Go folk Yourself Review

February 15, 2013

by Laura Kazdan

The NYCity Slickers have been gathering buzz for their live cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” as a bluegrass ballad, and they are finally releasing it just in time for Valentine’s Day. The song will come as a free download when you pre-order their Songs From Home EP due out in late April. The cover features lady gang vocals, fiddle picking, and dueling string solos. Abigail Hardin sings with Katy meets Loretta, full-throttle intensity, and she is backed by both her mother and father. What could have easily seemed gimmicky or cloying actually ends up highlighting the sincerity within Perry’s lyrics, and it ends up sounding like the song you hope your crush asks you to dance to at the barn raising.

The NYCity Slickers are a New York born and bred bluegrass band that somehow manages to feel authentic rather than derivative. It could be their (at minimum) seven-person set-up that includes banjos, fiddles, mandolins, and an upright bass. It could be their smart selection of original and classic songs, ranging from Southern stand-bys to out-there bayou b-sides. It could be their live energy and friendly disposition during shows. They’re often cracking dopey jokes in between songs that could only make Katy Perry’s punchline damning boyfriend laugh. Whatever the reason, catching them live feels sort of like wandering into a jam session at some remote Mississippi bar where the whiskey is freely flowing and you half expect someone to pass a washboard your way. The Songs From Home EP was actually recorded while on tour down south this autumn, so expect that atmosphere to carry through.

Originally published on folkyourself.com