Top 5 Bluegrass Acts to Catch at SCamp15

       Memorial Day Weekend, aka Summer Camp for the festival world, is quickly approaching - we’re just a few days away! Known to bring in all types of music lovers with their diverse genre lineups, this year Summer Camp’s lineup features a taste for every ear. Amidst a variety of electro to folk, I devised a list of the top five bluegrass sets every S'Camper should attend at least one of - because I think everyone could use a little more banjo in their lives.

 

5. The Infamous Stringdusters

Image found on rvanews.com

Image found on rvanews.com

       Taking a happy medium between indie jamgrass and the type of bluegrass found deep in the Appalachian mountain range, The Infamous Stringdusters make number five on our list. Hailing from the melting pot of music, Nashville, Tennessee, it’s easy to see how this band has found its influences. A lot of their tunes are folky, taking you back to a generation long ago. To be true, these guys give a foot stompin’, swing dancin’, flowy skirt wearin’ good ol down home pickin’ good time. But seriously, their music is exceedingly easy to dance to, and it’s impossible not to wear a smile.

Set times & place:

1:30-3:00 am Thursday, Campfire Stage

1:00-2:30pm Friday, Sunshine Stage

 

4. Greensky Bluegrass

Image by Erika Goldring//Getty Images

Image by Erika Goldring//Getty Images

      Equipped with an epic light show and an amped up bluegrass sound, Greensky Bluegrass comes in our list at number four. Also from the Midwest (Michigan), Greensky Bluegrass is comprised of Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin). Their unique sound is representative of their seemingly opposing name. “Greensky” and “bluegrass” somehow fit this band’s style, fusing classic Americana with the innovation of 2015, breaking down all preconceived notions of what it means to be a bluegrass band. They have a perfect set time to let loose while you’re still awake and trying to get your feet dirty, dancing in the dust.

 

Set times & place:

11:00pm-12:30am Sunday, Starshine Stage

 

3. Keller Williams & Grateful Grass

Image by Erika Golding//Getty Images

Image by Erika Golding//Getty Images

            Officially considered a pro after spending most of his life as a performer, Keller Williams is bringing his talent to Summer Camp this year, accompanied by the collaborations of many talented individuals to comprise Grateful Grass, a Grateful Dead interpretation band. However, this isn’t just the same Grateful Dead tribute band you see at every festival, but rather is a mix of talented musicians taking their own love of the Dead and communicating it through that festival love thing going on. Their band has consisted (and fluctuated) in the past of The Keels, Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident), Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band), Michael Kang (String Cheese Incident), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green, Mark Beneveto Trio), and several more. Williams will perform onstage solo as his own one man band and then again with the full band. As a dude who enjoys a daily dose of progressive bluegrass and also the “beefed up sound system” of Bassnectar, Keller Williams’ set is bound to be entertaining. 

Set times & place:

5:00-6:15pm Friday, Moonshine Stage

 

2. Trampled By Turtles

Image by Stephen J. Cohen//Getty Images

Image by Stephen J. Cohen//Getty Images

      The past few years have been very interesting for Trampled By Turtles – almost as interesting as their name. Gearing up to headline Red Rocks Amphitheater on August 29th with the accompaniment of Elephant Revival and Shakey Graves, Trampled By Turtles has every right to be number two on this list. With a plentitude of festivals under their belt now and native to the Midwest, this band will surely be keen on the vibe of the crowd and playing to their stringed-sounds needs. The guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle compose this band of strings with most members on harmonic vocals as well. Trampled By Turtles has a collaborative, soulful, and positive vibration that is simplistic and pleasing for any bluegrass lover.

 

Set times & place:

7:00-8:15pm Friday, Moonshine Stage

 

1. Yonder Mountain String Band

      Yonder Mountain String Band tops our list by means of their energetic, harmonious, and progressive bluegrass sound. Rising quickly in popularity, YMSB is set to release their sixth full-length album, Black Sheep, at the famous Telluride Bluegrass Festival later this summer. That being said, it would be logical to expect to hear some brand new songs that will be appearing on that album. Also, a factor that gives YSMB a heavier weight on our list is due to the fact that the band just expanded their talent by adding violinist Allie Kral and master of the mandolin Jacob Jolliff in addition to the founding members Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals), Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals), and Ben Kaufmann (bass, vocals). Their sets are bound to be “jam” packed full of crazy stringed riffs and superior lyricism to lose yourself in. YSMB does a fantastic job of keeping things everything but ordinary, and should absolutely be the bluegrass set you catch at Summer Camp this year. Prepare to do some two-stepping, jumping around, and grinning.

Set times & place:

2:45-3:45pm Sunday, Sunshine Stage

 

 

Written By: Jaelyn Kohl