Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival 2018
I was going through my videos of footage captured at various bluegrass outings down through the years. I don’t have many (videos), and even fewer that are presentable. But I found a trio of clips from Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen’s set as they closed out day two of the 2018 Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival, only one of which would have been sufficient to necessitate a posting here.

L-r: Chris Luquette, guitar; Frank Solivan, mandolin; Jeremy Middleton, bass; Mike Munford, banjo. Collectively Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen. Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival 2018, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 5, 2018.

At the risk of offending, two-time Grammy nominated Dirty Kitchen, with a slogan ‘All Grass, All The Time!’, is a Marmite band, an informal British-based term meaning in this case that you either like their line-muddying, boundary-pushing, refuses-to-be-pigeonholed brand of bluegrass or you don’t (Marmite itself is a UK brand name for a malodorous salty-tasting yeast-based spread that’s both popular and polarizing – it’s either liked or disliked and there’s very little middle ground). However you class their take on the genre, the quartet, a two-time (2014 and 2016) IBMA’s Instrumental Group of the Year (they sing as well, by the way), let their instruments speak for themselves, and speak they do. I guess that’s why I hit record on my camera. Three times, for three choice morsels, you could say.

LINE DRIVE | Hail Mike Munford. I’d seen ‘Line Drive’, taken from their 2010 self-titled debut release, on the YouTubes (there’s a Music City Roots clip out there from August 2012 as captured in Nashville’s The Loveless Barn), saw it well before this 2018 Bluegrass Island jaunt. But with Dirty Kitchen live is where it’s at.

CHRIS LUQUETTE | Chris Luquette, 2013 IBMA Momentum Award recipient for Instrumentalist of the Year. The boy can play, as he proves on this epic six-plus-minute guitar solo.

The boss approves. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Bluegrass Island 2018, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 5, 2018.

CRACK OF NOON | Last one. ‘Crack of Noon’ taken off Dirty Kitchen’s latest 2019 release If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Grammy nominated for Best Bluegrass Album – their previous album release, 2014’s Cold Spell, was also Grammy nominated for Best Bluegrass Album.

Banjo Man. Mike Munford, your 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen. Bluegrass Island 2018, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 5, 2018.

I spoke to Frank backstage, friendly first forays as I queried the viability of getting them to Ireland for a set or two sometime in the future (no stranger to Europe, Dirty Kitchen had only recently returned from a European tour).

“We’re expensive, but worth it,” I was told.

“I bet.”

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