Chapel Hill's Mipso hits the top of Billboard's bluegrass charts with Old Time Reverie | Music

Chapel Hill's Mipso hits the top of Billboard's bluegrass charts with Old Time Reverie

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PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON
  • Photo by D.L. Anderson
Released last week, Mipso’s new album Old Time Reverie has already left its mark on Billboard’s sales charts. The album debuted at the top of the music industry trade magazine’s Bluegrass Chart, and notched No. 20 on the Folk Chart and No. 23 on the Heatseekers Chart—all on the strength of an album on a local label. 

The band got the news last week, but didn’t see it published until yesterday after Googling “billboard bluegrass.”

“It's sort of like hearing your song on the radio for the first time and thinking, ‘Whoa, that's really us,'” guitarist Joseph Terrell says. “It's an encouraging, satisfying feeling after a year of hard work on an album to know that folks are enjoying it."

Old Time Reverie was released Oct. 2 and takes a more expansive approach on the band’s traditional influences. The familiar rollick and high-lonesome melody of bluegrass is there, sure, but so are elegant pop and winsome folk. The album’s chart success is, perhaps, a suggestion that bluegrass’ old-guard traditionalists are losing ground to a new generation's more porous interpretations. It certainly felt that way when several thousand people packed a Raleigh Convention Center ballroom during World of Bluegrass to watch the group.

“I don't see why ‘bluegrass’ shouldn't work a little more like the term ‘jazz,’” Terrell says. “It's a big tent. Straight ahead bebop from the '40s can have a home in jazz. New artists like Snarky Puppy can have a home in jazz. I like to remember that back in the day Bill Monroe was yelling at the top of his lungs and playing rip-roaring tunes with a loud, metallic mandolin before there was such a thing as rock ’n’ roll or an electric guitar. It was modern and shocking and pretty anti-traditional in its time. A lot of young players genuinely want to honor the early bluegrass heroes without being too rigid or exclusive about who's invited to the party."

For now, though, the band is happy just to celebrate their latest accolades and get back to work. “We'll drink a pumpkin beer and say a toast to a good fall,” Terrell says. Then it’s back on the road to try new songs and new sounds. “I wouldn't be surprised if the next record lands a little farther from banjo territory."


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