Tacoma has an annual bluegrass festival that I haven’t missed since moving here. Much to my spouse’s chagrin, I buy festival passes for every last day of it as soon as they go on sale. His musical taste, though somewhat eclectic, runs more to what I would call “music to drool by”. (Sorry dear, it’s true.) Wintergrass starts tonight, goes tomorrow night, Saturday from about noon to midnight or whenever, then Sunday all day. I get totally bluegrassed out, even for me. I have the pocket schedule printed out from their website, and have my game plan in place. I have my bluegrass knitting picked out. I have a sock in progress, but also that King Cole Mohair stole, which I’m doing in just plain garter stitch. The last time I tried knitting a sock at Wintergrass my gauge changed a bunch. Must have been the exciting music.
Here are my favorite artists from past Wintergrass festivals:
Country Current; the Navy Bluegrass Band. The Navy only hires the best, and these guys are no exception. I will travel long distances to see these guys. Keith Arneson is the best banjo player around.
Reeltime Travelers; back again this year.
Robin and Linda Williams; folk/bluegrass, great vocal harmonies.
Doyle Lawson and his band. Pretty much straight ahead bluegrass, but a lot of fun in person.
Rhonda Vincent; supposed to be back again this year, but cancelled due to illness.
Old & In the Way, minus Jerry, of course.
Blue Highway; their dobro player Rob Ickes is one of the best
Darol Anger, one of the world’s more innovative fiddlers.
Dry Branch Fire Squad; traditional Appalachain style bluegrass, the lead singer is a hoot.
Misty River, a local Portland based girl group. With an accordion, no less. Back this year.
Seldom Scene, back again this year.
Tim O’Brien; one of the best all around musicians I’ve seen.
Waybacks; play jamgrass that is definitely NOT traditional.
Besides the folks on that list that are back this year, I’m looking forward to David Grisman, Tony Rice, and the Bluebirds (Linda Ronstadt, Maria Muldaur, and Laurie Lewis). But it frequently turns out to be the groups I’ve never heard of that I love the best. If you haven’t already got your tickets, you are out of luck. Weekend passes, and Saturday and Sunday are sold out. Come next year, and buy early!!
I’ll be back later, if I don’t run off with the banjo player.