King Wilkie began as a bluegrass band based in Charlottesville, Va. Its debut album, Broke, came out in 2004 in a musical climate that got the group lumped in with the likes of Nickel Creek and Reckless Kelly. Although it employed familiar bluegrass instrumentation, the group's somber and profound 2007 album, Low Country Suite, distanced the band from any such "traditional" classification.
Principal singer-songwriter and group founder Reid Burgess again reinvented King Wilkie after a move to New York, revamping the band's lineup for its latest album, King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers. Again, he expanded the instrumentation to include piano, clarinet and guest spots from heavyweights like Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Rowan, Abigail Washburn, David Bromberg and Samantha Parton of The Be Good Tanyas.
Molding its sound into Beatles-esque pop, King Wilkie performs live on Mountain Stage here, with Burgess and Steve Lewis trading piano and lead-vocal duties along with Ben Rubin on bass and background vocals and Dennis Lichtman on fiddle, clarinet and mandolin. Mountain Stage drummer Ammed Solomon joins in for "Goodbye Rose."