Polk County from Della Mae

Another band that made some waves at IBMA 2011 is Della Mae, who not only played some solid music at several late night showcases, but helped smash a number of stereotypes along the way.

They perform without a banjo, in complete defiance of established bluegrass norms. As a banjo player myself, I can’t say that I joyfully embrace this change, being in favor of full employment for five stringers. But like a number of other young groups, Della Mae builds their sound in the absence of the forward roll.

This is also an all-female group, made up of serious instrumentalists, in keeping with the bluegrass way. Kimber Ludiker is an award-winning fiddler, and she is joined by Jenni Lyn Gardner on mandolin, Amanda Kowalski on bass, Celia Woodsmith on guitar and vocals, and newest member Courtney Hartman on lead guitar. Courtney has been almost a Della Mae for months, but the band made it official just before they headed to Nashville for World Of Bluegrass.

A music video was released just prior to IBMA, showcasing a song from their debut full-length album, I Built This Heart, due October 18. It was written by Woodsmith, who also sings the song.

Greg Liszt of Crooked Still filmed the video during the summer (a banjo player!).

A pair of CD release events are scheduled near Boston later this month. Find all the details online.

Share this:

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.