Venoms cast a spell with hot bluegrass

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comAugust 30, 2012 

Bluegrass is the latest export from the home of musicians Jay-Z, Lena Horne and Neil Diamond.

Six Deadly Venoms, a sextet, played Los Banos by way of Brooklyn, N.Y., last week at the Ted Falasco Arts Center. And, the Los Banos Arts Council's concert series starts Sept. 8.

Venoms played mostly from its latest album, "The Lucky and the Losers."

"It's a brand-new record we just made," said mandolin player Elio Schiavo.

Venoms came armed with bluegrass tools -- a mandolin, banjo, guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass and dobro, or resonator guitar.

The band played a cover of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues" and later played Hank Williams-esque "Train of Love," from the new album.

Many of the songs on the concert's set list -- like "The 'Keep It' Reel" -- had the guitar and mandolin picks moving at the speed of Earl Scruggs.

Kevin Wagner, who listened from the audience, said he heard bluegrass legend Bill Monroe often when he was growing up in Indiana, so he's a fan of the music. He was struck by Venoms' fusion of styles.

"You can tell they have their roots to Bill Monroe, but a lot of their chord changes are less traditional ... it's kind of leaning even towards jazz," he said.

Sarah Sagouspe, an Arts Council board member, said Los Banos was fortunate to get Venoms on short notice. The band has been touring California and picked up the gig about two weeks before the show.

"This kind of fell into our laps, and we took it," she said. "I'm glad we took it, because it's a good turnout."

The Arts Center was half full for the concert.

Concert series begins

The Arts Council's first concert in the series features country and Western singer-songwriter Terry Brown, who has toured with Aaron Tippin, Toby Keith and Brooks and Dunn. The Los Banosan will perform music, and wife Hilda Machado-Brown will show off her trick- and fancy-roping skills.

The couple will play the Ted Falasco Arts Center, 1105 Fifth St., at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8. Tickets are available at the door for $20.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

enterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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