by Lera Lynn
Ms. Lynn has a steady command of her craft, and a subtly smoldering intensity that instantly captivates...
~ The Atlanta Music GuideTake a listen
Bluegrass quintet Packway Handle Band has been bringing their talented picking and powerful harmonies to the Athens music scene and beyond since they first formed in 2001. The group is comprised of Josh Erwin (Guitar and Vocals), Tom Baker, (Banjo and Vocals), Andrew Heaton (Fiddle and Vocals), Michael Paynter (Mandolin and Vocals), and Zach McCoy (Bass). They have received recognition on both a local and national level, from Miller Lite’s “Locals Only” Battle of the Bands and have been voted readers’ choice as Athens’ Best Bluegrass Band multiple times in Flagpole Magazine’s Music Awards.
Packway Handle has engaged a great array of fans from those who call themselves bluegrass traditionalists to followers that would say they were never big on bluegrass in the first place. Their style is simple when they perform: unplugged and gathered around two condenser mics.
The first track in our session is a quirky repartee on one of the most frequently asked questions the band receives, “What is a Packway Handle”?. While it delivers a humorous account on what a Packway Handle most certainly is not, it showcases the personality of the band as a whole, and let’s the listener know that there is no simple answer to the question of who these gentlemen are.
While you can rely on these guys to give homage to the quintessential bluegrass sound, their original material brings an invigorating twist to timeless melodies, and they’ll be sure to surprise you when they spontaneously bring their folk flavor to the table with covers like our second recording of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground’s “I'm Waiting For The Man.” The band effortlessly translates the song from it’s traditional guitar and rock-and-roll barrelhouse-style piano based theme, to a chromatic fiddle and banjo driven arrangement, with thumping bass and flawless harmonies.
Be sure to catch Packway Handle this Saturday at the Crimson Moon in Dahlonega, GA, or for you Athens folk on the 28th at The Georgia Theatre, or find a date in a city near you at their website.
~Colleen Strzelewicz.Back to all sessions