Review: The Backyard Revival presents O Sister Where Art Thou?

Another Salt Lake City concert at The State Room on Saturday night, local folk duo Backyard Revival paid tribute to the Coen Brothers film, O Brother Where Art Thou and its award-winning soundtrack. Instead of the Soggy Bottom Boys as the central characters, their version, O Sister Where Art Thou, featured Backyard Revival’s Sarah Little Drum and Brian Bingham as Jack and Betty O’Malley, a pair of singing siblings on the run from the law.

They recruited a small group of area musicians to help them bring their own parody of the musical score to life, in a uniquely campy way. The show opened with Zaza VanDyke on guitar and Hannah Garrett on fiddle who lead the ensemble through the audience up on to the stage with the instrumental tune “Indian War Whoop.” Little Drum and Bingham, dressed as convicts, started us off with a duet version of “O Death.” In all, they played 14 songs from the soundtrack. 

The sound of old-timey bluegrass swelled on “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” when Rocky Velvet Cee joined Bingham on backup vocals, Erin Stout added the saw, and Matt Gooch puffed away on the Jug. On “Keep on the Sunny Side,” Dylan Roe added slide guitar and Zaza VanDyke’s upright bass kept time. Hannah Garrett’s fiddle and Devon Lee’s banjo rounded out,“I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow.” For their final two numbers they brought in the full ensemble of local musicians to join them for “Down To The River To Pray” and the finale “You Are My Sunshine.”

Backyard Revival’s heart-felt tribute introduced us to a host of talented local performers. On February 9, 2024 the State Room will feature another group of Utah’s best musicians performing  Wildflowers– A Tribute to Tom Petty. This show will feature a star-studded cast from bands like The National Parks, Neon Trees, Fictionists, The Lower Lights, Hollering Pines, (and many more.) This is the same crew that brought us an incredible tribute to Neil Young’s Harvest last year. Tribute shows are a really great way to showcase the tremendous talent we have in our local music community.

Who: The Backyard Revival

What: O Sister Where Art Thou

Where: The State Room

When: January 27, 2024

salt lake city concert
O Sister Where Art Thou performs at The State Room 1/27 Photo credit Robin Pendergrast

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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