Have you ever heard of Uncle Walt's Band? Three guys: Walter Hyatt on guitar, Champ Hood on guitar, fiddle, and mandolin, and David Ball on stand-up bass... all singers, all songwriters.
That's them below, about the time I first heard them -- left to right, Champ, David, and Walter.
They started out in South Carolina, and their soft Southern accents were so much a part of their sound. They became very popular in Austin during the mid-'70s, and that's where I first heard them, at Waterloo Ice House one summer night. They were sort of bluegrassy and jazzy at the same time, old-style
jazz... they sounded like they could have beamed in directly from the year 1925 or so.
And they were the nicest guys, very genuine people, all about the music
-- not fame or money, but just making good honest music every day of their lives. They were so beloved. I remember sitting on the grass one night at Symphony Square as they played, with lightning flickering in the distance and the whole audience singing along, knowing every word of every song... it was pure bliss.
But Walter Hyatt was aboard the ValuJet flight that crashed in the Florida Everglades... and Champ Hood died of cancer a few years ago. So it's only David Ball now, and he's working in Nashville, doing pretty well as a country artist.
But Champ's son Warren is making a name for himself as a fiddler like his dad. And to think, I remember helping his mom change his diaper in the ladies' room during a show one night!
Anyway... Uncle Walt's Band sounds like nobody else I've ever heard... there's a lilt and a jauntiness and a wry little smile in their music that just plain makes me happy. You can hear a couple of music clips and buy two wonderful CDs here:http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/musi...504289,00.html