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

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Steve Mar­tin on the Leg­endary Blue­grass Musi­cian Earl Scrug­gs

Pickin’ & Trim­min’ in a Down-Home North Car­oli­na Bar­ber­shop: Award-Win­ning Short Film

Steve Mar­tin Writes Song for Hymn-Deprived Athe­ists

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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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