Music

Gangstagrass Stuns 'America's Got Talent' Judges With Bluegrass Meets Hip-Hop Sound

Genre-defiant five-piece Gangstagrass won over all four America's Got Talent judges with an audition performance that host Terry Crews accurately described as sounding like "Hee Haw hip-hop."

As the band's name implies, Gangstagrass blends bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies with hip-hop lyrics in a way that, as founder and producer Rench explained to Crews, "[shows] people that we have some common ground."

Rench (vocals, guitar, beats) and bandmates Dan Whitener (banjo, vocals), Brian Farrow (fiddle, vocals), R-Son The Voice of Reason (vocals) and Dolio the Sleuth (vocals) shared a statement of purpose with AGT's network television audience through Tuesday night's (June 29) performance of original song "Bound to Ride."

There's a lot to dissect when it comes to how the NBC series' regulars react, from Crews' usual enthusiasm and Simon Cowell's pronunciation of Ganstagrass to Sofia Vergara's uninhibited dance moves.

What's most telling, though, might be the moment when Cowell gives up on not smiling and lets himself enjoy a frenetic and uplifting performance.

Cowell and Vergara voted yes, as did fellow judges Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel. All four gave the rhyme-spitting grassers a standing ovation.

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Gangstagrass formed in 2006 and got a previous career boost when its song "Long Hard Times to Come" became the Emmy award-nominated theme song for FX's Justified.

If they prevail in the end over solo artist Jayy, The Voice alum Brooke Simpson, musical theater buff Tory Vagasy, South Korean dance crew Dokteuk, comedian Josh Blue, demonstration team and Golden Buzzer recipients World Taekwondo and other noteworthy Season 16 contestants, Gangstagrass will become the first band to win AGT.

The most recent Gangstagrass album, No Time For Enemies, was released in 2020.

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Gangstagrass Stuns 'America's Got Talent' Judges With Bluegrass Meets Hip-Hop Sound