An Evening At: The Grand Ole Echo, The Echo, Los Angeles, with Welldiggers Banquet, Grant Langston and the Ruby Friedman Orchestra

On my very last night in Los Angeles I ventured out to Echo Park to check out the Grand Ole Echo, a weekly Americana/country/roots music event held at The Echo. Once again I had no idea what to expect, this time because I was mainly going to check out the event as a concept.

It turned out to be an excellent evening, the kind of thing that I decided if I lived in town I would totally go over every Sunday. (In fact I really wish there was something like it in New York.) If you’re in the Los Angeles area, drop in on them sometime – it’s free, all ages, 5-9 PM on Sundays, April through September. Plus there’s BBQ and more music on the porch!

Confession: I did not manage to sample either the BBQ or the bluegrass band that was playing on the evening that I went. I spent all of my time indoors, absorbing the musical stylings of the following bands:

1. Welldiggers Banquet


My post-set notes on this band were “country with rockabilly swing, great stuff.” They have been a band since 2004, and their self-titled CD was released in 2007, though evidently a new record is expected shortly. I’ve been carrying their tunes around with me since I got back, and enjoying pretty much the entire record, though I do have a special fondness for Frio, White River and Charms of the City. If you enjoy a foot-stomping good time as well as the occasional ballad, check them out.

2. Grant Langston and the Supermodels


Mr. Langston and his merry crew are more rock than rockabilly, but still have a strong country core. And some seriously entertaining song titles, such as Burt Reynolds Movie Brawl which is “get me OUT of here” account of an oncoming barfight. If you enjoy the Bakersfield sound, you will enjoy them.

3. Ruby Friedman Orchestra


This band was perhaps more bluesy soul with hard rock underpinnings than Americana or country, but that didn’t bother me a bit, as they were absolutely amazing. Seriously, y’all, if they roll through your town, get out and see them. They sound like a force of nature given a voice, sometimes howling, sometimes crooning, but always bigger than life. Recommended tracks: Montmartre and It Makes Me Want To Hold Your Hand (A Little Tighter).


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