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PHOTOS: Young bands kick off international bluegrass event

2011 September 27
by Steve Ide
The Ryman Auditorium ~ Photo by Stephen Ide

One of the points of the International Bluegrass Association’s annual conference in Nashville is to showcase new bands or bring attention to bands that have changed membership or have something new to offer. Though on Monday’s shows I had seen many of the bands before, it was good to see some move more into the spotlight and others show off new band members.

I hope to get fresh video of the band Della Mae, a rising band ever since the addition of lead singer/songwriter Celia Woodsmith and student/guitarist Courtney Hartman. Though they played in a dimly lit showcase room last night, I hope to get other opportunities to see this rising, potent band. For now, here is one of their most recent videos, promoting their new CD, due out next month:

Other bands I managed to see yesterday included the energetic Foghorn Stringband from Portland, Ore., a quartet that delivered a great mix of fast fiddling and old-timey harmonies, and a renewed energy from the now more-experienced Rockin’ Acoustic Circus from Oklahoma. I also enjoyed some amazing stepdancing, fiddling and singing from April Verch of Canada’s Ottawa Valley, and potent, progressive, high-energy “newgrass” from Springfield, Missouri’s The Hillbenders. The Benders played a fine set in the official showcase, spread across the main stage, but then rocked out in the confinement of a suite in the Renaissance Hotel, dancing around as if they were playing in front of one microphone.

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