Theres no lack of string bands these days offering reverent takes on bluegrass and old-timey music. Ballhog break from the pack, however, with an irreverence that finds a home mostly in amusing, lighthearted lyrics. Their stories range from a rambling man whos come to see the lightcoming the other way in the form of the Holy Ghost Trainto their winner-turned-loser ode Where I Went Wrong, which counsels, Take a look inside yourself and see what makes you tick / and dont let no one steer you off, theyre just a bunch of naysayers. Their playing is tight and lively but hardly yoked to tradition, mimicking a blithe lyrical tone with breezy bluegrass swing courtesy of buoyant horn parts. Exceptionally tuneful, the spirited septets carefree vibe is eminently infectious. Formed almost a decade ago, they released their self-titled full-length debut in 2006 and are close to following it up with an as-yet-untitled album.
Thu., Dec. 31, 9 p.m., 2009