Eats and Beats: Dark Side of the Moon, Bluegrass Style

Jul 20, 2018

Tonight Flagstaff kicks off a yearlong party leading up to next year’s 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing. Every astronaut who ever walked on the Moon spent time training here. Part of tonight’s celebration is a performance by the band Lucky Lenny. They will perform a bluegrass version of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”  In the latest installment of Eats and Beats, we hear musician Shawn Dennehy talk about reimagining the iconic 1973 album.

Credit Courtesy of Lucky Lenny


Click on the audio file above to hear the music.

Music: Pink Floyd’s “Breathe”

Shawn Dennehy: Dark Side of the Moon, it’s just one of the greatest albums ever made, I think…. It’s just the way they did it, everything about it, compositionally, the music in it, the textures, it was so ahead of their time, there was nothing else like it…. And it’s just epic. My name is Shawn Dennehy, I’m here with the band Lucky Lenny. We’re doing a show at the Orpheum Theater doing Dark Side of the Moon bluegrass style. 

Music: Lucky Lenny’s “Breathe”

We’re a six piece bluegrass band from here in Flagstaff, Arizona. We do a lot of original music, and this time we’re going to be taking on the challenge of doing Pink Floyd…. We’re going to have a projector behind us playing some footage of space travel as well as the eclipse, we had a pretty good viewing of it last year I believe…. It’s just a real cool thing to do, mixing everything together, the lights, with such a great album, and having the connection with Lowell Observatory and what that brings to Flagstaff and the community, we’re all coming together to celebrate all those things at once, there’s not really many times you can do that.

There’s definitely some tempo changes and instrumental changes, where there’s things that are like synthesizers, how do you recreate that with acoustic instruments? We’ll do the whole thing front to back. Some of the more famous parts of it, like the vocal solo where there’s a woman singing, it’s just an incredible solo, heart-wrenching, we don’t have anyone that can do that vocally, but we have instruments in the band that will recreate that, it’ll be really cool, we have slide guitar and the fiddle are going to be doing that.

Music: Lucky Lenny’s “The Great Gig in the Sky”

We like to take songs that are not traditionally bluegrass and do them bluegrass. It really bridges the gap between people who don’t necessarily listen to that music, we have a lot of people that will come see is us play and they’ll love it when it do something like the Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd bluegrass style, it really bridges that gap.... I think covering anyone’s song and making it your own, but also paying tribute to them, is my goal in doing it. We want people to come and be like, this is definitely Dark Side of the Moon, but I’ve never heard it like that before.

Lucky Lenny will play "The Dark Side of the Moon" bluegrass style tonight at the Orpheum Theater at 8pm. They'll also play original music, along with the local band Planet Sandwich. For more information on the Lunar Legacy celebration, visit www.flagstafflunarlegacy.com. This audio postcard was produced by KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny.