We travel back in time to our last Southern Fried in 2018 and one of the most memorable moments in the festival's history. The brilliant Whiskey Shivers followed their rapturously received set in The Salutation Hotel with an impromptu and breakneck rendition of the bluegrass standard Rocky Top in the bar.
Whiskey Shivers are a diverse group of masterfully talented musicians who stand out like a sore thumb from the traditional bluegrass world, Whiskey Shivers have made a name for themselves with a genre-pushing sound that the Washington Post called “apocalyptic Americana” and NPR described as “frenetic bluegrass” with a “punk spirit”.
On Some Part of Something, their fifth album and “strongest” (Austin Chronicle) release yet, Whiskey Shivers hit their stride, refining their unique sound in the studio while still capturing the infectiously chaotic feeling of their live shows. Whiskey Shivers shows are always a sight to behold. Barefoot, sleeveless and sweaty, frontman and fiddle master Bobby Fitzgerald never stops smiling on stage. “All right! Let’s kick this thing in the face!” he barks, as the band tears into their stringed instruments at breakneck speed. It’s almost impossible to watch him perform more than a song or two without cracking a smile yourself. His exuberance is contagious, and it bleeds through into the music. Whether they’re playing at a backyard house party, a punk-rock dive bar or a sprawling music festival, crowds take notice. People put down their phones, pick up their drinks and start dancing.
“Whiskey Shivers isn’t just the five of us on stage, it’s everybody in the room,” Fitzgerald says. “We try to bring everybody into the moment and get them to realize there’s no wall between us and the crowd. We’re all in this together, and we’re all here to have a good time. We’ll do our best to facilitate it, but it takes all of us to make it happen. When you start to feel that, you can’t help but feel a little attachment and become invested in the show. You realize, ‘Oh, I’m here to have good time too!’”
With grateful thanks to John Watson for the video.