Grand Central


Viper Central displays virtuosic chops on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro, ripping through classic and original bluegrass pieces at barn-burning tempos.

But perhaps the thing that makes this band the most unique and exciting is how far they’re able to wander from their home as a bluegrass band, turning the genre on its ear, while remaining true to their roots.

As a group of young friends who joined forces in their 20s to shake up the British Columbia bluegrass scene, Viper Central gained a reputation as an excellent bluegrass band at festivals throughout western Canada. They quickly took to the road, regularly touring the west coast of the United States, the UK, and continental Europe. In 2008, they released their debut album The Devil Sure Is Hard To Pleasewhich received numerous excellent reviews.

Their second album Thump and Howl released in 2012, saw the beginnings of a departure from their bluegrass roots and while banjo and fiddle remained central to their sound, pedal steel can be heard on several tracks and many of the melodies drew upon a wide spectrum of influences, ranging from Métis fiddle to Klezmer to western swing.

A decade later, the group has found a maturity and confidence in their sound and new album The Spirit of God & Madness, is their boldest endeavour to date. As lead songwriter, Kathleen Nisbet has refined her storytelling skills to a new level of mastery; on one track taking on the persona of her ancestor, Louis Riel, in another, that of a Saskatchewan farmer-turned-musician, in still another, that of Katherine O’Hare – a woman who crossed the Rockies on foot in the 19th century. The spirit that emerges from the album is as strong, unusual, original, and self-assured as the figures it celebrates in its songs. This spirit is reflected as much in the brilliant performances by band members, guests (John Reischman, Miles Black, John Raham, CR Avery), instrumentation, arrangements, and vocal harmonies, as it is in the songwriting itself.

Viper Central can rip it up bluegrass style with sweet n’ crunchy harmonies and tight melodic breaks that’ll make your heart soar, your feet shuffle and your blood curdle! Canadian roots and the traditions of American bluegrass, Métis, country, rockabilly and old-time have influenced their ever evolving style.

Their songs reflect Canadian landscape and experiences and the result is natural, effortless and delightfully original. Viper Central is Kathleen Nisbet (fiddle, vocals), Steve Charles (guitar, banjo, Vocals), Tim Tweedale (steel guitars, vocals), Mark Vaughan (mandolin) and Patrick Metzger(bass). Viper Central is a five-piece acoustic string-band that takes that “high lonesome sound” to new places. All five band members contribute original songs, but won’t hesitate to deliver up their take on an ages-old mournful waltz or bring the house down with a barn-burning bluegrass standard.

Viper Central · UK & Ireland Tour · August-September 2017

Kathleen Nisbet (vocals & fiddle), Steve Charles (vocals, guitars & banjo), Patrick Metzger (vocals & bass),

Tim Tweedale* (vocals & steel guitars) & Chris Suen* (banjo & vocals) *select dates only


Wed 2-Sat 5        Belladrumnr. Inverness                Tartan Heart Festival

Sun 6                 StrathpefferHighlands                 House Concert

Wed 9                CookstownCo. Tyrone                  The Red Room

Thu 10               Cookstown                                The Red Room

Fri 11                 Naulnr. Dublin                              Seamus Ennis Arts Centre with Ulaid & Duke Special

Sat 12                RathfrilandCo. Down                   Bronte Music Club

Sun 13               Comber, Co. Down                        Enler Delta Blues Club, Comber Rec F.C.

Tue 15               RichhillCo. Armagh                       Groucho’s

Wed 16              OmaghCo. Tyrone                        The Weigh Inn

Thu 17               BangorCo. Down                          Ballyholme Yacht Club, Open House Festival Bangor

Fri 18                 BallincolligCo. Cork                    The White Horse

Sun 20               BallydehobCo. Cork                     Levis Corner House

Tues 22-Wed 23  CarlingfordCo. Louth                   Thomas D’Arcy McGee Summer School

Fri 25                 Carrig-on-BannowCo. Wexford     Colfer’s Pub

Sat 26-Sun 27      Dunmore EastCo. Waterford         Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival

Wed 30              BallybofeyCo. Donegal                 Balor Arts Centre

Thu 31-Sun 3      Castletownnr. Omagh                 Bluegrass Music Festival, Ulster American Folk Park


Previous article
Next article

More From Author


Popular Posts

Latest Gig Reviews

Latest Music Reviews


Band Of The Day