Video: Paul Kowert Talks Bass Influences, Performs with Hawktail

As a member of Punch Brothers and the Dave Rawlings Machine, Paul Kowert can comfortably claim a spot as one of the most in-demand and visible upright bassists in the modern bluegrass and acoustic music community. Like the music of these two outfits, Paul's playing is reverent yet adventurous, bringing a diverse set of techniques and styles to each song and arrangement.

On a recent trip to the Reverb studio with his band Hawktail, Paul and company treated us to performances of their songs "Say Old Man, Can You Play the Fiddle" and "In The Kitchen," which you can see in the video above. Through both tunes, Paul deploys a masterful breadth of different bass tricks, showcasing bowed and three-finger styles at different points, all in thoughtful balance with the rest of the ensemble.

While in the studio, Paul also took some time to describe some key influences on his upright style, which you can see in this second video. Paul cites the melodic style of Flatt & Scruggs collaborator Cousin Jake as a crucial touchstone, and also describes the influence of Roy Huskey Jr.'s spontaneous flourishes. For his bow work, Paul looks to the expressive style of Edgar Meyer, and also notes the bravado fiddlers like Tommy Jarrell or John Hartford.


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