Hayseed Dixie to play Birmingham
American bluegrass stars Hayseed Dixie will make a return to the Midlands when they headline Birmingham’s O2 Institute 2 on Wednesday.
They have been regular visitors to the West Midlands and the Black Country since forming in Tennessee in 2000 and making a breakthrough the following year with their Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC, which consisted of acoustic hillbilly-styled reworkings of AC/DC songs.
The band is led by frontman John Wheeler, aka Barley Scotch, and they have released 15 albums and played more than 1,300 dates in 31 countries.
Hayseed Dixie has performed at major European folk and rock music festivals, including an appearance opening the main stage at Glastonbury in 2005 and a similar appearance at Download Festival.
The band’s most recent album had a political message and was called Free Your Mind and Your Grass Will Follow.
John says: “We all live in a context, after all. For example, I’ve got a lot of respect for Billy Bragg. He’s a nice guy, and we were on the same record label for years, but I want to do the opposite of what he wants to do.
He wants to take a real firm stance and be a Labour Party man and pro-unions, and he’s got a real topical message which he’s passionate about. I don’t want to tell you who you should and shouldn’t vote for.
“Politicians come and go, so I’m much more interested in the ideas behind the politics, because they’re much more powerful. When a lot of people are collectively feeling a whole lot of upheaval, it affects us too, because we’re living in that same world. The two biggest lies that have been sold to working people since the Roman Empire are these: First, that there is such a thing as race, from a biological point of view. The pigment of your skin simply isn’t a fundamental biological trait. The second is that there is some kind of glorious national past that we could recapture if we could just get rid of the people who are screwing it up.”