Chris Castino (from The Big Wu) and Chicken Wire Empire are releasing a new album (Fresh Pickles) on February 4 with a preview show at the Hook and Ladder on January 28. The new work will sound strangely familiar to fans of The Big Wu, it includes new Bluegrass renditions of favorite The Big Wu songs.
We got a chance to talk to Chris a few years ago with other members of The Big Wu. Chris has chosen songs from The Big Wu and reworked them with Chicken Wire Empire (from Milwaukee) to add a Bluegrass/Americana spice to the music. It’s like turning a favorite flannel shirt into a quilt. At times the connection is clear; at times it feels so different.
The music is still super family-friendly and great for dancing but the bob of the jam band sound is replaced by the foot stomp pluck of the banjo. It still feels like a festival vibe – just a different festival. Chris has stacked the deck in his favor with a cast of impressive musical guests on the album: Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Vince Herman, Nick Forster, Tim O’Brien, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Andy Hall, and Album Co-Producer Adam Greuel.
Sounds like this may open some doors to future original Bluegrass songs from Chris!