NASH STREET: Where bluegrass meets country

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – There’s bluegrass, there’s country, and then there’s grassroots country.

That’s what Nash Street calls its brand of music, a blend of equal parts country and bluegrass. The band, which hails from Starkville, has perfected its sound over the years through lots of performing and practicing.

“Originally, Nash Street was created more as a bluegrass string band,” said fiddle player Hannah Melby. “Over the years, as the band members changed, each person had a different style of their own, so that’s the reason we call it grassroots country. It really is a mix.”

Hannah and her sister, Caroline, are joined in the band by Daniel Hare, Ben Mathis and Clay Lezon, and Mathis said the group walks a fine line between country and bluegrass.

“We all love bluegrass, and we’re all moving in a more country direction, but we don’t want to let go of that bluegrass and that history,” Mathis said. “It’s exciting. It’s upbeat, and a lot of people can really relate to it.”

2010 and beyond

The last several years have been good to Nash Street.

The band won the top prize at the Country Colgate Showdown in 2008, taking home the title “Best New Act in Country Music.”

The band has thrived on that momentum, keeping a steady roster of gigs and working to gain more fans.

Right now, the band is focused on recording a new album. Nash Street has received many songs from Nashville songwriters, and they’re going through them now, hand-picking the ones that have that unique Nash Street feel.

“When you listen to a song, you can hear something different every single time – that’s the kind of music every musician wants to play,” Mathis said. “When we’re listening to these songs, we’re asking ourselves if people can relate to them and speak to someone and touch them.”

While the songs and studio are still being decided, the band has set a release date: March 20.

After the album’s released, Nash Street will take grassroots country on the road again.

“When we get up on stage, we really put everything in our show,” Melby said.

Mathis agreed.

“We definitely pride ourselves on being able to play songs that all audiences can listen to and enjoy,” he said. “It’s live and upbeat and a lot of fun.”

Music Mix at the Link

Who: Nash Street

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Link Centre, Tupelo

Cost: $10

Info: (662) 690-4011