Well, it’s August and outdoor bluegrass concerts and festivals are in full-on mode. How about looking up the recording “It’s A Hot Night In August” by Ralph Stanley or Gary Ferguson.
Locally you can catch a group of great young musicians for Canada called the Slocan Ramblers at the Sportsmen Tavern on Thursday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are highly recommended. They have torn up the stage at the Sportsmen’s before with their lightning fast picking and captivating original songs.
The Buffalo Bluegrass All Stars continue through the summer and into the fall and winter, performing every first and third Thursday of the month starting at noon at the Sportsmen’s Tavern.
The Pickin in the Pasture Bluegrass Festival is happening on Aug. 26, 27, 28 and 29 in Lodi, N.Y., between Watkins Glen and Ithaca. Gary Brewer, Little Roy Lewis, the Price Sisters and Lorraine Jordan are headlining the four-day festival. You can get details at http://www.pickininthepasture.com.
There are 37 bluegrass festivals happening all over the U.S. this August, with roughly 500 happening in one year’s span. A good resource for finding when and where they are is https://bluegrasscountry.org/festivals.
The Erie County Fair has bluegrass bands this year. Creek Bend is playing Slade Park in the Erie County Fair from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, and the Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble (made up of middle and high school bluegrass musicians from western New York) will be playing there on the closing day of the fair, Sunday, Aug. 22, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
The Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble is looking for new members starting this fall. It’s free. Information on the Bluegrass Youth Ensemble and about more live bluegrass events can be found at https://buffalobluegrass.com. It is updated day to day to stay current.
Here’s a question I’ve been asked more than a few times. So what makes bluegrass different than country, rock, jazz or blues? It generally has no drums. That is a big part of it. When was the last time you watched a band in the other styles without a drummer? So how does bluegrass get by and actually reach its signature “sound” without a drummer? Bill Monroe used that little mandolin to play on beats 2 and 4 the way the snare drum does on most basic rhythms. Another stylistic trait is there is usually a banjo and it’s a five-string played with a three-finger picking pattern.
Saturday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, the Genesee Country Village & Museum is holding its annual Fiddlers’ Fair & Making Music Weekend. They bring together musicians on eight stages around the Museum grounds for a weekend of old-time fiddle music. Settle in to hear the variety of performers, grab food and drinks, or wander the historic village and spend the day immersed in live performances. https://www.gcv.org/events/making-music-weekend
Looking ahead past August, here are some dates to enter into your calendars.
September brings a local gem of a bluegrass festival to western New York. The Appleumpkin festival in Wyoming N.Y., (just outside of Warsaw) is a free bluegrass festival with regional bands playing Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. http://www.appleumpkin.com
Danny Stewart’s Bluegrass Cruise is leaving Port Canaveral Fla., Jan. 10, 2022, on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. Ports of call include Coco Cay Bahamas, a private island and Cozumel Mexico. All of the concerts are in the ship’s big main theatre. There wll be five full days of concerts, jamming, workshops and fun.The cruise will feature the following national acts: Sideline, the Little Roy and Lizzy Show, the Appalachian Road Show, Monroe Crossing, Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, Midnight Run, Greg Blake and Mark Miklos. https://dannystewartsbluegrasscruise.com
Well remember to catch some live bluegrass music this summer and as always, Keep on Pickin’.