Arkansauce shares new songs in What’s Up! podcast

Arkansauce shares new songs in What’s Up! podcast

Arkansauce stopped by our podcast studio last month to talk about their new album, “OK to Wonder,” which drops April 21. So far, two singles, “Up on the Shelf” and “My Home in Arkansas,” have been released over streaming services.

Both songs bear the hallmarks of quintessential Arkansauce tunes: They’re fun to sing along with and give each member of the band time to flex his considerable picking skills, as do many of the other tracks on the new album. Each one has a different character, but the overall sound is anchored by Arkansauce’s distinctive style that gently, yet skillfully, jams against the framework of traditional bluegrass.

“I think for us it happens pretty naturally, because we come from such diverse backgrounds musically,” says Ethan Bush during a podcast with What’s Up! “We all came into bluegrass, country, folk music at different points in our musical journeys, so we all have a lot of differentiating influences.” Bush is the mandolin player.

For “OK to Wonder,” they recorded songs in small sessions stretched out over a year and a half, and the extra time is reflected in the songs.

“We’ve had so long to work on the songs and think about them and think about how they’re put together,” says Zach Archuleta, guitarist. “[For] this album, we got to stretch it out a little bit and put a magnifying glass to everything and see what we really like and what we don’t and have the opportunity to go back and change it. That was really refreshing for this album for me.”

Arkansauce’s new album, “Ok to Wonder,” is the band’s fifth studio album. Released independently and recorded over a year and a half, the album drops on April 21. (Courtesy Photo/Phil Clarkin)

“Even going back a little further, the album was kind of started during the pandemic, during the original quarantine,” which gave the musicians time to further develop their skills, explains Adams Collins, the banjo player. “We stopped touring, and we kept our rehearsal schedule. I personally just had mountains of time to practice … our skills really developed, but changed the nature of our rehearsals as well because we weren’t trying to adhere to a performance schedule and keep our repertoire fresh.”

The result is felt in the four intricately layered instrumental tracks. Collins, who has a jazz percussion degree, says that he was influenced by ’80s hip-hop and New Orleans funk when composing.

“I’m taking basically the bluegrass ensemble and trying to approach it like a drumset player would, where one instrument is the hi-hat, one instrument the kick drum, one instrument the snare drum. And then I start from there and create some textures that I like and then go back and write melodies,” Collins explains. “It’s a somewhat new creative process for me, but it’s really fun. I feel like it’s just barely scratching the surface of what is possible.”

While they are a largely collaborative band, bassist Tom Andersen walked lead on “My Home in Arkansas” and provided the single song that fits in the more traditional bend of bluegrass.

“I listened to a lot of Bill Monroe,” Andersen says. “We realized we were stepping out in a lot of these grooves and patterns and songs, and we realized there’s nothing on the album that’s really like a more traditional uptempo bluegrass tune.”

Another gem on the album is Archuleta’s “Early Bird,” which is an earnest and heartfelt celebration of overcoming bad days even when you know there will be more to come. “How Time Flies” is another that weaves together stories from the past with an optimistic nod toward the future; just be careful about that one and “First Night of the Tour” around young ears. Finally, “Coldiron” is this writer’s favorite Arkansauce tune to date, and you can see why on our podcast at

“OK to Wonder,” is available now at and via all streaming platforms. Catch an Arkansauce show at Backwoods Music Festival April 22 at Mulberry Mountain near Ozark. They are also playing for the FreshGrass Music Festival in Bentonville this May.


Listen Here!

Arkansauce discusses “OK to Wonder” and performs “Up on the Shelf,” “My Home in Arkansas,” and “Coldiron” during a podcast with The Free Weekly. Hear it here at

Keep up with Arkansauce at

Categories: Cover Story