Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't mean a thang without that twang

Kier Byrnes hears it all the time: "Oh, I don't like country music, but I like your band."

That band is Three Day Threshold, a fast-pickin', hard-drinkin', hell-raisin' sort of troupe some call "Americana" because the musicians aren't old geezers, and  others simply like to call good ol' country music. No matter what it's labeled, Three Day Threshold's music has a distinct twang in its Boston accent.

Three Day Threshold really jelled when given the opportunity to be the Thursday night house band at the old Mama Kin club on Lansdowne Street. The band has gone on the rake in all sorts of "best of" accolades, and not just around home.

"We were flown to Kentucky by Fred Noe, the master distiller at Jim Beam, to play at a private party for him. He had no idea where we were from. He just heard our music and liked it," Byrnes says.

With a bunch of songs about whiskey, and even more about being under the influence of whiskey, it's easy to hear what in Three Day Threshold's music caught Jim Beam's ear. But beneath the hijinks is a band with some serious chops.

Byrnes plays banjo and guitar, and the group also includes washboard, bass, drums, and, at times, fiddle, all of it wielded with precision and authority.

"Finding the right musicians is like finding the right girlfriend," Byrnes says. "Fate plays a role in finding the right ones."

But he knows what he's looking for, saying, "Personality comes first, but they also need a high level of musicianship. We're playing at breakneck speeds."

You can see for yourself when the Three Day Threshold does a special bluegrass set Friday in the Coppertop. And by bluegrass Byrnes means fleet-fingered picking with no less attitude compared to when the band is fully plugged in. Show time is 8 p.m.

Three Day Threshold spent so much time touring last year_ including shows in the Middle East where it entertained U.S. troops_ that the band is just now getting down to putting together material for the follow up to the raging "Straight Out of the Barrel" CD.

Byrnes says he may try out some of the new tunes at the Coppertop. New or old, though, he knows what he wants out of a Three Day Threshold song.

"I love music that tells a story and that is lively," Byrnes says. "And that's what this music does."

And that's probably why no matter what it's called, a lot of people are liking it.

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