Like the creature that inspires their name, The Bucking Mules buck, snort, and throw down some of the finest traditional old time music coming out of the South today. Drawing on a deep study of field recordings, old 78’s and visits with the disappearing masters of the tradition, the band distills the essence of the tradition into driving performances that speak to contemporary audiences. Their music has won national awards and won over audiences at some of the biggest bluegrass and folk festivals around. Each member of the group is a master musician in their own right, and brings their own unique approach, combined with the vitality and heart it takes to make this ancient music come alive. Together and individually, they are experienced and engaging performers, who can delve deep into the nuances and stories behind the music. On their self-titled debut, The Bucking Mules tear their way through blazing-fast square dance tunes and sing with great joy. They’re key members of the new old-time music revival, they know where every one of these songs and tunes came from originally, and in many instances learned them direct from the source, in the deep well of tradition.”
Who Are The Bucking Mules?
Joseph Decosimo (fiddle, banjo, vocals) - One of the most accomplished and exciting fiddlers of his generation, Joseph Decosimo from Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau has worked to keep the old time music traditions of his region alive. Aside from his many accolades and blue ribbon awards, Joseph is also a dedicated teacher of the music. He has traveled the country, holding countless workshops and instructional camps and sharing his knowledge with students of all ages.
Luke Richardson (banjo, harmonica) - Luke’s music rolls with the arresting and subtle beauty of the hills around his family's farm in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. With an intuitive ability to match the fiddler, Luke manages to push the music along with grace, ease and remarkable drive. He combines jawdropping musicality with intense focus and dedication to his craft, and is accomplished on harmonica, fiddle, and vocals as well.
Karen Celia Heil (guitar, vocals) - The only member of the Mules not from the Southeast, Karen has long been a major fixture of the happening West Coast old time scene. She’s made numerous pilgrimages to the Southeast in the past decade to steep herself in the music of the region, and now has a musical community there as well. A guitarist with a fiddler’s brain, Karen has the rare ability to drive a tune while laying out the perfect foundation for a fiddler. Her playing and singing bring a fire and musicality that helps to define The Bucking Mules distinctive sound.
Joseph "Joe Bass" DeJarnette (bass) - From Madison County Virginia, Joe is known as THE bass player of the genre. Joe serves as the heartbeat of The Bucking Mules pulsing sound. As a founding member of the popular roots bands The Wiyos, Joe has travelled across America and Europe for years, performing at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center and The Newport Folk Festival and even played 29 dates with the 2009 Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tour.
The Bucking Mules come from deep in the tradition of Appalachian old-time music, and prove that this music isn’t something to be found under a glass case in a museum, but is a living, breathing thing, alive and kicking like an ornery mule. They’re also a perfect example of why this music has stood the test of time. Not just the sound of tradition or the echoes of a bygone era, old-time stringband music deserves to take its place among our current soundscape as valuable and relevant – increasingly more so in the modern digital age in which we live.