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Twangfest 16: Welcome to Humming House

Humming House (from left): Mike Butera, Ben Jones, Kristen Rogers, Justin Wade Tam and Joshua Wolak

By Barry Gilbert

ST. LOUIS

If you’re lucky, at some point over multiple days or multiple stages at a music festival, some act will open your eyes and knock you over.

The first two nights of KDHX-sponsored Twangfest 16 have featured great music by artists who have met or exceeded expectations, based on either reputation or past performance: Kelly Hogan, Pokey LaFarge and Wussy, at the top of the list. But the band that has obliterated expectations is Humming House, which played Wednesday night after local opener Prairie Rehab and in support of hometowners LaFarge and his old-timey South City Three.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Humming House is made up of five seemingly disparate parts: Celtic-music fan and singer/songwriter Justin Wade Tam, soul singer Kristen Rogers, classically trained fiddler and college professor Mike Butera, bluegrass mandolinist Joshua Wolak and classical composer/bassist Ben Jones.

Together, they are … what? Irish jam band? Bluegrass porch stompers? Acoustic rockers? R&B interpreters? Yes, all of the above.

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