Long Island Bluegrass Festival Set for August 16

The Long Island Bluegrass Festival will take place at Tanner Park on Kerrigan Road, near the Great South Bay, in Copiague, NY on Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon-8 p.m. Presented by the Babylon Arts Council and the Town of Babylon, the festival will be headlined by Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass and also will feature performances by Buddy Merriam & Back Roads, James Reams & the Barnstormers, Too Blue, Acoustic Electrix, Free Grass Union, Michael Daves and Blue Detour.

Headliners Dan Paisley and the Southern Grass perform a distinctive brand of hard-driving bluegrass. The group’s members — Dan Paisley on guitar and expressive lead and tenor vocals, Michael Paisley on acoustic bass, T.J. Lundy on Fiddle, Bobby Lundy on banjo and baritone vocals, and Donnie Eldreth on mandolin and harmony vocals — live in Delaware and Pennsylvania. However, their sound, like their family heritage, is rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. The Paisleys’ and Lundys’ fathers played bluegrass together for many years as the Southern Mountain Boys, while Eldreth’s dad is a former member of the Southern Grass.

"Our songs capture the spirit of traditional bluegrass," says Paisley. "They represent the type of music that our fathers played, recorded and passed on to us." Regulars on the festival and concert circuit across the U.S., and adept at both ballads and hoedowns, Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass have recorded more than a dozen albums. The group’s latest, The Room Over Mine, was recently released on Rounder.

Buddy Merriam & Back Roads play a mix of traditional favorites and original tunes. Merriam has been making and playing bluegrass and mandolin music in the Northeast for more than 30 years. A friend and disciple of Bill Monroe, the "father of bluegrass," the Long Island resident has toured nationally and internationally, has released five albums, and hosts "Blue Grass Time" Wednesday nights on Stony Brook, NY-based WUSB 90.1 FM.

New York City-based James Reams & The Barnstormers has been performing its soulful, straight-up brand of old-school bluegrass in these here parts and beyond since 1993. Fronted by southeastern Kentucky-bred Reams on guitar and lead vocals, the band performs traditional bluegrass with an old-time country edge and three-part harmonies.

Rounding out the lineup are Too Blue, a contemporary bluegrass quartet whose members hail from Connecticut and New York; Michael Daves, a 31-year old Atlanta-bred and Brooklyn-based vocalist and guitarist; and local bluegrass outfits Acoustic Electrix, Blue Detour and Free Grass Union.

Now in its sixth year, the family-friendly festival — for which admission is $10 for adults and free for children under 12 — also will include workshop tents, plenty of opportunities for jamming, music and activities for children, crafts, and a food court. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

More information on the Long Island Bluegrass Festival is available online at www.babylonarts.com or by calling (631) 587-3696.

You might also want to visit AcousticMusicScene.com, an online publication that I launched last year to provide news and commentary for the folk, roots and singer-songwriter communities. It is best viewed using a Firefox browser.