all together unique.

Since taking home Virginia State Champion Bluegrass Band honors in 2002, the boys have been crowd favorites on the bluegrass, americana, and world music scenes. In 2003 Jackass Flats took their local music scene by storm and were awarded Best Bluegrass/Country Band by internet magazine Richmond.com, who called the band "masters of backwoods symphonies". In 2004 the band was presented with a Virginia Music Award for The Best Americana Jamband . In the summer of 2005 alone, the band performed at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and has shared billing with groups as diverse as The Wailers, Del McCoury Band, Ani Difranco, Victor Wooten Band, Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, Sam Bush Band, Xavier Rudd, Tony Rice, Drive By Truckers, and J.D Crowe and the New South.

The typical show has Jackass Flats picking their way through original material, fresh arrangements of bluegrass standands, and non-traditional tunes from genres as varied as rock, reggae, and jazz. With the release of their second album Purgatory Mountain, the band have fulfilled one of their longtime dreams, to release an album of all original music that reflects their love of bluegrass tradition and their determination to create a sound that is all their own.