On December 15th we departed for a 3 week tour across Germany called The Bluegrass Jamboree. Each year Rainer Zellner attends IBMA to recruit three American bands to come to Germany. This year’s bands include Brennan Leigh & Noel McKay, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbelly’s and Town Mountain. Rainer’s vision is to bring an Americana duo, a progressive string band and a bluegrass band to Germany to share American folk music with German music lovers. Since the Bluegrass Jamboree’s inception six years ago the lineup has included The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Deadly Gentlemen, Della Mea, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms and Audie Blaylock & Redline, just to name a few.
As the tour is winding to an end we are feeling a bit exhausted but the exhilaration of being in a new town every day outweighs any desire to rest. Each day the entire group of 15 people (3 bands, sound man, Rainer, his wife and the driver) hop onto the bus and drive to the next town. Before load in and soundcheck there is always a bit of time to explore the local happenings. One of the most exciting German traditions is the Christmas Market. Streets filled with vendors selling German Christmas ornaments, Glüewein (German mulled wine) and delicious German cuisine are perfect hubs to experience a taste of German culture.
When show time comes around each band plays their set for what is usually a packed house followed by a finale set including all of the bands and Rainer on mandolin. Not only does Rainer do a knockout job booking the tour and taking great care of the musicians but he can really pick! The German audiences are very enthusiastic and love to hang out after the concert. Between our broken German and their exceptional English everyone has fun mingling.
This tour has been a great opportunity for us to expand our international fan base and to share bluegrass music in Germany. Regardless of where we are touring it’s always a pursuit to go beyond just playing the show and spend time experiencing the local community while bringing our music to people. Being immersed in a foreign country for three weeks has been a great way to wrap up the year.
The remainder of 2014 includes our annual hometown holiday show at The Isis Music Hall that is a fundraiser for two local non-profit organizations, MANNA and FATE, helping hunger relief in Asheville. 2015 kicks off with the recording of our next studio album and plenty of touring.
We’d like to give a big thanks to Rainer for inviting us to be a part of this tour and reminding us about the joys of playing music and traveling.