Anyone who has been to a Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle performance knows that the entire show is really one long love song. The band, comprised of Ian Mathieu, Scott Risner, Casey Campbell, and Matt “Buffalo Wabs” Wabnitz, spend their entire set demonstrating their love of music, love of performing, love of their hometown, and their love of their many fans.
Last Saturday during their CD release party for their live album Revival that love was returned in spades. The band received greater and greater applause from the packed crowd, reaching its crescendo with the finale of “Long John Blues,” a traditional folk song with a call and response chorus that engages and enlivens the audience.
“We love what we do, and we’re glad that you love it, too” percussionist Casey Campbell told the crowd.
The show took place at Southgate House Revival, which is also where the CD was recorded over two days in January. There’s hardly a song on the album that doesn’t make the listener want to tap a foot or clap along with the band. That’s similar to The Hustle’s live shows, which are the bluegrass version of hot yoga, with the crowd of bodies raising the room’s temperature and foot-stomping, clapping and the occasional dosey-do leaving the audience nearly as spent as the energetic performers.
The Hustle demonstrate both on their CD and in concert that they are a true band. They take a unique position on stage, with each member in a line across the stage front - no one takes a backseat. Vocals, lead and harmony, are shared amongst members as well.
One of the highlights of both the album and the show was The Hustle’s version of the Hank Williams Sr. classic “Ramblin Man.” Risner adds a mandolin to the song that you didn’t ever realize was missing until hearing The Hustle play it.
“He’s the one that makes us sound like we know what we’re doing,” Campbell told the audience. He was joking, of course, as each band member plays with a combination of abandon and precision.
Another special moment during the concert was when The Hustle invited all the members of their two opening acts, Willow Tree Carolers and Tyler Childers & The Food Stamps onstage for a rousing version of “Goodnight Irene.” Childers, originally from Paintsville, sings with pure Appalachian grit and lyrics whose depth seem to come from someone far older than his 22 years. The Willow Tree Carolers opened and set the tone with their own up-tempo folk sound, including “Alligator Blues,” “One Foot in the Grave,” and “Stackin Stones,” all of which defy the listener to keep still.
While “Revival” is mostly newly recorded material, “Walkin Down the Line,” and “The Very Best” from the previous EP “Nothin Like a Lincoln” are included as live tracks. “The Very Best,” which Campbell called “a beautiful, beautiful tune,” during the show, displays range with the vocal harmonies and a tempo change halfway through the song.
Check out pics from the Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle Release Party HERE!