Hickory – Music in the Mill presents Mipso this Friday, July 28, with doors opening at 8pm. Show starts at 8:10pm. Tickets are $15 at www.musicinthemill.com. The opening act is Forlorn Strangers.
Chapel Hill quartet Mipso return with new a new album, Coming Down The Mountain — ten songs of love and loss and forward motion, with words that sear and salve in turn, and music that invites you in to stay a while. Mipso ventures further than ever from their string-band pedigree to discover a broader Americana where classic folk-rock and modern alt-country mingle easily with Appalachian tradition.
Their 2015 album, Old Time Reverie, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart despite including sounds far afield from a Flatt and Scruggs record. Just a couple years before, guitarist Joseph Terrell, fiddler Libby Rodenbough, mandolin player Jacob Sharp, and bassist Wood Robinson were in college together at UNC-Chapel Hill, where they met for the first time even with being NC natives every one.
Now, it seems as if Mipso has been bringing their music to hungry audiences daily since, touring constantly, doing countless festivals, and even playing the odd nationally televised event (2015’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) or political bash (2017’s inaugural ball for their governor Roy Cooper).
Libby admits that all that movement takes a toll. “We hit a crazed state of being either hysterically happy or annoyed with each other. Food helps. We all agree on tacos,” she says. “But travel becomes the lens we use to view everything.”
Opening for Mipso, roots-loving, Nashville-based, foot-stomping string quintet Forlorn Strangers is simultaneously innovative and steeped in the tradition of Americana-Folk music. Entertaining comparisons to an “Americana Fleetwood Mac,” Forlorn Strangers are comprised of five unique songwriters whose individual songwriting and performance styles complement one another to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Beyond a like-minded appreciation for roots music, family ties add to the band dynamic: Abigail and Hannah are sisters, and Hannah and Ben are married. According to band members, family is better described as the foundation for the music than an influence — and that feeling of closeness isn’t limited to those related by blood. “We are all family,” says Chris. On a practical level, the band’s deep connection also lends strength to its unforgettable five-part harmonies featuring band members Abigail Dempsey (fiddle, percussion, vocals); Hannah Leigh Lusk (mandolin, percussion, upright bass, vocals); Chris Banke (guitar, mandolin, vocals); Benjamin Lusk (banjo, guitar, vocals); and Jesse Thompson (upright bass, dobro, guitar, vocals).
Music in the Mill is located at 883 Highland Ave., SE, in Hickory, 28602. Phone: 828.324.9464.
Photos: Mipso & Forlorn Strangers