By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Haywire Fiddlehead believes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Following in the footsteps of musicians in their families and legendary artists like Bill Monroe, the trio performs straight-up, old-fashioned, traditional bluegrass.
“People always ask me, ‘What do you think about bluegrass being a dying art,’” Aaron, the band’s mandolin player, said. “It’s not. There are still a ton of people playing it. I don’t think it’ll ever die.”
Haywire Fiddlehead is Aaron, his brother, Caleb, on guitar, and Aaron’s girlfriend Selena Sneed on acoustic bass.
The Russell brothers have been playing music since they were kids; now Caleb is 22 and Aaron is 25.
“The first gig we ever played, we weren’t old enough to be in the place we were playing,” Caleb said.
The guys learned how to play from family members and grew up listening to the likes of Monroe and David Grisman. Though lots of younger bluegrass bands are blending the traditional style with other genres, Haywire Fiddlehead likes keeping things old-fashioned.
“We’ll always be a fan of the old-school style. Maybe one day we might get crazy and expand on it,” Caleb said, laughing.
Haywire Fiddlehead has been playing at the Biscuits & Jam Farmers’ Market in New Albany since June. Early visitors to the market get a free biscuit; the jam is Haywire Fiddlehead’s music.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Aaron said. “Those people are really nice. We haven’t left yet without a crate full of produce. We have more work when we go home, because we have to put all of that up.”
New Albany has been good to the group; earlier this year Caleb scored the Mississippi Bluegrass Guitar Champion title at the Down from the Hills Festival in the town.
“I got third place for two years, and then this year I got first. I’m always blown away by the musicians up there. I’m very honored,” Caleb said.
Haywire Fiddlehead is also scheduled to perform at this year’s Tallahatchie RiverFest in New Albany.
With high profile gigs like that on the horizon, the band is ready to make music a steady profession.
“Right now our goal is to do as many gigs as we can, and play to as many people as we can,” Caleb said.
“If we get rich off of it,” Aaron added, “we’ll just have to deal with it.”
Where to See’em
• The band performs each Saturday morning from 7-10 at the Biscuits
& Jam Farmer’s Market in New Albany. It’s a free show and on the
corner of Bankhead and Main streets on the Old Ray Ford tractor property. For more info, call (662) 534-1916.
• The trio also has two Oxford shows lined up: Ajax Diner on Friday and Two Stick on July 26. Both shows should start about 9 p.m. and are free.
• Haywire Fiddlehead will also perform at this year’s Tallahatchie RiverFest in New Albany on Sept. 22.