Foreign Roots

Emi-great!

The Greencards are probably one of the best examples of American bluegrass out there right now, which is why it's so gosh-darned peculiar that the trio consists of two Australians (Kym Warner, Carol Young) and an Irishman (Eamon McLoughlin) who've only lived in this country for eight years. Onstage, they deliver one of the most solid demonstrations of acoustic musicianship you'll ever get the chance to witness, turning instrumentals into narratives that are often more engaging than their lyrics.

New Times: You're named after your alien green cards. Whose idea was that?

Kym Warner: We try to not take ourselves too seriously. It was our first ever gig and we didn't have a name. The promoter said, "What's your name?" We said, "I don't know. We can call ourselves the Greencards, I guess."

NT: Why'd you guys decide to move to the U.S. eight years ago?

Warner: Commercial country music is one thing in Australia, but when you start branching off into roots and acoustic music with somewhat of a bluegrass style -- this band wouldn't have survived back home. We'd have half a dozen dates a year.

NT: How do you find American audiences compared to Australian audiences?

Warner: They're much more educated about music. Very responsive. Once again, you don't get the opportunity to play this stuff at home. When you do, it's normally in the corner of a casino or in a lounge while people are watching football above you or playing the pokies.

NT: Do you think Keith Urban's success has helped the Greencards at all?

Warner: The success he's had is phenomenal. You shouldn't even be using our names in the same breath. But yeah, I think he's helped open the door, so people go, "Oh, he's Australian. What else have you got?"

NT: Do two Aussies and a Brit playing traditional bluegrass country music in the country that created it ever seem ironic to you?

Warner: (Laughs.) It seems normal to us, because we grew up listening to this stuff. But to come over here and land in Austin and make what is a predominantly American form of music. Yeah, I can definitely see the comedic aspect of it.

 
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