RockyGrass report from Jake Schepps

This Friday RockyGrass report comes from banjo man Jake Schepps, whose banjo album based on the music of Béla Bartok, An Evening In The Village, will be released soon.

RockyGrass continually lives up to it’s reputation, year after year. It has been called the “perfect” festival, and I have a tendency to agree. Though one might say I am biased; this is my 17th time attending RockyGrass over the last 19 years. There is just one main stage here, but it offers so many highlights in a day that you cannot capture them all.  Here are a few of mine from Friday’s line-up.

Brother Mule is one of the coolest bands you have likely never seen. With Ben Winship, Brian Wicklund and Lyons, Colorado local bassist Eric Thorin, their mix of quirky covers and awesome originals is riveting. Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings (now featuring guitarist Scott Law, fiddler Lauren Rioux, and cellist Mike Block) covered the gamut from ripping old-time fiddle tunes to odd metered Swedish polskas. And Mike Block sang a hilarious tune about Michael Jordan. Find it on YouTube.

Bryan Sutton and the String Set with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and Greg Garrison played a number of Doc Watson tunes, fiddle tunes, originals, and a piece from the Improvised Roots Series a couple weeks ago with Bill Frisell and Ron Miles (featured on The Bluegrass Blog).

After the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience played a half dozen songs, David launched into a deep history of bluegrass which  was remarkably compelling, and playing tunes from some of the earliest roots of bluegrass, like the Carter Family and others from the earliest RCA sessions. But the true highlight of the set was the encore, Fanny Hill played with Boston-based wunderkind Dominick Leslie and Alex Hargreaves.

And the Del McCoury Band closed the evening, always flawless, and just killed it. One cool moment was when Bassist Alan Bartram sang You Win Again and on the first chorus Del sang a soaring tenor which got a huge round of applause like it was an instrument solo. Their set ended with Peter Rowan, David Grisman and Darol Anger joining the band for a couple tunes.

More amazing music to follow…….