Words by: Brian Heisler :: Images by: Tobin Voggesser

Assembly of Dust & Honkytonk Homeslice
02.24.07 :: The Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO

Jillian & Billy Nershi - Honkytonk Homeslice
02.24 :: Boulder, CO
A Saturday night in Boulder brought out two bright groups and a cheery pack of revelers. Billy Nershi got things going with his acoustic trio, Honkytonk Homeslice. The relaxed audience, perhaps the calmest The Fox has ever seen, sipped their drinks as if gathered around a campfire while their old friend led them towards greener pastures.

Billy's wife, Jillian, stood between the guitar players (Nershi and Scott Law), always moving with a microphone held close to her cowgirl outfit. The String Cheese Incident's "One Step Closer" was light and happy; and during another tune, they lifted a middle finger to the crowd, singing, "We won't get mad and use bad words, but sometimes we'll flip the bird." Predictably, there was much cheering. Billy moved to Colorado's favorite instrument, the dobro, as Law and Jillian harmonized the best song of the set, "Shot In The Blue."

Assembly of Dust with Billy Nershi
02.24 :: Boulder, CO
Up next was Assembly of Dust. What better way to open a set than with a Led Zeppelin cover? "Hey Hey What Can I Do" immediately spiked the energy in the room and got folks dancing. Although altogether different from Jimmy Page, lead guitarist Adam Terrell quickly impressed with his masterful, effortless shredding, which continued for the rest of the night. Fan favorite "Roads" kept things moving. If nothing else, AOD always makes the audience smile. Their sound is well-crafted and perfectly full, fronted by the endlessly upbeat Reid Genauer. Maybe the reason his music always seems to resonate so well is the positive nature of his spirit. It's hard not to have a good time when Genauer is on the stage.

"Telling Sue," perhaps the best track off AOD's new album, Recollection, has the great feel of older Genauer material. Continuing with the vintage Genauer vibe, "Man With A Plan" was another highlight that perhaps worked as a veiled story of Genauer's departure from his former band, Strangefolk and the path he took to AOD. Billy Nershi joined them on dobro for "The Honest Hour." The set closing "Poland" found Terrell manhandling his Stratocaster in front of a sea of appreciative stares.

Assembly of Honkytonk :: 02.24 :: Boulder, CO
After a break, the so-called "Assembly of Honkytonk" emerged, combining the two bands for a set of many covers. Although the late hour meant a smaller crowd, the energy only went up. Billy Nershi began by singing happy birthday to Adam Terrell. Then Genauer dug into The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek," with Terrell and Law dueling on electric guitars. Billy took the mic back for the Cheese's "Miss Brown's Teahouse." It was a bit strange to hear him singing this at The Fox without his old bandmates. Nonetheless, the song was given an interesting twist by a more straightforward approach without the usual SCI rambling. Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" fit perfectly with the supergroups sound. Scott Law sang lead, and his guitar nailed Clapton's original twang.

And if you're going to do a set built on covers, you'd better make sure to add some Beatles. Billy and Jillian led "Dear Prudence," followed by Genauer's run through "Get Back." The night ended with the AOD classic "Tavern Walker." Rather than stopping for an encore, they kept rockin' until it was time to load out. Billy commented, "It's a little sentimental. This is the last show of the run. These guys kick ass. We've had a blast." The cheers and grins all around showed them the feeling was mutual.

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[Published on: 3/9/07]

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cash4dahash star Fri 3/9/2007 01:58PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
snappy Fri 3/9/2007 02:19PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Cash4dahash, why bring up this subject again? It has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere on this site, and the fact is Bill Nershi has decided to do something different with his creative energy. I find that even if I don't particularly care for the music, if I respect the musician, I can honor their choice.

nershi6string Fri 3/9/2007 03:34PM
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i agree that honkytonk is not as fun as cheese by anymeans but i honkytonk is cool in my eyes i saw them 3 times at funk fest and loved every minute of it and billy loves it and seems very happy while playing i mean im gonna miss cheese but atleast he will be doing what makes him happy

Marcsmall Fri 3/9/2007 04:05PM
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I was at this show, and although I love Nershi, the HH set was extremely slow. Once AOD came out, it picked up a bit and when Scott Law and Reid brok4e out the electric guitars it soounded great

NickBoeka Fri 3/9/2007 06:18PM
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Nice writing Brian.
I missed this duo when it came out this way, last month. Im a HUGE Percy Hill fan, so I have a natural draw towards Nate Wilson, and Andy Terrell (who pretty muched provided all the solo's). They alway had a real steely dan type feel like that, and I dig it.
Homeslice, is what it is.

That said, from what I've heard, sounds like a pretty good night:

roundthebend starstarstarstar Fri 3/9/2007 07:43PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

cash4dahash I'm sorry you feel that way man....I usually don't read these forums, let alone respond most, because comments like yours are honestly a quick stab in the gut man...

"I hate honkytonk homeslice"

Why do you hate anything man seriously....If you really cared about SCI, you would understand that it has reached its limits...that band went places man...creatively, mentally, physically...its hard for anyone to even comprehend...and if you went to any shows over the past few years, its been evident that there's times when the band just simply wasn't working out....5 heads man....big compromise....different musical tastes, but all love eachother just the same....I'm gonna miss cheese with all my heart man, I think a lot of people will...but life goes happy that it happened, and most of all....When you say the music is abominable, listen to the sound of your own complaint --

long live captain nershi!

Rebacreates starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/9/2007 09:09PM
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Hey Brian,

Nice article. Can't wait till Colorado!! It is going to be epic.


doctordan starstarstarstar Sat 3/10/2007 01:02PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I taped this when they stopped by in Portland my only complaint was the mix for HTH was terrible. The recording of AOD came out far better. The recording of HTH sounds like it was recorded in a Honkytonk.

Gonzo4566 Sat 3/10/2007 07:25PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I saw them the night before at Cervantes in Denver. It was a good show, first time I'd ever heard AOD, and I was very impressed.
Honkeytonk was good, for novelty purposes, meaning it was cool to see Billy and his wife in such an intimate setting. I love the Cheese, and although respect Homeslice, they are just much too slow for my taste. It was really laid back and some good stuff, but it made me want to sleep!

God i need to see some SCI before they disband. Bonnaroo here I come....maybe....

TXfarmhouse Sun 3/11/2007 06:04PM
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hold up.....HH stands for Happy Husk.. love the the husk (save a paper)..

tate79 Mon 3/12/2007 12:29PM
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Thanks Gonzo4566 for adding your opinion in a constructive/respectful manner. It really bothers me when people say this band sucks or that band sucks. If they sucked people wouldn't pay to see them. Try saying I don't care for this or that. Unless you have a rockin band and can play better than the people you are critising then keep it to yourself. I love Bill Nershi and I'll catch Honkytonk homeslice when they come by my neck of the woods but I deffinately wont be flying and driving all over the country to see them like i do cheese. hopefully there will be plentiful reunion tours.
So has anyone heard any sci tour date rumors for the summer? Its driving me crazy, I've been checking their web page over 3 times a day. I heard some rumors about flagstaff for memorial weekend as the tour opener and camp zoe as a closer. Anyone else hear this or any other pssobilties? trying to plan my summer.
Only 10 days till I'll be groovin my ass off at winter carnival! woot woot!

scooterdjembe starstarstar Wed 3/14/2007 10:45AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've listened to HTH and was not impressed. Personally and no offense to Jillian but shes not an impressive musican. I do not hate honkey tonk but can not see why Billy would accept such a downgrade on quality and depth of his music. Not bashing Billy just confused w/ his decision. Yes i've have heard his reasons and they still puzzle me he probably just want to spend time w/ his wife.

LusciousLovelyLiquid starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/16/2007 02:31PM
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I love Honkytonk Homeslice, but maybe that's because I'm not expecting them to sound like String Cheese, so I'm not let down when they don't? Definitely my favorite settings to see them in have been outdoors at a festival, or in a quiet listening room. I also enjoy having their CD on in the background while I'm home putzing around.

The folks who get to see them with all those special guests in Costa Rica are *SO* lucky! Wish I could go. Maybe I'll win the JamBase contest :)

HH isn't really a rockin' band, they're mellow, which is cool. Except when they tour with another band, then they can rip it up! Someone uploaded the set they did at the Fox with Assembly of Dust, it's killer:

rahtamata starstarstarstar Sun 3/18/2007 06:41AM
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I love that Billy is doing somethni he enjoys and loves. The Cheese wasn't doin it for him nor I anymore. They lost what made them the Cheese. If Cash4dahash has done any readings of Billy, he/she would understand that Billy wasn't liking the Cheese new sound and Honkytonk brought that life of organic sounds back to him. Seriuosly he plays an amazing acoustic guitar, maybe one of the best, and for that to be intertwined into Bisoc esque sounds doesn't sound right, actually unjust would be a better suited word.

Keep on rockin' Billy. Do what you love