Missy Raines not limited to bluegrass
Written by By COLE CHRISTENSEN/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 23 August 2010 13:09
Between the time of this interview and the publication of this story Missy Raines has received yet another nomination for “Bass Player of the Year” from the International Bluegrass Music Association.
With seven past Bluegrass Music awards in her pocket, she is easily one of most decorated female instrumentalist in bluegrass music.
Not bad for a musician who is currently creating music that is anything but straight-ahead bluegrass.
As bassist Raines has had a storied career in bluegrass, starting with Eddie and Martha Adcock, then performing many years with vocal legend Claire Lynch and finally setting out with guitarist Jim Hurst in an exploration of instrumental dialogue. She might call them building blocks to finding her own direction and sound in acoustic music.
“My roots are based in bluegrass, and that was the music that first captured my attention,” she said in a recent telephone interview.
“But, it was through bluegrass that I was exposed to jazz and all kinds of music. I have made my life about exploring all different types of music.”
Enter Missy Raines and the New Hip... a progressive quintet of “mostly” acoustic musicians exploring the connections between traditional bluegrass and jazz, rock and blues music.
With her bluegrass pedigree in her back pocket, and a group of very talented and diverse musicians at her side, Raines foray into the experimental side of bluegrass has been wrought with success... and rightfully so.
The New Hip has a sound all their own, pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between genres so cleanly that you might think this type of music has been going on for decades. In reality, Raines, along with a growing sect of acoustic musicians like her, is at the forefront of discovery towards what makes seemingly different genres of music the same.
“I have always wanted to have the freedom to pursue a sound and not worry about it sitting in one genre or another,” she said. “I have just wanted that complete freedom. I knew that the only way to do that was to be on my own and to have my own band. That was a big reason that I wanted to do this.”
Their 2009 debut album “Inside Out” is one-half instrumental, one half-vocal, and features expressive and soulful songwriting and signing from Raines coupled with dynamic mandolin, dobro, percussion and guitar contributions from her band mates. The sound is layered and complex, while still being welcoming and engaging for fans of more traditional bluegrass and Americana sounds.
“We have had really overwhelmingly positive responses to this band within the bluegrass community, so I think people’s minds are being open every day,” she said.
Most importantly, Raines is right at home with the contributions from her band, which represent a growing new breed of young and hungry players. She lets them have creative freedom and invites their contributions from beginning to end, a shrewd move on the part of a band leader who knows how entice the best from musicians around her.
“The bands and the artists that I have most enjoyed are usually some kind of collaborative effort of several people in a band,” she said.
“I rarely like everything that one person does. So, I really like it when people put a bunch of things together.”

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