There are a ton of bands to be excited about in bluegrass right now, but Clay Street Unit and The Last Revel are two that need to be on everyone’s radar.
Based out of Denver, Colorado, Clay Street Unit is very new to the scene, forming in 2021 and releasing their first single and EP A Mighty Fine Evening in October 2022. Despite their nascency, the up and coming bluegrass act has already amassed a sizable and quickly growing fan base through their potent catalog and incredible live show.
Full of intricate instrumentation and impressive improvisation, the band’s live performance is a jamgrass force to be reckoned with, and has earned them opportunities to share the stage with the likes of legendary bluegrass groups such as The Infamous Stringdusters and Leftover Salmon, to play at massive festivals like Bourbon & Beyond and WinterWondergrass, and to tour throughout the country playing headlining gigs.
The six-piece outfit is carrying quite a bit of momentum into 2024, and recently announced plans for their debut full length album, produced by The Infamous Stringdusters’ Chris Pandolfi (Kitchen Dwellers, Trout Steak Revival). While further details like the release date are yet to be announced, it’s safe to say Clay Street Unit’s debut record will be out later this year, so keep make sure to keep an eye out for it.
In the meantime, though, to hold fans over, Clay Street Unit has dropped a spectacular cover of The Last Revel’s classic “Engine Trouble.”
Check it out here:
A staple cover in Clay Street Unit’s live set, I actually hadn’t heard of the song, or The Last Revel for that matter, until I heard them play it at Amos Southend in Charlotte last fall. And man, was I missing out.
The Last Revel formed in Mankato, Minnesota circa 2011, and has called Minneapolis home for most of their career. A much more established bluegrass act, The Last Revel has released five full albums and several EPs over the last decade, and has amassed millions and millions of streams in the process. A trio consisting of Vinnie Donatelle, Lee Henke, and Ryan Ackers, The Last Revel boasts an amazing string-heavy sound highlighted by tight harmonies and perfected by years on the road honing their craft. Equally as impressive as their sound, though, is the band’s songwriting, with deft lyricism shining through everywhere in their catalog.
While there was a five-year hiatus of sorts for The Last Revel, in which the original lineup of the band wasn’t intact, the three original members joined forces again prior to their latest album Dovetail, and in my opinion, this was one of the most underrated albums of 2023.
Check out the original version of The Last Revel’s “Engine Trouble” off of the 2017 album Hazard & Fate below.
I highly recommend everyone, especially bluegrass fans, check out both of these bands. So, while we’re already at it, I’ve included a few songs from each band below to get you started.
Be on the lookout for more news on Clay Street Unit’s forthcoming record, and make sure to keep an eye on each band’s touring schedule, too. You’re not going to want to miss them live when they tear through your city.