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Progressive Bluegrass Quintet Cornmeal Does NYC

Cornmeal on the Relix Rooftop

Chicago’s Cornmeal brought their rockin’ brand of progressive bluegrass through NYC the other night, giving me the opportunity to analyze the bands new lineup in an intimate and larger-scale environment.

During the afternoon, on a warm, breezy NYC afternoon that exclaims “SPRING IS COMING,” I was able to catch Cornmeal’s private rooftop session on the roof of the Relix offices. The group jammed out two new songs, stretching them to the 7-minute mark with improvisational solos led in large part by guitarist Scott Tipping, but accented by Wavy Dave Burlingame’s banjo upstrokes on a nice reggae bridge they jammed on.

The rooftop session served as a nice appetizer for the main course at the Brooklyn Bowl. Just a short walk to my house, I headed there just in time to catch the opening song. They picked up right where they left off, with a heavy dose of progressive bluegrass lifted higher by the drumming of Drew Littel. The band dove feet first in to shredding solos that broke up the honky-tonk nature of their songwriting, again with Tipping taking the lead on most occasions.

Despite a mild turnout on a Tuesday evening, Cornmeal brought their A-game. The quintet blitzed through two hours worth of material that made everyone grateful for the room we had to hop, skip, jump and dance around in. The venue optimized the occasion with solid sound and, of course, some delicious Brooklyn Brewery on tap.


Cornmeal @ The Brooklyn Bowl

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