Although Kentucky’s nickname “The Bluegrass State” is specifically referring to the type of grass native to this region, it just so happens that bluegrass music has it’s roots in this region as well. With such a long history of Appalachian/folk music in this area, the bluegrass music being made in this region currently is some of the best around. Being on the other side of the river from Kentucky, Cincinnati is guilty by association. One specific band that has recently made quite a name for themselves is this city’s very own “Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle”.
They come from Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood, and are composed of Matt Wabnitz (AKA Buffalo Wabs) and his three bandmates, Casey Campbell, Ian Matthieu, and Scott Risner (AKA The Price Hill Hustle). When the four members decided to form a band after playing together around the local bluegrass scene, Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle was formed.
In a very short amount of time, the band has made themselves stand out as one of the most high energy, naturally talented group of bluegrass/folk musicians in the area. Taking inspiration from some of the greatest in the game, these four guys put a modern spin on traditional Appalacian music. Their upbeat rhythms and animated stage presence make a Buffalo Wabs show unforgettable. If the music isn’t memorable enough, the experience in general should leave an impression. They have developed quite an impressive fanbase in their short existence, full of dedicated fans that come out time and time again to contribute to the fun environment that is created at each one of their concerts. If the show is good enough, you might even overhear some of the loyal fans saying that they have been “hustled”. Don’t be fooled, this is actually an endearing compliment towards the musicians, and should be met with a high five in return.
Perhaps one of the most obvious elements that make Buffalo Wabs unique among the other bands in the genre is their incorporation of the drums. Besides the washboard, it is quite uncommon to hear any percussion in bluegrass music, but by incorporating drums into the traditional array of stringed instruments, they have created their own unique sound that blends the old with the new. Between the fast paced drum beats and the lightning fast finger picking, you may struggle to keep up with your toe tapping and foot stomping on the dance floor (but we encourage you to try).
One thing that always amazes me about bluegrass music is that it has a history over a century old. It has been around longer than almost any modern genre, yet the music, style, and culture behind it has stayed the same. While other genres like jazz and rock and roll have grown and evolved as technology improved, bluegrass music tends to stay near it’s roots. As generations go by, there always seems to be a group of young talented musicians that keep the traditions alive. Traditions like gathering around a campfire and jamming on the classics like Blue Moon of Kentucky or Rocky Top. These are the same traditions that Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle are upholding at every show. With their help, and the support of loyal fans, bluegrass music will continue to live on for years to come.