Northern Departure takes the silver

Here’s a happy ending followup to a piece we ran last month, when we posted about Northern Departure. This young bluegrass band from Seattle made it into the finals of a northwestern band competition, Sound Off!, typically dominated by rock and pop groups.

We heard from ND guitarist Chris Luquette earlier this week, with details on the final round of play-offs on March 5.

“We finished in 2nd place! Seattle Indie-pop band Tomten finished 1st, rock band Fit For Hounds 3rd, and from British Columbia, bubblegum pop band The Oh Wells finished 4th.

For finishing 2nd, we received a performance spot at the 2011 NW Folklife Festival, and tons of gear, including a Vox Electric Guitar, a Black Start 100 Watt amplifier, and a Korg keyboard Synthesizer. All gear that an acoustic bluegrass band desperately needs!!!

We were honored to make it to the finals, and every young person in the audience truly enjoyed our music and we had an amazing audience reaction. One young fan told me: ‘I’ve never seen bluegrass before, but that was the greatest show I have ever seen!!’

Thanks to all of the bluegrass fans who supported us in our Sound Off run, and thanks to Bluegrass Today for the coverage! Keep tabs on our web site for our summer schedule, which takes us to some great bluegrass and music festivals.”

Congratulations to Chris and the guys for this impressive performance!In addition to Luquette on guitar, Derek Gray is on bass, Nick Dumas is on mandolin/fiddle, and Austin McGregor is on banjo.

Sometimes it seems that bands from outside the bluegrass heartland better understand the importance of taking our music into unconventional arenas. Well done, gentlemen.


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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.