Amanda Kowalski exits Della Mae

Yesterday (3/25), Boston’s distaff grassers, Della Mae, played to a sold-out, hometown crowd at Club Passim. Here the band played some of their earliest gigs during the formative years, and Sunday’s show featured both a triumphant homecoming, and an emotional goodbye.

They took the occasion of a friendly audience to announce the imminent departure of original member, bassist Amanda Kowalski. She had been on board since the ladies started working up material in 2009, but has found herself in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between Della Mae’s increasingly demanding tour schedule, and her own career as a free lance photographer and videographer.

But with her work having already been featured in the New York Times, Fretboard Journal and the Atlantic blog, Kowalski made the decision to stay at home and work behind the camera rather than run the roads and stand behind the upright bass. Needless to say, she wishes the band well as they move on without her.

“It’s been such an honor to be in Della Mae, and I intend to stay friends with these women for a lifetime. They are all utter powerhouses, and I’m psyched to see them go on and succeed.”

The rest of the Dellas had similar sentiments to express. Fellow-founder and fiddler Kimber Ludiker got things started.

“Amanda’s been a great friend and music partner for a long time. [Amanda and I] dreamt this band late night at fiddle camp in California, and I’ve enjoyed playing with her and touring with her. She is the happiest person I know, and plays with such energy and love.

We love Amanda and are so honored to have played with her.”

Vocalist and guitarist Celia Woodsmith was equally enthusiastic.

“I think Amanda brought, first of all, amazing musicality to the group. But I think more importantly, she was just a joy to be around. We always called her the happiest woman in show business. But there was a reason for that—you know, you watch her play, and she’s always smiling, she’s always grooving. She is just one hundred percent a joy to have on stage.”

Newest member Courtney Hartman, on lead guitar, says that Kowalski was one of the reasons she decided to join the group.

“I just loved being around her, and I loved the energy she gave to the group.”

A new hire to fill Amanda’s spot is expected to be announced next week.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.