The Henhouse Prowlers 2.24.12

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man
Video By Carly Marthis
Audio By Corey Sandoval (
Kind Recordings)

It's a good week in Colorado when the opportunity comes along to see one of the best bluegrass bands on the circuit, The Henhouse Prowlers, on multiple occasions! Chicago's own returned to Quixote's in support of The Big Wu, though I'd prefer to look at it as a co-headlining slot. The back room filled in quickly as the 10:00 hour approached. The band set up and checked their levels as house sound engineer, Don Ross, shot bluegrass jokes at the band through the monitor, triggering laughter and smiles. The vibe felt good... Really good.

The band began with strength and drive. The packed room was sucked in as the group of top notch pickers displayed their talents for the desiring crowd. The instrumentation was captivating as the band cycled in and out around a traditional single mic set up. The energy of the first set guaranteed that folks would return for the second. Through originals, traditionals, banter and covers, they made their way to the last couple of songs of the set. Ben Wright (Banjo) stepped up and produced a tale about Grant Ziolkowski (Mandolin) discovering some archived documents in New York that contained information about an "asshole" sax player who was involved in bluegrass music in it's infancy. With that, he called Pete Wall (Sax) to the stage for "Mr. Charlie."

Leading up to the sit-in I could see Pete processing the music and sorting out his plan of attack. As he took the stage, the crowd became focused on what was about to take place and as it began, the band focused in on Pete as well. His first solo prompted excited smiles and energy oozing from the stage. His second solo brought even greater excitement and as Pete slaughtered the third extended solo, the room erupted. Pete remained on stage for "How Mountain Girls Can Love" to end the set.

Intermission brought a conversation with Ben in the courtyard about new members Dan Andree (Fiddle) and Starr Moss (Guitar), as well as the progression of The Henhouse Prowlers. I told him that I was impressed and that The Prowlers sound the best that they've ever sounded. He seemed pleased with my words, as he puts all of his love and energy into the band.

The second set began with the same level of energy as the room filled in once again for some grass. We were all blown away by what we heard from the five-piece outfit. Jon Goldfine's (Bass) writing and harmonies alongside Ben and Grant were purely beautiful. What I witnessed that night at Quixote's confirmed for me the return to the top for the Henhouse Prowlers. I was disappointed that my time with the Prowlers had come and gone once again, though I took comfort in Ben telling me that the band has decided collectively to put even greater focus into the mountain state of Colorado.

Henhouse Prowlers Live at Quixote's True Blue on February 24, 2012.

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