When Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan performed at the Grammy’s in 2011, it was pretty evident that the banjo had made it’s way back to mainstream music. Reflective of an underground swell of old-time and bluegrass musicians, it seems that young, hip musicians all over the country are picking up the fiddle to revive traditional country tunes. Philly is no different, boasting a burgeoning old-time / bluegrass scene. Here are just a few bands introducing old-time tunes to new audiences.
The Keystone Mountain Boys
The Keystone Mountain Boys play a soulful brand of bluegrass music, celebrating bluegrass originals in their many live performances. Check their website for upcoming shows.
With an upcoming spot at Nelsonville Music Festival (alongside folk & bluegrass greats like M.Ward, Andrew Bird, and Iron and Wine), this three-woman project started as friends getting together to play tunes in West Philly. Since then, the Old Fashioneds have played their old-time country favorites in places like DC’s 9:30 club, the Heartland Cafe in Chicago, and Philly’s The Fire.
The Citywide Specials
With a weekly spot at West Philly’s beloved Fiume, the Citywide Specials have long been regaling audiences with a peppy brand of bluegrass. With solid vocals, skilled musicians, and a lot of heart, this band puts on a great show. Don’t take my word for it, visit Fiume on a bluegrass Thursday and let the crowds speak for themselves.