Philly has a long and storied musical past, from Blue Eyed Soul (Hall & Oates) and legit Soul (Gamble and Huff) to Hair Metal, lost and lots of Hair Metal (Cinderella, Britny Fox, Tangier, Poison…). But Bluegrass is not one of the genres that usually come to mind when you think of Philadelphia. The complicatedly-named Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves? could possibly change that.
On their 7-song debut, Greatest Hits, the band plays an impressively solid mix of Bluegrass and Americana, updated with sly, often laugh out loud lyrics. Comprised of singer Andrew Fullerton and banjo player Matt Orlando – both put in time with the very un-Bluegrass band The Tressels – the group starts off slowly with the mediocre “Bluebird” but then quickly move into more creative territory with the impressive “John Blonde Sings My Eulogy,” and then the brilliant “Rattail,” one of the best songs yet lamenting awful hairstyles. Elsewhere, “Stacy’s in the Army” about a fan of the band who also happens to be a drag queen, highlights the duo’s knack for deftly blending a classic sound with wry humor.
At a time when the Bluegrass/Americana genre seems to be birthing a dozen new bands a week, a duo from Philly managed to find a way to stand out from the pack.