May 10th, 2019
The Infamous Stringdusters
Sponsor: Spencer Home Center
Unlike rock 'n' roll, bluegrass music's boundaries are often defined in very narrow terms and that has caused some bands to carefully consider their place within the genre. But, in order to survive, everything must evolve... even bluegrass. Enter the Infamous Stringdusters, the very model of a major modern bluegrass band.
“At a certain point in our career, there was hesitation in calling us a bluegrass band,” guitarist Andy Falco admits. “These days, we’re much more comfortable with that label.” Banjo man Chris Pandolfi echoes the point: “We love bluegrass, but we have been influenced by other genres as much, if not more. When it comes to making music, we always try to be a blank slate and give new songs whatever they need to come to life. We just try to make something good, something that is true to who we are.”
The Infamous Stringdusters rise to new heights on their ninth full-length record Rise Sun. For the album, the GRAMMY® Award-winning quintet—Andy Falco [guitar], Chris Pandolfi [banjo], Andy Hall [dobro], Jeremy Garrett [fiddle], and Travis Book [double bass]—expanded their signature sound by perfecting their seamless fusion of All-American-bluegrass and rock.
Once again sail into uncharted territory moored only by their expressive patchwork of All-American bluegrass threaded together with strands of rock, jazz, funk, country, old-time, and more.
May 24th, 2019
I'm With Her
Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O'Donovan
Sponsor: Raymond James
I’m With Her is a band rooted in a rare alchemy: three celebrated songwriters coming together to create music that reveals entirely new possibilities in their distinct and deep-seated talents. Since forming in 2014, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan have imbued their songs with a sharply detailed lyricism, graceful musicianship, and — perhaps most powerfully — mesmerizing harmonies that endlessly reflect their extraordinary chemistry.
The latest single from I’m With Her, Call My Name again shows the strength and vitality of their singular connection. In a departure from the deliberately insular making of their debut album See You Around, the band pursued a new creative approach centered on true collaboration with producer Mike Elizondo (Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple). Recorded at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, “Call My Name” finds Elizondo building a hypnotic sonic backdrop, matching the track’s quietly urgent beat with I’m With Her’s delicate interplay of guitar, Wurlitzer, and fiddle. The result is a song both stark and luminous, perfectly capturing the potent tension within even the most loving relationship.
June 2nd, 2019
Sponsor: C.W. Barger and Son
Multiple Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile, a member of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, and now the host of the radio program, Live from Here, is a mandolin virtuoso, composer and vocalist. With his broad outlook, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.
A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released four albums and sold over two million records. In 2014, along with a national tour, the trio released a new album, A Dotted Line, their first since 2005.
As a soloist, Thile has released several albums including his most recent, Thanks for Listening, a collection of recordings, produced by Thomas Bartlett, originally written as Songs of the Week for Live from Here. In February 2013, Thile won a Grammy for his work on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan. In September 2014, Thile and Meyer released their latest album collaboration, Bass + Mandolin, which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. Punch Brothers released their latest album, the Grammy-winning All Ashore, in July 2018 with the Pop Matters describing the album as ‘a call to savor, to pay attention, to step back from the hustle and bustle and remember the importance of being calm.”
June 22nd, 2019
Charley Crockett and Kat Wright
Sponsor: Converge Local
Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender was not easy for blues singer Charley Crockett. Hitchhiking across the country exposed Crockett to the street life at a young age, following in the footsteps of his relative, American folk hero Davy Crockett, who also lived a wild life on the American frontier. After train hopping across the country, singing on the streets for change in New Orleans’ French Quarter, busking in New York City and performing across Texas and Northern California, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for nearly a year before searching for home in Spain, Morocco, and Northern Africa.
The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for “Best Blues Act”. A record “rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz,” Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is self-described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Merle Haggard, and Gary Clark Jr.
Kat Wright, whose voice is both sultry and dynamic, delicate yet powerful; gritty but highly emotive and nuanced, has been described as “a young Bonnie Raitt meets Amy Winehouse”. Add to that voice enough stage presence to tame lions, and the combination of feline femininity proves immediately enchanting. There’s soul flowing in and out of her rock ‘n’ roll with a serpentine seduction. Some of soul music’s sweet, grand dames belt, shout, seethe, and succumb, while Wright sings gently like a heartache’s apology. It’s funky in spots and beautiful all over. And it hurts a little … like it should.
Not included with the Season Pass
June 23rd, 2019
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
Opener: Sam Amidon
Sponsor: Cornerstone Bank
Every ticket for this show includes either a digital download or CD copy of Bruce Hornsby’s forthcoming album, Absolute Zero. You will receive an email with more details about this offer approximately 7 days after your purchase.
Bruce Hornsby, the creatively insatiable pianist and singer-songwriter from Williamsburg, Virginia, always has succeeded on his exceptional gifts, his training, and his work ethic. He became a global name in music by reimagining American roots forms as songs that moved with the atmospheric grace of jazz. “The Way It Is” defined sonic joy on the radio, however as a hit record it also evidenced a thrilling re-structuring, and during the years afterward Hornsby, in staggeringly diverse ways, has kept going.
He has returned to traditional American roots forms, collaborating with Ricky Skaggs. He has played with the Grateful Dead. He has fused the plunk and dazzle of twentieth-century modernist classical composition to singer-songwriter emotional inquiries. He has scored films. He has performed with symphony orchestras. If the sound of an arrogant air-conditioner or a stretch of rude playing caught his ear, he has entered the hallowed doors of the conservatories of punk. So when Hornsby describes Absolute Zero, his new album, as “a compendium of what I like and moves me,” don’t expect perhaps a thing or two new. Prepare for a multi-faceted ride.
The Following Mountain, Sam Amidon’s sixth album overall and his third for Nonesuch Records, is his first album of original songs. A deeply personal synthesis of folk-based song form and experimental improvisation, it “feels like a liberation” (Uncut) and “provides constant, jolting surprises” (The Guardian). But in his decade-long career as a recording and touring musician, the singer and multi-instrumentalist (banjo, guitar, fiddle) has always managed to create work that’s utterly original, even when, as on previous discs, he was digging through the sounds and stories of traditional American music. The Following Mountain features appearances by musicians such as Shahzad Ismaily, master percussionists Milford Graves and Juma Sultan, and psychedelic jazz musician Sam Gendel.
July 6th, 2019
Gary Ruley and Mule Train
with The Trailblazers
Sponsor: Pure Eats
Gary Ruley and Mule Train are an acoustic ensemble headed by veteran flat picking guitarist/vocalist Gary Ruley. Mule Train includes a vast network of talented musicians who support and share Gary's drive to present the powerful acoustic sounds of Bluegrass, New Grass, and Jazz.
Ruley, a Lexington native, has shared the stage with Bluegrass legends Mac Wiseman, Bobby Lester (Hall of Famer), Vassar Clements, Tony Rice, and two-time grammy winner Curtis Burch. Most recently Ruley has performed shows with recording artist and champion flat picker Larry Keel and the Larry Keel Experience.
Gary has released 5 CDs, "Pickin Tradition", "Live at the Troubadour Vol 1", "Live at the Troubadour Vol.2", "Gary Ruley & Muletrain" and "The Southern Inn & Out". Gary also performs on Larry Keel's "Miles and Miles", Larry Keel's "Journeys", as well as "Walkers Run". Musicians of Mule Train include Anne Marie Simpson Calhoun (fiddle/vocals), Mary Simpson (fiddle/vocals), Brennan Gilmore (mandolin/vocals), Will Lee (banjo/vocals), David Knicely (bass), Larry Keel (guitar/mandolin/vocals), Jenny Keel (bass/vocals), Jeremiah Ruley (banjo), Daniel Knicely (mandolin/vocals), Nate Leath (fiddle), Shannon Wheeler (fiddle), Rex McGee (fiddle/banjo) and Steve Hoke (pedal steel/fiddle).
Gary Ruley and Mule Train have been voted the winner of the 2009 Rockbridge Community Peoples Choice Award for Arts/Entertainment.
Based out of Wilkesboro, NC, the Trailblazers have taken a step back to the roots of Bluegrass, Americana, Folk, and Jazz music. The band has a solid foundation in the music they love, but they're constantly looking for new ways to make their mark in progressive acoustic music. The Trailblazers make original music and put their own twist on endless classics. They are the 2018 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year, and have won many prestigious contests, including Merlefest (2017), and the SPBGMA International Band Contest (2018).
Not included with the Season Pass
July 18th, 2019
JJ Grey & Mofro
Sponsor: Robert L Faulkner and Son Inc.
From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live — and you truly, absolutely must — the man is fearless.
Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.
July 20th, 2019
Sponsor: Kendal at Lexington
An award-winning virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly Tuttle has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, which she attended on a Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship, Tuttle has been featured on the cover of Acoustic Guitar Magazine (April 2017, February 2018) and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.
Her lovely voice, impeccable and fiery guitar playing, and sensitive songwriting make Molly Tuttle a star on the rise. She has toured extensively and has been featured on many prominent festivals including Rocky Grass Festival, Wintergrass Festival, and many others, and received a 2016 IBMA Momentum Award as Instrumentalist, singling her out as one to watch in the genre. 2017 has seen even more growth, with the release of Tuttle’s solo debut EP, Rise, debuting at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart and garnering prominent features for Tuttle in Premier Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine, and NPR Music. In September 2017, Tuttle was recognized as the 2017 Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), becoming the first woman to receive this honor in the history of the organization. In February 2018, Tuttle’s song “You Didn’t Call My Name” was awarded Song of the Year at the International Folk Music Awards by Folk Alliance International.
August 3rd, 2019
Steep Canyon Rangers
Sponsors: Broadview Ranch, 12 Ridges
With Out In The Open, Steep Canyon Rangers affirm their place as one of the most versatile bands in contemporary American music. The GRAMMY® Award-winning sextet has spent nearly two decades bending and shaping the bluegrass aesthetic, wedding it to elements of pop, country, and folk rock to create something original. Out In The Open is the Rangers bravest excursion thus far, transcending bluegrass while also getting closest to the genre’s true form thanks to 3x GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Joe Henry’s traditional approach toward recording.
Since Steep Canyon Rangers came together in 2000, they have developed a remarkable catalogue of original music that links them to the past while also demonstrating their ambitious intent to bring string-based music into contemporary relevance.
In July 2017, Steep Canyon Rangers arrived at Fidelitorium Recordings, an intimate studio facility built, owned, and operated by legendary producer Mitch Easter. The band soon discovered that their producer – along with engineer/mixer Jason Richmond – intended to record all six members singing and playing in a room with no overdubs. The organic process allowed SCR to work fast, tracking a dozen songs in just three-and-a-half days. Steep Canyon Rangers are easily among the hardest working bands in any genre, pulling double duty on their own and as collaborators with Steve Martin.
Out In The Open is an undeniable milestone on the Rangers ongoing creative journey. As they approach their second decade, Steep Canyon Rangers are still moving forward, searching for new horizons and musical vistas.
September 14th, 2019
Keller & The Keels
Sponsor: Lexington Real Estate Connection
Award winning flat picker Larry Keel and his rock solid, in the pocket bass playing wife, Jenny Keel, make up two thirds of this super fun trio I started in 2004. With two albums recorded together the handful of gigs we play a year turn into acoustic picking parties. We vowed from the beginning that we wouldn’t do it often so that when we did, it would be special and it is.
September 28th, 2019
The Steel Wheels
Sponsors: Spencer and Taylor, PLC, Paradox Farm
Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they’ve been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet, their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here. The Steel Wheels recorded their album in rural Maine, where producer Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter) owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members – Trent Wagler (guitar, banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass) and Jay Lapp (mandolin) – hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here. The band’s name is a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage. Their musical style weaves through Americana and bluegrass, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into their recording sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.