Dry Branch Fire Squad (#122)

An exceptional traditional bluegrass band—and a fine comedy act.

In more than 25 years of making music, the Dry Branch Fire Squad has built a solid reputation as an exceptional traditional bluegrass band. The band’s live shows, however, set it apart from the pack, mostly due to the humor of frontman Ron Thomason. His “wise fool” persona is the perfect comic foil to the musical mastery the group brings to the stage.

A native of southwest Virginia, Thomason founded the Dry Branch Fire Squad in 1976. To date, the band has recorded more than 21 projects on Rounder Records and performed at the most prestigious acoustic music venues and festivals in North America. This performance, featuring the Squad’s signature blend of musicianship and showmanship, was taped at the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington in 1999.

Wrote Chris Stuart, in the Southern California Bluegrass News, “Simply put, this is the best live band playing today.... Each time I was moved not only to laughter, but tears and joy as well. Every time.”