Muskrat Family BBQ to hit stage tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

Come out this evening and see what all the fuss was about.

TGIF fans in Suffolk will get to enjoy traditional blue grass and old-time music this evening as Muskrat Family Barbecue takes the stage.

The band will begin playing 6:30. Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina will open at 5:30 and close at 10. There is no admission charge.

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Combining its traditional music with jazz, jugband, satirical pop-references and wild antics, Muskrat Family Barbecue creates a spectacle to behold, according to promotional literature. The band, whose appearance under the name of Special Ed and the Short Bus prompted a protest from the Suffolk School Board last spring, has eight members and is often visited on stage by an extended musical family.

Hailing from Richmond, the Muskrat Family Barbecue contains former members of the Celtibillies, the Furnace Mountain Band, the Flying Cows of Ventry and other Virginia acts. While young in the world of bluegrass, some of the members have already begun to prove themselves, winning competitions at festivals throughout Virginia. Performances contain a wide variety of music with &uot;wacky skits, carefree onstage banter, and constant audience interaction.&uot;

Influences range from the bluegrass of Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and David Grisman, Frank Zappa, Prince and Ween.

Because of the variety of musical styles, they have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with a wide range of bands, including Virginia bluegrass heroes Nothin’ Fancy, NYC’s afrobeat ensemble Antibalas, the Frank Zappa super-tribute band Project Object, Richmond’s own Devil’s Workshop Brass Band, jamgrassers Railroad Earth, and a host of various bluegrass, reggae, punk, and rock bands.

In March of 2004 they released their first two albums-Special Ed and the Shortbus Bluegrass Band and Downhill from Here. Given the wide variety in both their music and crowd types (from honkytonk to family festival), the band decided it was best to put out one &uot;clean&uot; and one &uot;dirty&uot; album, the literature stated.

Both albums together give a complete picture of the band.

Whatever the type of music, their main goal is to stretch it and bend it into their own brand of Americana. With a combined list of more two hundred traditional songs and tunes, covers and original material, there’s always something for everyone at a Muskrat Family Barbecue

show.

The TGIF summer concert series is sponsored by the Suffolk Department of Parks & Recreation, Duke Automotive, Edward Jones, Blair Brothers Inc., Budweiser and the Suffolk News-Herald.

andy.prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com