Bluegrass in Detroit this week

Henhouse Prowlers at the River Raisin Centre for the Arts (10/26/23) – photo © Bill Warren

The greater Detroit area had two very good bluegrass shows in the past week.

The first was this past Saturday at the Kentuckians of Michigan. They have hosted bluegrass and traditional country music for over twenty years. This presentation was a new band, Next Paige, with seasoned musicians. Leading the band are Bryan and Lisa Paige, the owners/operators of Paige Capo. Both come from musical families. Filling in on banjo was Brad Campbell, who had a stint with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver a number of years ago. Adam McIntosh, who is currently with Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers and has had two stints with Dry Branch Fire Squad, filled in on guitar for the evening. Tim Ellis joined the band for a couple tunes. He played banjo with Jim and Jesse many years ago. The audience got a full dose of hard driving bluegrass music.

Then it was on to the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in Monroe, Michigan on Thursday evening. The Henhouse Prowlers were in town. They are a Chicago-based band that was formed about eighteen years ago. Banjo picker Ben Wright describes the band as “walking the line between contemporary and traditional bluegrass.” They do just that and very well with their mostly original music.

The band is comprised of Wright on banjo, John Goldfine on bass, Chris Dollar on guitar, and Jake Howard on mandolin. All four sing lead and harmony. Wright and Goldfine are founders of the band, who typically play around a single mic. Dollar said that the large stage allowed them to use individual mics, and they spent extra sound check time with the set up. It was first class all the way.

They are cultural ambassadors for the U.S. State Department, and have traveled to some twenty eight countries on their musical journey. Their journey has lead to the founding of a non-profit, Bluegrass Ambassadors, which you can learn more about online.

This is a band well worth seeing. You will hear original music presented in good bluegrass style.

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