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Arts & Life

Watch Lawrence Band Unfit Wives In NPR's Tiny Desk Contest

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Lovegrass Music Festival
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Lawrence, Kansas, bluegrass band Unfit Wives performs in the 2021 Lovegrass Music Festival.

Lawrence, Kansas, bluegrass band Unfit Wives had one of KCUR and 90.9 The Bridge's favorite songs in the 2021 Tiny Desk Contest.

This #NowPlaying discovery comes to us from this year's Tiny Desk Contest and NPR Member station KCUR.

Unfit Wives calls itself "bluegrass with attitude" — a more-than-apt description of the quartet out of Lawrence, Kan. In its Tiny Desk Contest submission for "Milk & Honey," the four members – Jenna Rae on guitar, Monica Greenwood on mandolin, Reagan Zagan on banjo and Kahlen Ryba on bass – stand tall in cowboy boots and harmonize into a sole microphone. (And in keeping with Tiny Desk Contest rules, the video features not one, but three miniature desks!) They're one jug player short of a slot at the Grand Ole Opry.

Just two years old as a group, Unfit Wives already summon the dare-me-not-to attitude of The Chicks and Dolly Parton, the group's clear forebears. "No one to tell me where I am not allowed," Rae sings of this haven, from the beat-downs of working life. Such a land may exist "only in your mind," as Rae sings, but that's not stopping Unfit Wives from printing its own ticket.

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