Gangstagrass front man Rench reveals his top three Socially Sparked® moments of 2017. Throughout December, we revisit our Spotlight Artists and ask them to share what Socially Sparked® their lives this year.
Emmy-nominated, Billboard Charting, singer/songwriter and activist, Rench — also known as the producer and front man for bluegrass/hiphop ensemble Gangstagrass – has had a busy 2017. As a solo artist, Rolling Stone named him one of the Top 10 Country Artists you Need to Know back in April of this year. Also in April came the release of his new album Them’s The Breaks. As the producer of Gangstagrass, Socially Sparked News broke the news last week of the group’s 2018 Pocket Full of Fire Tour and planned new album — to be recorded live from the venues.
Rench's Top Three Socially Sparked® Moments
- Sturgill Simpson at the CMAs (Country Music Awards). While it was politically interesting, I was more inspired by the musical dynamics of such a successful artist choosing to busk outside rather than participate in industry award back patting. It was refreshing to see how Sturgill Simpson could be willing to antagonize the glitzy industry world and just be a musician on the street.
The Whiskey Shivers Making Moves. I’ve crossed paths with these guys at a number of festivals and I love them to death. So proud to call them friends. Their new album is totally sweet and their recent tour with Billy Strings was really well organized; it was a cool pairing. I saw the stop in Brooklyn a couple months ago. Not only that, the band has a big part in the new Pitch Perfect 3 movie and it’s so weird to have them in there — it’s blowing my mind! Through that appearance they connected with Trinidad James and I hear there was some country-hip-hop experimentation behind the scenes. The main thing is how seriously unique and quirky these guys are and how they don’t compromise that at all. They are a wild mish mash of multi-racial, multi-genre no rules guys. The Daily Show even used a picture of them to illustrate how weird Austin is. Whatever they do, it just kind of feels like a wild ride and I love it every time.
This Is An Uprising by Mark and Paul Engler. This book is getting me through the year. In a time when so much feels out of control and too big to do anything about, reading a thorough breakdown of how activism actually works and takin’ a longer view of the history of protests — most of which took a long time to tip the scales — gives me balance to not feel overwhelmed and burned out.
My new album is an anthem for getting arrested. I’ve done it once in DC since I put the album out — protesting the recent proposed health care bills — and I will probably be doing it again soon. I highly recommend this book to anyone feeling like they need to get a handle on how to keep your eyes on the prize with activism — even on a small scale and not burning out.
Socially Sparked News would like to thank Rench for taking time from his busy schedule to share his top Socially Sparked moments with us. We congratulate him on his upcoming Tour and planned new album and wish him the best of luck in 2018. We are all forever Socially Sparked! #sociallysparked Tweet @sosparkednews & @asparks01