90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Crooked Still
Crooked Still

Aoife O'Donovan and Gregory Liszt of "Crooked Still" in our studio

When Crooked Still formed in 2001, it was a band of twenty-somethings from the Boston conservatory scene playing a genre-bending blend of bluegrass and folk. Critics raved about the sound of young Americans reinterpreting old Appalachian tunes.

Now, seven years later, with world tours under their belt and a recent overhaul of their lineup, they’re a little older, a little wiser — and every bit as innovative. Bluegrass and folk, pop and blues, maybe even jazz. They play mountain music from an old-time era, polished with percussive banjo-beats and an ethereal voice.

With us today we’ve got Crooked Still’s banjo player, their fiddler, and their singer-guitarist to put their sound in our ears.

This hour, On Point: breakout bluegrass innovators, Crooked Still.


Aoife O’Donovan, lead singer and founding member of Crooked Still.

Gregory Liszt, banjo player and founding member of Crooked Still. In 2006, he toured with Bruce Springsteen as a member of the Seeger Sessions Band.

Brittany Haas, fiddler for Crooked Still.

Links & Multimedia:

Crooked Still’s official website tells the band’s story and has all the information you could want on tour dates and recordings.

Double-bass player Corey DiMario’s blog, “Play the Bass, Drive the Bus,” has a big selection of videos from Crooked Still’s performances.

This is Crooked Still performing “Captain, Captain” (also heard in today’s show) from a recent show at the Basement in Nashville:


And here they are performing “Undone in Sorrow” at the Basement:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Nate

    love Aoife’s voice, Wayfaring Strangers or Crooked Still.
    Crooked Still also makes great use of the Rushad’s cello.
    thanks for the fun festival times.

  • lit

    You guys are terrific. I spent a lot of my youth resisting bluegrass because my father made me listen to it nonstop. Now, as an adult, I thank him for that education because I love music that displays an imaginative use of bluegrass technique or influence. You guys fit the bill. I just bought your album! When are you playing another Boston date?

    Great show today, OnPoint folks!

  • http://www.wmra.org Tina

    Rushad’s not with the group anymore. When he left, they added a new cello player and a fiddle. They still have a GREAT sound.

  • Bonny

    So delighted to explore Crooked Still’s new sound. What a delightful opportunity to really hear Brittney at work!

  • Lori

    I don’t care for this programming. Too much music! I listen to this radio station during the day to hear talking, news, discussions, etc. NOT MUSIC!

  • Will Webber

    I’m a new fan of Crooked Still. I saw the at Floydfest recently and was blown away. Loved ‘em.

    What was their impression of Floydfest?

  • http://www.wmra.org Tina

    I’ve been a fan for several years, but just saw the new line-up at FloydFest – they were fantastic!

  • Ed

    Crooked Still – thought you might appreciate this. Here’s Hanneke Caseel accompanying my daughter Ariana singing Crooked Still’s version of Ain’t No Grave at last year’s Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School.


    We’re huge fans – thanks for all the music!

  • Dave

    I’m a big Crooked Still fan. I’ve been lucky to catch two very intimate shows this summer — one in a pub in Galway, Ireland; the other in a bar in Portsmouth, NH. The Portsmouth show was moved to a bar at the last minute because the outdoor venue was rained out. The band didn’t have to do the show, but I guess they just love to play.

    @lit, I think their next show in the area is at the ICONS festival in September. Check the Crooked Still web site to be sure.

    Thanks, WBUR, for giving Crooked Still a whole hour!

  • David Levine

    Terrible sound. If I were Crooked Still I wouldn’t let such poorly recorded stuff be made public. The banjo and the bass are way too loud in the mix. It’s a pity.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/wen-stephenson/ Wen Stephenson

    David: thanks for the feedback. Just curious, which audio are you referring to specifically? There wasn’t a bass in our studio today, just banjo, fiddle, and vocals. Perhaps you’re referring to one of the YouTube videos?

  • Bill Rose

    I hope you can find a way to play some South Florida dates on your next tour. I’m a relatively recent fan, having seen your appearance on Woodsongs, I just have to see your band in a live setting (YouTube has it’s limits).

    A DVD would be a great way for me to spread the word to my friends, please think about using some of the existing high quality video from the show you did in Scotland. That show comes across well even on the tiny computer screen.

    The new CD is excellent, I wish you all possible future success!

  • Grant Jeffrey

    Great to hear this charismatic band speaking about their music. I discovered Crooked Still only 3 months ago and am already a fan. How about a book of music for these great Crooked Still tracks? I am addicted to this soulful bluegrass sound and want to play the songs.

    Come back to Scotland soon, your music chimes with traditional Scottish music wonderfully – hope to see you on the Isle of Skye on your next tour.

  • David

    Great sound!
    (Methinks Mr. Levine is being a troll.)

  • Woland

    Great show, really enjoyed the stories and comments that Aoife, Greg, and Brittany shared. For those of you who’ve never heard Crooked Still before, make sure to check out any one of their albums because you haven’t really heard this group until you’ve heard them with their cello and double-bass!

  • Andy R.

    Great show, great sound … I’ve been listening to Crooked Still for over a year now and I’m spreading the word in the UK. They’re getting better known over here too! Much deserved.

  • Wayne Smith

    This is a fantastic band! Wonderful people/players /performers..the whole package. Thanks for doing this story. We love you guys and hope to see you again soon!

  • http://www.ncfta.org Brian

    I saw Crooked Still perform at the Narrows Center in Fall River. They were our first Signature Sounds sellout and put on a tremendous show. Rashad may be the only musician who’s ever taken his shirt off during a show. He certainly knows how to stay out near the edge. Was I mistaken our was that Aoife pulling him back? I’ll miss that strange chemistry but look forward to hearing their new lineup.

  • http://www.youtube.com/billfive Bill

    All of the videos shot at The Basement, in addition to their AMA showcase set are available for viewing at:

Jul 31, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Cabinet meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  (AP)

The US and Europe face off against Russia. Are we looking at Cold War II? Something hotter?

Jul 31, 2014
A comical sign suggest the modern workplace is anything but collegial . (KW Reinsch / Flickr)

When the boss is a bad apple. How some pretty dark traits can push some to the top.

Jul 30, 2014
Janitta Swain, Writer/Exec. Producer/Co-Director Dinesh D'Souza, John Koopman, Caroline Granger and Don Taylor seen at the World Premiere of 'America: Imagine The World Without Her' at Regal Cinemas LA Live on Monday, June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. (AP)

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

Jul 30, 2014
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

More »
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
1 Comment