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Hot Buttered Rum plays Historic Ashland Armory

Bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum lives for a good time — and a mindful recklessness settles in whenever these five guys step on stage. From Anchorage to Miami, the group’s onstage chemistry fuels the love fest that is a live Butter show. Rooted in the trajectory of West Coast bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum plays what has been described as California’s own acoustic music.

The San Francisco progressive bluegrass band will perform at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Outlaw bluegrass band Poor Man's Whiskey from Northern California will open the show. Look for a collaborative performance of Paul Simon's "Graceland." Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased online at liveatthearmory.com. Tickets will be $25 the day of the show. The show is open to ages 21 and older.

Hot Buttered Rum’s years of touring have given the band the chance to work and play with a wide cross-section of musicians, such as Peter Rowan, Phil Lesh, Chris Thile, Brett Dennen and Robert Earl Keen. Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, mandolin guru Mike Marshall, and rocker Tim Bluhm of Mother Hips and Nicki Bluhm have produced studio albums for the band.

Each producer guided Hot Buttered Rum toward the next step in its evolution. It’s a sound that is tough to describe and easy to love, and it has found its way to the most prestigious pop, folk, and bluegrass stages in the country: Telluride, Newport, Bonnaroo, Strawberry, Hardly Strictly, Kate Wolf, Horning’s Hideout, String Summit, Grey Fox, Merlefest, All Good, High Sierra, Wakarusa and many more.

The next step in Butter’s evolution involves recording three five-song EPs — each focusing on a part of music that Hot Buttered Rum loves and is inspired by — and each with a different producer. The first EP was recorded with Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone and was released this fall. The second will be a collection of Ralph Stanley old-school bluegrass standards, to be recorded with producer Sally Van Meter. The third will be Hot Buttered Rum’s late-night, throw-down music, to be recorded in November with SCI Fidelity Records Kyle Hollingsworth. Together, the three collections of songs will explore Butter’s roots and express Butter’s present passions.

At the center of Hot Buttered Rum is the enduring camaraderie of old friends. The band — Bryan Horne, Erik Yates, Lucas Carlton, Nat Keefe and Zebulon Bowles — was conceived on a backpacking trip of high school and college buddies in the High Sierra. What was dreamed up on mountaintops and around campfires has found its way into the hearts, minds and bodies of thousands of listeners.