Best Country Band (Traditional)

The Western Satellites

Western swing holds a special place in the hearts of hardcore country-music fans. The genre pioneered by Bob Wills combines the primordial stuff of American music — blues, jazz and country — and, in its dance-oriented freedom, anticipates rock & roll. The Western Satellites isn't precisely a western swing band, but in its sound, the genre's core elements get distilled to a mellow, smoky essence. A small combo of the crème de la crème of St. Louis roots music — Margaret Bianchetta, Vince Corkery, Bob Breidenbach, John Ferber and Scott Hughes — doesn't need a fiddle player or horn section to swing Western-style. Guitarists Breidenbach and Ferber duke it out with jazzy panache, the rhythm section glides and shuffles, and Bianchetta consistently reminds listeners that she's still the most under-appreciated singer in town.

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