Colebrook Road from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, took top prize at Sunday’s D.C. Bluegrass Union’s Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Contest: a fantastic event held at the Strathmore’s Amp just outside of the District of Columbia.
Colebrook Road won over the judges and the packed house with their strong, clean picking and blended bluegrass sound. They hit the groove from the get-go with Mark Rast kicking it off expertly on banjo. Smiles and nods galore when Joe McAnulty dropped in on the fiddle. People quickly realized these guys are good. The band knocked it out of the park with Halfway Between, an original that showcased Jesse Eisenbise’s singing, song-writing, and guitar-playing prowess along with their spot-on group harmonies. Each player broke it down and showed off their talents. Wade Yankey gave an impressive mandolin solo and Jeff Campbell kept solid time on the bass. All were skilled in their own right, and they played seamlessly as part of the greater good. Learn more about Colebrook Road here.
Maple Grove from Hampstead, Maryland, won second place. They gathered us in with a delightful opening tune then made sure we knew they could all tear it up with the best of them by laying down a lightening quick Daybreak in Dixie. Guitarist Joey Mosley wowed the crowd with a fabulous, finger-flying solo. Here is to hoping they got extra points for a singing banjo player (Jay Mosley) too! You can learn more about Maple Grove, the Mosley family band, online.
The Molly Rose Band brought home third place. They were a sophisticated crew from Cascade, Virginia, with some real crisp banjo-picking (Lynwood Lunsford), strong pipes and guitar playing (Mark Hudson) and a mandolinist (David Lewis) who deftly ripped through a roaring Rawhide. Gary Baird kept them in line on the bass. You can learn more about the Molly Rose Band here.
Hats off to the Hatcher Boys from Timberville, Virginia. They also delivered a crowd-pleasing performance, which featured a young bass-player with some singing chops (Connor Hatcher). Hard-driving banjo-picking brother (Spencer Hatcher) was remarkable as well. Gifted mando brother (Dane Hatcher) and guitarist Dad (Michael Hatcher) rounded out this group. They are a band to watch. Their grassy rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man was just too much fun.
Congratulations to the other competitors as well: Western Avenue String Band; The Yankee Rebels; The Hub City Revue; No Part of Nothin’; and New Mountain Fever Band.
We know it takes a lot to get up there on that stage. Thank you immensely for doing it, and showing us what you’ve got! Keep up the good work, everyone, and we will look for you out on the road.
Also, a massive thank you to Chris Jones and the Night Drivers who performed a thoroughly enjoyable set while the judges deliberated. Their treats included a gorgeous Edelweiss, the beautiful Battle of the Bands, a stirring Final Farewell, the toe-tapper Tonight I’m Gonna Ride, and a wild Wolf Creek Pass. Chris Jones’s voice just grabs you. Gina Clowes can certainly make that banjo sing. Mark Stoffel is simply phenomenal on mandolin. And, what a pleasure to have song-writing gem Jon Weisberger holding it all together on the bass.