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Dry Branch Fire Squad

The modern bluegrass band Dry Branch Fire Squad is dedicated to bluegrass, old-timey, and Southern gospel music traditions. Mandolin player and comedian Ron Thomason founded the Fire Squad in 1976. The earliest incarnation of the group included guitarist John Baker, banjo player Robert Leach, and bass player John Carpenter. Two years later, Mary Jo Leet became the group's vocalist. Dry Branch Fire Squad released a series of independent releases before signing with Rounder in 1978; they would stay with the venerable roots label for the rest of their career.

The Fire Squad continued to release albums on Rounder throughout the 1980s; standouts included Good Neighbours & Friends (1985) and the gospel-flavored Golgotha from a year later. By 1996's Live! At Last, the group included Thomason, guitarist Adam McIntosh, and banjoist Dan Russell; Mary Jo Leet was joined by her husband, Charlie, on harmonies and acoustic bass. The live album displayed the Fire Squad's penchant not only for traditional bluegrass and other Americana styles, but uproarious comedy as well. Memories That Bless & Burn appeared in 1999. The record mixed older material with new, and featured vocalist Suzanne Thomas. The band followed with 2001's Hand Hewn, and continued to be a favorite on the bluegrass and folk festival circuit. A second live album, the double disc Live at the Newburyport Firehouse, was released on Rounder in 2005. In 2007 Rounder released Thirtieth Anniversary Special, a retrospective that included four new tracks, followed by the all new Echoes of the Mountains in 2009. ~ Johnny Loftus
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Echoes Of The Mountains

1. Dixie Cowboy

2. Echo Mountain

3. Rider On An Orphan Train

4. Up On The Divide

5. (You Got To Pray To The Lord) When You See Those Flying Saucers

6. Bring It On Home To Me

7. Little Joe

8. Seven Spanish Angels

9. Stormy Waters

10. O Captain! My Captain!

11. Power In The Blood

12. Rovin' Gambler

13. Grayson's Train

14. Thank You, Lord

x

Track List: Thirtieth Anniversary Special

1. I've Lived A Lot In My Time

2. Devil, Take The Farmer

3. I Saw A Man At Close Of Day

4. Rollin' On Rubber Wheels

5. Church By The Road

6. He's Coming To Us Dead

7. A Distant Land To Roam

8. Over In The Glory Land

9. Do You Ever Dream Of Me?

10. The Honest Farmer

11. Long Journey

12. Oak Grove Church

13. Hide You In The Blood

14. Golden Ring

15. Carolyn At The Broken Wheel Inn

16. When I Went Down In The Valley To Pray

17. The Orphan Train

18. While Roving On Last Winter's Night

19. Dip Your Fingers In Some Water

20. We Believe In Happy Endings

21. How Great Thou Art

x

Track List: Live At The Newburyport Firehouse

Disc 1

1. Rollin' On Rubber Wheels (Live)

2. Cas Wallin, World's Greatest Ballad Singer (Live)

3. Orphan Child (Live)

4. Banjo Pickin' Vs. Modern Country Music (Live)

5. Roanoke (Live)

6. Masschusetts Epithets / War Has Always Been Hell (Live)

7. He's Coming To Us Dead (Live)

8. The Metaphorical And John Duffey (Live)

9. Miner's Refrain (Live)

10. The Carter Family (Live)

11. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room (Live)

12. The Politics Of Folk Music (Live)

13. The Orphan Train (Live)

14. Grandma's Stove (Live)

15. Standing By The River (Live)

Disc 2

1. Hot Corn, Cold Corn (Live)

2. The Baptisms Of Little Roy (Live)

3. By The Mark (Live)

4. Bill Monroe Through The Crack In The Curtains (Live)

5. Shine, Hallelujah, Shine (Live)

6. Mel Bay (Live)

7. Lonesome Fugitive (Live)

8. Hippies, Beatniks And Power Easements (Live)

9. Jesus On The Mainline (Live)

10. Green Pastures And Equine Dignity (Live)

11. Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures (Live)

12. Guaranteed Forever (Live)

13. Shenandoah Breakdown (Live)

x

Track List: Hand Hewn

1. Angelina Aker

2. I Saw A Man At The Close Of Day

3. I Can Go To Them

4. Nazeer, Nazeer (Nazeer, Nazeer)

5. Atlanta Is Burning

6. Willye Brennan

7. While Roving On Last Winter's Night

8. Sailor's Return

9. Black Lung

10. The Cuckoo Is A Pretty Bird

11. Two Coats

12. Midnight, The Unconquered Outlaw

13. I'll Live Again

14. Papa's Billy Goat

15. Lonesome Road Blues

x

Track List: Memories That Bless And Burn

1. Memories That Bless And Burn

2. Hide You In The Blood

3. Looking For The Stone

4. Looking For The Stone

5. Were You There

6. Travel On

7. I'll Be No Stranger

8. When Heaven Comes Down

9. I Have Found A Way

10. Where Will Never Die

11. Dip Your Fingers In Some Water

12. The Gospel Way

13. The God That Never Fails

14. That Home Far Away

15. When I Went Down In The Valley To Pray

16. Touch The Hem Of His Garmet

x

Track List: Long Journey

1. Long Journey

2. Orphan Child

3. Rain And Snow

4. I'd Rather Be The Girl You Left Behind

5. Oak Grove Church

6. I've Always Been A Rambler

7. Jesus On The Mainline

8. Saalo's Song

9. Old Katy Hill

10. A House Divided

11. Don't Ever Look Back

12. We Believe In Happy Endings

x

Track List: Tried & True

1. Down South In New Orleans

2. Brand New Tennessee Waltz

3. Someone Play Dixie For Me

4. Going Up On The Mountain

5. Auction At The Home Place

6. Legend Of The Johnson Boys

7. Aragon Mill

8. Goin' Across The Mountain

9. Faded Coat Of Blue

10. Wild Mountain Honey

11. Little Girl And The Dreadful Snake

12. Oh! What A Storm

13. She's More To Be Pitied

14. Cripple Creek

15. Golden Ring

16. There's Dust In The Bible

17. Cowboy Jim

18. Walking Back To Richmond

19. Golgotha

x

Track List: Fertile Ground

1. Devil, Take The Farmer

2. Darlin' Nellie Across The Sea

3. Where We'll Never Die

4. Turkey In The Straw

5. There's Nothing Between Us

6. Love Has Brought Me To Despair

7. The Honest Farmer

8. The Great Titanic

9. Golden Morning

10. Do You Ever Dream Of Me

11. The Old Time Way

12. Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Great band with a nice old time sound and allot of songs, right up my alley
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Great!
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Ya hoo!!
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this ain't hate; this is great!
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bwillis782
Kool-aid for the soul
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Glory!
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very good
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thought he taught math in Medway OHIO(New Carlyle)
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n5802f
Not WAS.....than k f u l l y ! ! ! !
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saw these guys 2 months ago in a small church in poughkeepsie ny. hilarious and moving
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Great bluegrass!
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Oh yes!
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Outstanding pickin'!!!!! !
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I <3 this song! Anonymous 4 sings this song! Their C.D. Is called GloryLand
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I FEEL IT.......... . . . . . t . . . . . . . . . . t . . . . . . . . . . . t
Report as inappropriate
Very great down home gospel

Music!
Report as inappropriate
You'd think they could get his name right.
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estoner49
I remember seeing them at the Birchmere several years after seeing them in '84 or '85 at The Riverdale Pizza Pub in MD!
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The man's name is THOMASON!!
Report as inappropriate
The posted bio needs some serious editing. Reads like they are no longer a group. See http://www.d r y b r a n c h f i r e s q u a d . c o m / p e r f o r m a n c e _ s c h e d u l e . a s p for 2012 schedule.
Report as inappropriate
jolywo
Ron Thomason was my high school English teacher in the early 80's. Loved it when he brought in his mandolin and played for us. Fabulous teacher and musician.
Report as inappropriate
Lineup for the last 6 years or so has been Ron Thomason on lead vocals, guitar & mandolin; Tom Boyd on dobro, banjo & harmony vocals; Dan Russell on bass & harmony vocals; & Brian Aldridge on guitar, mandolin & harmony vocals. Still going strong!
Report as inappropriate
lmhaley6
Ron's last name is THOMASON!
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phunt513
I saw them several times at the Birchmere - they are hoot. Great band and Ron is a genuine county wit - making fun of himself and us. Still have his book "Lonesome As A Car Up On Blocks".
Report as inappropriate
CalSag1
mighty fine job fellers
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aaaune
One of the best bands I've ever seen. Ron Thomason is one of the funniest people I've seen and tells great stories between songs. You should correct the spelling of his name.
Report as inappropriate
jolywo
Yep, the name is Thomason. I remember. He was my freshman English teacher. As he would say, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, it is spelled Thomason."
Report as inappropriate
wouldn't be greyfox without 'em!
Report as inappropriate
syrups9907
As of 05-30-10 the name is still misspelled.
Report as inappropriate
You have the name wrong for Ron Thomason, not Homason.
Report as inappropriate
lmhaley6
I would like to reiterate the comment below that the lead man's name is THOMASON, not Homason. I just saw them last weekend (July 2009)and they are defintely still performing, although some of the members have changed since your review. Please correct the name so that you will not be passing along incorrect information. His name is misspelled on the artist page; however, it is spelled correctly on album pages.
Report as inappropriate
rlove36
RD Says
Drybranch fire squad are the greatest.
Report as inappropriate
The front man's name is Thomason, not Homason. As far as I know the band is still extant (I saw them in 2007) so the review shouldn't be in past tense.
Report as inappropriate
amazing truly amazing. If you play at all you get it

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