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The best kept secret in music


"Mighty Lumberhorn CD review"

The lumberhorn is a 2 x 4 with an echo chamber on the bottom, and two piano strings tuned with wing nuts. The sensibility that would lead someone (lumberhorninst B.J. McCrow) to conceive of and build such an instrument instead of just using a bass pervades Blood Is Thicker Than Moonshine, and that’s a good thing.

The Mighty Lumberhorn describe their sound as “hillbilly music,” but it’s hillbilly music for 2004, which means that they incorporate the occasional searing electric guitar solo into their bluegrass/country base and write songs about Tupac Shakur. It also means that they have weird, irreverent takes on such subjects as religion (“What Would Jesus Drive,” “I’m Gonna Burn In Hell,” “Hallelujah”) and romance (“Shotgun Wedding”).

Songwriting duties are split between McCrow and banjo/guitar player Boy Howdy, with one song by mandolinist Buster P. Highman, the marijuana ode “Tale of Two Janes.” McCrow’s songs tend to be stranger, peaking with “Armageddon Over You,” which makes personality types out of Hershey’s miniatures, quotes Aerosmith, and mashes the Green Acres theme together with the main riff from Iron Man. Of course, “stranger” is a relative term–Boy Howdy being responsible for “I’ll Come Back and Haunt You When I Die,” among other songs.

Still, it’s not all silly. There’s genuine bite to the humor, and there’s a traditionally-styled lonesome drunk country song, “Wish You Were Here”–although it sounds flat compared to the rest of the album’s weird fun. However, the odd but uplifting “Crow Can Fly” and the genuinely bile-filled “Northwest Indiana” prove that The Mighty Lumberhorn can be serious without losing energy and creativity.

Blood Is Thicker Than Moonshine is available at Atomic Records, Lotus Land Records, Rush-Mor Records, Tip Top Atomic Shop, Jackpot,, and at shows. For more information, see

Riverwest Currents online edition - June, 2004| TrackBack (0) | Comments (0) - Riverwest Currents

"Band has bluegrass written all over its overalls"

Band name

The Mighty Lumberhorn

Who's who
Lumberhornist (a hillbilly washtub bass) B.J. McCrow, banjoist-guitarist Boy Howdy, drummer Jeffro, fiddler Heather Lewin Tiarks, McCrow spoke for the band.

When formed
"Fall of 2003. Howdy got the idea to start a jug band, and me and my lumberhorn took note. The rest is history."

Web site

Most recent album
"Blood Is Thicker than Moonshine."

They say they sound like
"The combination of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs meeting Black Sabbath."

We say they sound like
See above response.

Describe your look
"Bib overalls, with lots of flannel and duct tape."

Sell yourself in 20 words or less
"We're trying to create a new standard in hillbilly music. We're putting more rhythm than usual in bluegrass while maintaining every lilt, moan and twang."

Favorite food on the road
"Barbecued roadkill with a Lil' Debbie snack cake for dessert."

Unofficial band beverage
"Mountain Dew and whiskey on the rocks."

What other band or musician could you take in a fight?
"Hank Williams Sr., but only 'cuz he's dead."

First gig
"In a barn. Honestly. It was a private party somewhere in Racine County."

Worst gig
"See above response."

Weirdest fan encounter
"The time we were playing O'Keefe's House of Hamburg (formerly Port of Hamburg), across the street from the airport. A guy there jumped onstage and tried to play along with us while blowing into three kazoos."

Song you've written that you're most proud of
" 'Crow Can Fly.' "

Favorite cover song in your live show
" 'The Foggy Mountain Decathalon,' our rendition of 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown,' but with Howdy playing 10 different instruments by the end of the song."

Biggest band achievement
"Being booked at a big bluegrass festival that takes place this summer in Cecil, Wisconsin."

Why do you do this?
"Because it's beautiful and because it's the coming thing."

Where do you want to be in five years?
"Touring China, turning on the masses to the joys of hillbilly music."

What's the greatest song ever written?
" 'Happy Boy,' by the Beat Farmers."

Next gig
A CD release party at 10 p.m. Saturday at Up & Under Pub, 1216 E. Brady St. Roots-rockers The Two Probers (featuring Rob Atwood and Jeff Hamilton, formerly Dos Proberos) open the show ($5).

- Nick Carter

- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Blood is Thicker Than Moonshine (2004, Full-length CD recorded by a previous lineup of the same band)

American Standards: Lumberhorn! Live! (2007 live album)

Nothing Ever Happened (coming April 2008)

audio is available at

We have had airplay and have been guests on WMSE 91.7 FM.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lumberhorn is a combination of great songs, expert musicianship and amazing energy:

The story starts with a few friends, a banjo, a bass of the washtub variety and a suitcase kick drum looking for an outlet for some pretty clever original songs. Over time, the set list filled out with the funniest and most fun traditional (and non-traditional) songs of the last 200 years, and now the Lumberhorn catalog touches on everything from groundhogs to gangster rappers.

No bluegrass band is complete without a fiddle, and with the addition of world class fiddler Heather Lewin (only after the completion of the first record, unfortunately), Lumberhorn gained major musical credibility. Heather leads the band through set after set of old-time fiddle tunes, adds the fills and solos right where you need them and along with Boy Howdy and BJ, completes the three part harmony that you just can't fake.

There are no slow songs at a Lumberhorn show, but there are singalongs and we're not above bribing the folks with kazoos.