Drifting into Mainstream

What began as a backyard band practice and a couple YouTube videos has blossomed into a dream come true for members of the High Ground Drifters after their breakthrough performance during this year’s Jazz Fest. They were unaware that being the opening act at the Fais Do-Do Stage would lure Rolling Stone’s senior writer David Fricke, who subsequently praised their performance in the magazine’s May edition. With this recent exposure, HGD’s newly released self-titled album has recently seen a spike in record sales worldwide.

This July, they will begin their newest venture, creating a string of bluegrass-style music videos spoofing two popular shows, MTV’s Cribs and VH-1’s Behind the Music. “We got the idea to create a mockumentary from 50 Cent’s own Cribs parody,” guitarist and vocalist Grant Ligon says. Instead of popping champagne like Diddy and Mariah Carrey, the High Ground Drifters will drink Natural Light and strum banjos on neighborhood stoops. Bluegrass Cribs will also showcase their post-band practice interpretive dance moves “that happen with too much imbibing,” Ligon writes for the preliminary outline.

The second video project, The Jethro Trilogy, is a three-part Behind the Music spin off introducing the band’s fictional climb, fall, and redemption. Sticking to the reality show’s template of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, the band will go sour in their own bluegrass fashion, having their banjo player, John Noble, become cracked out on Frappuccinos. Another quirky scene will showcase their loyal fan base at their local hang out—the early bird dinner at the Piccadilly.

They plan to pitch the finished products to CMT before asking any other distributor, hoping their sound and style will appeal to country music fans as much as it has to the regulars at the Neutral Ground, where they play a steady gig.

Published July 2009, OffBeat Louisiana Music & Culture Magazine, Volume 22, No. 7.