The 4th Annual Westport Roots Festival occurred this Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City’s Westport District, with over 80 bands participating on six separate stages, headlined by such greats as Moe Bandy, Dale Watson, Jesse Dayton, James Hand, and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. But one of the most anticipated and talked about moments of the festival was the reunification of Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band, which happened at the Westport Roots Saloon Friday evening (5-26).
A former member of the .357 String Band, and Saving Country Music Artist of the Year alum, Jayke Orvis formed the Broken Band as a touring outfit first in 2010 with guitar player James Hunnicutt and elements of the dark roots band The Goddamn Gallows. Later bass and banjo player Jared McGovern, and fiddler Liz Sloan came over from Bob Wayne’s Outlaw Carnies (who’ve just quietly released a new album Bad Hombre) to comprise what would be the legendary lineup of the band for many years. Later Jared McGovern and Liz Sloan would go on to form The Urban Pioneers, and Jayke would officially retire the band.
The quartet put on a blazing set of string music the likes that is rarely seen in today’s tired and polished bluegrass scene, evidencing excellent musicianship and compositional skills. Joe Perreze, who was also in the very first incarnation of The Broken Band and traveled often with the outfit, took the stage about 20 minutes into the over hour-long set.
Jayke Orvis didn’t say a whole lot during the show, letting the music do the talking. He later posted on social media, “What a great time, thanks to everyone you came out for this and to the Westport Saloon for hosting. It was so much fun playing with the Broken Band again.”
Though only a select few could be in Westport to see the reunion, it was streamed online, and the set can be seen in its entirety below.
“I seriously cannot thank the folks that put on Westport Roots Festival enough for a truly incredible weekend,” says Jared McGoven, whose been hosting episodes of the feral hog-driven High On The Hog internet variety show lately. “I’ve always hoped that the Broken Band would play together again and I can’t even describe how it felt to throw down with those fine folks again.”