Vermont is rarely equated with country spinoffs such as hillbilly, rockabilly, or bluegrass. But the Starline Rhythm Boys are making waves in the Green Mountain state and beyond with a high-powered blend of the bare elements that make those American music forms great.
SRB evokes the spirited country and juke joint sounds that echoed out of the Tennessee Hills and Texas Honkytonks of the 1940s and 50s. Many of their songs are originals that are steeped in tradition and ring like instant classics. The instrumentation of acoustic guitar, upright bass, and electric guitar is small, but the sound is real big. From the dance floors of neon lit downtown night spots, to the bar stools of rural honky tonks, to the stages of large venue theatres, the trio's driving rhythm keeps the crowds dancing till last call. Depending on the event, they have been known to add pedal steel and other instrumentation. Recently opening a show for Ricky Skaggs, the Boys played a blistering set and left the stage to a rousing standing ovation. When they met backstage, Skaggs asked, "Did you leave any for me?"
2002 was a big year for the trio. Their CD, "Honky Tonk Livin'", topped the Freeform American Roots (FAR) music charts for two months and was named FAR's Best Album of 2002. Seven Days (Burlington, VT) also chose their disk to top the list, and the Burlington Free Press named them Best Vermont Band.
There's plenty of crowd-pleasing, toe-tapping, swing-dancing music for everyone when the Starline Rhythm Boys play. When these Boys go to town, be sure to step out with them for the best time around!
written by Diane Manion-Scolaro
former director, Onion River (VT) Arts Council