A Bluegrass Version of Metallica’s Heavy Metal Hit, “Enter Sandman”

On the strength of its hit single Enter Sandman, Metallica’s eponymous 1991 album eventually went platinum, and the band became one of the biggest heavy metal acts around. Since then, the influence of “Enter Sandman” has rippled out into the larger culture. Since 1999, Mariano Rivera, surely the greatest relief pitcher in the history of baseball, has ritually made his entrance to the game with “Enter Sandman” providing the soundtrack. (Perhaps a strange pick for a mild-mannered, deeply religious man. But somehow it works.) And the song has been covered umpteen times — by other metal bands (most notably Motörhead) but also by Weird Al Yankovic, Pat Boone, and the bluegrass band called Iron Horse.

Formed over a decade ago in the recording capital of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Iron Horse features Tony Robertson on mandolin, Vance Henry on guitar, Ricky Rogers on bass, and Anthony Richardson on banjo. And, together, they’ve taken some risks along the way.

In 2003, they released Fade to Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica, a collection of ten Metallica songs done in bluegrass fashion — “or at least as bluegrass as it’s possible for Metallica songs to be.” Speaking about the album on their website, they write:

Metallica’s thundering drums, heart-pounding guitars and anguished vocals tell the story of people lost in the hustle of modern society. Bluegrass music sings the tale of people stuck between heaven and hell, the farm and the city and love and hate. In many ways Metallica and bluegrass are brothers, one raised in the urban jungle and the other in the country. So what happens when these two estranged siblings get together? Fade to Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica has the answer. Banjo and mandolin replace electric guitars and high lonesome harmonies soar in place of growling vocals to create a surprising and moving tribute. Performed with passion and skill by Alabama bluegrass band Iron Horse, and featuring classics such as “Unforgiven,” “Enter Sandman” and “Fade to Black,” Fade to Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica is a family reunion between brothers heavy metal and bluegrass.

You can watch Iron Horse perform “Enter Sandman” above. And below you can see that Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett approves:

via Devour

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Comments (8)
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  • Chris Pencis says:

    Terrific stuff! Thanks a ton for sharing this. Austin TX gets a lot of mix of blues, bluegrass and rock but this is exemplary.

  • Jason Maggini says:

    That “Enter Napster” is not a Weird Al song. He did include “Enter Sandman” a polka medley, however.

  • Scotty-Dog says:

    Dudes,, I’m a huge Metallica fan and have been since their beginning hence my age of almost 50… But love me some old time grass too.. How the heck you were able to combine the two is just down right crazy and ingenious.. Don’t stop there my friends… I’m a fan

  • @sandysmw says:

    Wow! Not a country & western fan but I do like BlueGrass. ,!

  • Allen F Butcher says:

    This isn’t really new, though. There was a bluegrass Metallica tribute album that came out over 10(?) years ago.

  • Neil Fowler says:

    Please take the Weid Al link out of this article. It is not Weird Al. There are many song parodies on the Internet that are wrongfully attributed to Weird Al just to generate traffic.

  • jon says:

    Could it be the album that the article references?

  • Cody says:

    Iron Horse’s bluegrass tribute to Modest Mouse is incredible. something about Isaac Brock’s lyrics work really well in a bluegrass mode.

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