Bob Perilla and Big Hillbilly Bluegrass in Takoma Park

The signs of spring are unmistakable all over the northern hemisphere. Trees are blooming, baseball is being played, and bluegrass music is being heard outdoors.

One of the most striking aspects of the COVID-19 shutdowns for us last year was the inability to share photos from bluegrass festivals and concerts. Throughout the warm weather months, it was common for us to feature images from our several crack photojournalists, capturing the fun at events all over the world.

Festivals are about to start again this year, and while some prominent gatherings have been postponed or cancelled, many others are going forward with additional safety precautions. Good news for bluegrass lovers worldwide.

Jerome Stephens was invited to a live bluegrass show over the weekend in Takoma Park, MD. It may have only been a backyard concert, but we are sure you will share our joy at seeing his photos of Bob Perilla & Big Hillbilly Bluegrass performing before a live audience on Saturday.

Here are his comments…

“Bob Perilla and his band, Big Hillbilly Bluegrass, played to a small audience in the backyard garden of some friends. The site was really lovely and it felt sooooo good to be watching music outside. Maybe fifty people filled in the shady spots under the trees – it felt like a small festival. Lemonade was being sold and the weather was perfect. It had been almost two years since last seeing Bob. Mary Doub was there too –  last time I saw here was 2019.

The show was hosted by Harry and Kathleen Fulton, a collaboration between Bob’s bassist, Mary Naden, and Kathleen.

High winds the day before took down a huge tree in their back yard, only feet from where the stage was to be – thankfully the wind blew it down in the exact opposite direction into a neighboring yard.

Terry Mandell spoke for a few minutes about the Stephen Mandell Memorial Music Scholarship fund. Afterwards a little jamming and catching up. It was a wonderful evening.”

Bob Perilla was on guitar and vocals, Mary Naden on bass, Norman Wright on mandolin, and Kevin Church on banjo. Norman is former member of The Country Gentlemen and The Bluegrass Cardinals. Kevin is likewise a former Gent.

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About the Author

Jeromie Stephens

Jeromie Stephens has been photographing bluegrass musicians for a little over 30 years. In keeping with the photo-reportage styles of Jim Marshall, Carl Fleischauer and Les Leverett, he shoots in black and white and tries to always stay in close to his subjects. He was first published by FRETS! Magazine in 1986, his junior year of high school. He's illustrated articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, The Washington Post, The Nashville Tennessean and Fretboard Journal. Additionally his photos have been used in CD packages for musicians like Tony Rice, Danny Gatton and Lou Pallo. Jeromie lives in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife, April and youngest son, JJ. You are likely to see JJ with his Dad taking photos at festivals.