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Exclusive: Forlorn Strangers Premiere a Playful Video for “Bottom of the Barrel”

Forlorn Strangers by Jennifer Elrod Photography
Forlorn Strangers by Jennifer Elrod Photography

Ok, so you don’t have to be a family affair to rise to the top of the bluegrass scene, but Forlorn Strangers proves that it sure doesn’t hurt. Sisters Abigail Dempsey and Hannah Leigh Lusk formed the Nashville based quintet in 2013 with Hannah’s husband, Benjamin Lusk, and pals Chris Banke and Jesse Thompson, and there’s something about the backbone of that blood connection that sends the tightly woven harmonies and intricate instrumentation soaring to higher heights. After releasing two well-received EPs, While the Grass Grows and American Magic Tricks, the group took to Kickstarter to fund their self-titled, full length debut, which they recorded at John Prine’s Nashville studio, The Butcher Shoppe, with Grammy winning Producer Phil Madeira.

Today, Elmore is premiering the music video for “Bottom of the Barrel,” a song that showcases the clear, piecing harmonies that the sisters are capable of as well as bluegrass’ inherent, lovely ability to touch on serious themes while still sounding like a rollicking good time. Upright bass builds on top of harmonica and banjo to provide a background for a truly infectious melody that’s all but guaranteed to stick in your head for days to come. “We wrote “Bottom of the Barrel” after watching a documentary about Pete Seeger called The Power of Song,” the band told us. “He used his music for something bigger than himself, and this song is about us figuring out how to do that as well. The song and video are playful, but carry the weight of being a part of your community and working intentionally in whatever you’re pursuing.”

In the video, we get to take a voyeuristic peek into what it’s like to travel with the band (who is notorious for their nonstop tour schedule), from grabbing their instruments in a storage locker to stocking up on moonpies at a gas station. The video is lighthearted, while the lyrics speak to a moral quandary; “should we give to any in need or work for ourselves to follow our dreams? How do you know what is the right thing?” With a silly, surprise ending the band seems to come to the conclusion that surrounding yourself with friends and lots of love can help make it all ok.

Click here to pre-order Forlorn Strangers, out August 5th, from iTunes, Amazon or Google Play. Watch the video for “Bottom of the Barrel” and check out the group’s summer and fall tour dates below.


Forlorn Strangers Fall Tour Dates
8/5 Pittsburgh, PA – Mt. Lebanon First Friday
8/6 Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
8/9 Washington DC – Hill Country BBQ
8/11 NYC, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
8/12 Roanoke, VA – Martin’s
8/13 Charlottesville, VA – The Garage
8/19 Chattanooga, TN – Clydes
8/20 Nashville, TN – Little Harpeth
8/22 Davenport, IA – Daytrotter
8/24 Lincoln, NE – Nebraska Folk & Roots Festival
8/26 Laramie, WY – Buckhorn Bar
8/31 Bozeman, MT – The Murray Bar
9/1 Missoula, MT – Draught Works Brewery
9/2 Seattle, WA – The Beery House
9/9 Paso Robles, CA – The Pour House
9/11 Los Angeles, CA – Hotel Cafe
9/13 Waco, TX – Common Grounds
9/14 Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
9/16 Bristol, TN – Bristol Rhythm & Roots
9/17 Bristol, TN – Bristol Rhythm & Roots
9/18 Sparta, NC – Mountain Soul
9/23 Lexington, NC – High Rock Outfitters
9/24 Charlotte, NC – Double Door Inn
9/25 Fletcher, NC – Sierra Nevada Brewing
9/28 Thomas, WV – The Purple Fiddle
9/29 Blue Side Tavern – Frederick, MD
9/30 Bel Air, MD – The Armory
10/5 Richmond, VA – Cary St. Cafe
10/6 Roanoke, VA – Martin’s
10/8 Clayton, NC – Clayton Shindig
10/12 Awendaw, SC – Awendaw Green
10/13 Wilmington, NC – Calico Room
10/14 Charleston, SC – Palmetto Brewing Co.
10/15 Charlotte, NC – Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens Music Fest
10/15 Greenville, SC – GOTTROCKS
10/21 Johnson City, TN – The Willow Tree
10/22 Nashville, TN – Athens of the South Festival
10/28 Valdosta, GA – Ashley St. Station
10/30 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
11/2 Cocoa Beach, FL – Juice N Java Cafe
11/4 West Palm Beach, FL – The Kelsey Theater

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