Capturing the Soul of American Music
Dry Branch Fire Squad is the onliest band to have appeared at all sixty-one iterations of The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. I’ve begun to realize that Ron Thomason, the band’s leader throughout its history, is a sort of Forest Gump of bluegrass. He’s been THERE from the start at Fincastle and seems to have been involved in many of the most important moments in bluegrass history, either as a spectator or participant. He also represents the closest thing bluegrass has to offer to a genuine Will Rogers, Mark Twain kind of humorist. Ron describes himself as a conservative in the deepest sense of the word, clinging to the most important values that have helped to forge the strengths of our nation. His patter often hits home with pinpoint accuracy on elements of our society worthy of attention. Many hit home while others zoom right over the heads of those who could most benefit from understanding. Social commentary coupled with song choice from the oldest traditions of music to new and catching lyrics make Dry Branch Fire Squad one of the most important and entertaining bands in bluegrass much deserving of wider recognition.
There is no band in bluegrass or country music today that captures the soul of American music better than the Fire Squad. Keith Lawrence, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
For (almost 40) years Dry Branch Fire Squad has been one of bluegrass music’s most popular bands, renowned for its spry mix of front-porch standards, modern ballads, and the old-time sounds from which bluegrass first sprang. The (quartet) is positively adored for its droll, scampy stage shows, fueled by Ron Thomason’s cornpone-and-hard-cider wit. On their irresistible new Rounder concert CD, Live at the Newburyport Firehouse…his laconic monologues unfurl like long, laze serpents: When they strike, it’s with such suddenness and accuracy that they almost leave you too breathless to laugh. Almost. Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
With a career spanning (nearly 40) years and a baker’s dozen albums, they have simultaneously preserved and expanded upon the bluegrass tradition. Musically, their starting point is a powerful, ruggedly soulful brand of classic bluegrass, which they enliven and reinvent using a wide ranging repertoire which encompasses vintage and contemporary sources. Sue Ann Pearson–NBP Firehouse Concert Hall
I don’t know which I enjoy more – Dry Branch Fire Squad’s hard-core, purebred bluegrass music, or leader/mc Ron Thomason’s hilariously droll “country bumpkin” (but not really) monologues that are also a big part of the band’s show and new, double-disc “Live at the Newburyport Fire House” set on Rounder. Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News
It¹s old-time vocals shouted out with honesty and conviction rough edges proudly showing, breathtakingly quick that bring to mind free-spirited wild horses, Ron Thomason¹s biting satire and wry political commentary, hauntingly moving a cappella gospel songs, pure unadulterated old-time religion set to mountain music. This is the Dry Branch Fire Squad. Nancy Cardwell, Bluegrass Now.