Bluegrass music is one of our country’s oldest traditions, the pickin’ music of a banjo stirs memories of country livin’, moonshine, driving fast down dirt roads and kickin’ your heels up in a cloud of dust at your favorite summer festival. Though the feelings remain the same, the experience I had at last Wednesday’s An Evening of Bluegrass was quite a different experience. With little to no promotion for the event I was lucky that I happened across the page of the Old National Centre (forever known as the Murat) and a friendly Facebook post informing me of the event. With a little research I realized that this was not a show to miss, as it boasted some of the most sought after acoustic session players in bluegrass, including 2 Grammy award winners and 1 Grammy Nominee. The line-up included Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers on banjo, Bryan Sutton, known for his time with Ricky Skaggs, the Dixie Chicks and Doc Watson, on acoustic guitar, Ronnie McCoury, the son of famed Del McCoury, on mandolin, Luke Bulla on fiddle, and Barry Bales of Allison Krauss and Union Station on the upright bass.
The Venue on the tickets and on the Old National Centre’s website was referred to as Deluxe, but talking with some of the people that work there I found out it is actually called Corinthian Hall, a small room in the basement of the Murat. There was the standard marble floors, seen throughout the building, along with a beautifully lit ceiling and walls to boot. Very classy indeed, matched by the atmosphere of a seated event and a much more mature crowd. The one drawback was that we ended up having to sit behind one of the several large pillars in the center of the room, making it hard to see more then half the band at any given time. Obstructed view aside, the show was a wonderful collection of heartwarming bluegrass and folk tunes full of energy and pride. These guys are all very experienced musicians, you don’t win a Grammy otherwise, and they hardly missed a note. This kind of bluegrass was definitely different then the style I have been accustomed too, listening to The New Old Cavalry, Yonder Mountain String Band, and the Rumpke Mountain Boys, but I think seeing this different side to a very wide spanning genre of music was refreshing. It was very hard not being able to jump up and dance around but that was just part of the experience. All in all it was a good show, it wasn’t great because great would have been to see these boys really cut loose with a wild crowd dancing arm in arm into the wee hours of the morning. Regardless, check em out if you see them on your next festival handbill, you wont be disappointed.
To view more photographs from the show, click here.
Words by Chris Lucas