Wood Flower performs Sunday, June 11, followed by a bluegrass jam with local musicians.
Philly Bluegrass™, the organization dedicated to the creation and appreciation of bluegrass music in Philadelphia, is pleased to announce the grand finale of the longstanding bluegrass brunch series at Heritage restaurant in Northern Liberties. After eight incredible years of Sunday afternoon bluegrass gatherings, Philly Bluegrass invites music enthusiasts from around the area to join the celebration on Sunday, June 11 at 12pm ET.
Since 2015, the Philly Bluegrass Brunch at Heritage has been the city’s go-to destination for Sunday afternoon bluegrass. In addition to hosting performances by more than two dozen of the area’s top bands, Heritage has also welcomed to its wood-paneled bandstand national and regional acts, including Michael Daves, Golden Shoals, Serene Green, the High & Wides, The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers, Colebrook Road, and more. (See full list of performers below.)
Heritage has been an incredible home and catalyst for Philadelphia’s community of bluegrass fans and musicians, which continues to grow and thrive. We are immensely grateful for the tremendous support and enthusiasm we have received from Heritage’s owners, staff, and patrons during these eight incredible years, and for the opportunity to provide entertainment in their beautiful space.
The final bluegrass brunch at Heritage will take place on Sunday, June 11, from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM with a performance by rising Pennsylvania bluegrass band Wood Flower, whose busy summer 2023 schedule includes appearances at Podunk Bluegrass Festival, Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival, and the Blue Ridge Bluegrass Festival. An open bluegrass jam with local musicians will follow at 3:00 PM. Reservations for the June 11 brunch can be made on Heritage’s website at https://www.heritage.life/.
Blue Octane Bluegrass Band • Colebrook Road • Dave Shepherd • Golden Shoals • Joe Hillman Band • Magnolia Street Stringband • Man About a Horse • Mark Schultz & The Wayne Rangers • Midnight Flyer Bluegrass • Nate Sabat & Stone • Off the Rails • Penns Wood • Pretty Saro • River Bones Band • Sarah Larsen & Friends • Serene Green • The Bluegrass Company • The Cheddar Boys • The Citywide Specials • The High & Wides • The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers • The Jersey Corn Pickers • The Keystone Mountain Boys • The Lonely Hills • The Mighty Pines • The Mule Skinners • The Plate Scrapers • Wood Flower
About Philly Bluegrass
Philly Bluegrass is the community for bluegrass and roots music. Its mission is to promote the creation and appreciation of bluegrass and roots music in the Philadelphia area. A nonprofit, fiscally sponsored project of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia, Philly Bluegrass builds community around bluegrass music through its website, an online events calendar, e-mail newsletter, membership program, social media, in-person events, and other community-building activities. Philly Bluegrass has received philanthropic support from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund as well as financial support from its individual member donors.
There’s no denying that artificial intelligence and chatbots like ChatGPT have been hot topics lately. There has been much discussion about how these technologies could enhance—or even replace—some forms of human labor or creativity.
While these tools may have impressive capabilities, there are some things they still can’t do. One of these is to generate a list of the top 10 bluegrass and acoustic roots music shows coming to Philadelphia this spring.
Trust us, we tried. The chatbot wrote a totally fictional (albeit tasty) list of shows.
Nor will artificial intelligence be joining a late-night picking circle at a bluegrass festival any time soon. Come to think of it, maybe bluegrass music’s fundamental analog-ness is one reason for its enduring and growing appeal—in an age when so much has been digitized.
So, this spring let us gather and support this earthy, organic music, created with steel strings and vocal cords. The next two months offer a plethora of great opportunities to see it performed by some of the best in the business, with friends new and old. Without further ado, here is our hand-picked list of the top 10 shows in Philadelphia this spring.
April 11: Sam Grisman Project at MilkBoy Philly
It was not far from Philadelphia that Jerry Garcia and David Grisman’s paths crossed for the first time. In 1964, the pair met at a parking lot jam at the legendary Sunset Park in Chester County. Nearly 60 years later, Sam Grisman, bassist and son of David (Dawg) Grisman, pays tribute to the Garcia/Grisman musical legacy with his latest project, which he says he built as “a platform for my friends and me to showcase our genuine passion and appreciation for the legacy of Dawg and Jerry’s music.” Those friends comprise Ric Robertson (mandolin), Chris English (drums) and Aaron Lipp (guitar), who will join Grisman April 11 at MilkBoy Philly. Tickets $18.
April 14: Armchair Boogie and The Dirty Grass Players at 118 North
This double bill at 118 North brings together two up-and-coming bands in the bluegrass jamosphere: Madison, Wisconsin’s Armchair Boogie and Baltimore, Maryland’s The Dirty Grass Players. Armchair Boogie is gearing up for a busy summer that will include performances at Grey Fox, ROMP, the Earl Scruggs Music Festival, and more. The Dirty Grass Players are also hitting the road this summer (e.g., DelFest, Grey Fox) with a brand new record in tow: Shiny Side Up was produced by Travelin’ McCourys guitarist Cody Kilby. Special guest Darlingtyn rounds out the bill at 118 North on April 14. Tickets $12.
April 21: Old Crow Medicine Show at Penn’s Peak (Jim Thorpe)
Tennessee’s Old Crow Medicine Show has been making records since 1998. But their latest studio album, Paint This Town, is the first made at the band’s new Hartland Studios, an East Nashville warehouse they purchased in early 2020. Once converted into a studio and soundstage, it also served as home base for Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Hartland Hootenanny” variety show, the band’s contribution to the virtual music scene that sustained so many of us during Covid lockdowns. Old Crow Medicine Show appears April 21 at Penn’s Peak with special guest Harper O’Neill. Advance tickets $44.
April 23: Nickel Creek at The Fillmore Philly
Nickel Creek writes that its new record Celebrants (Repair Records/Thirty Tigers) is all about “Togetherness, in all its soul-restoring, heartbreaking, mind-numbing, change-inciting glory…” The album engages thematically with the band’s joy of returning to performing again for crowds, after spending so much time in isolation. It should feel just like old times again when the band packs it in at The Fillmore Philly on April 23. Tickets $40.
April 23: Cabinet at Ardmore Music Hall
In 2022, Pennsylvania bluegrass-and-roots flag-bearers Cabinet released The Sugarhouse Sessions, which the band describes as “a collection of songs new and old written by JP and Pappy Biondo and brought to life by Cabinet and friends.” It was recorded in the Green Mountains of Vermont during the Covid era of 2020-2022. Cabinet returns to Ardmore Music Hall on April 23 with special guest FERD. Tickets $25-$45.
April 27: Jake Blount at Philly Folksong Society
Steve Martin Banjo Prize recipient Jake Blount burst into the mainstream a few months ago with the artist’s debut performance on National Public Radio’s “Tiny Desk Concert.” It’s not the only attention garnered by Blount’s latest album, The New Faith, which earned five-star reviews from The Telegraph and Financial Times. Blount performs at the Philly Folksong Society with Laurel Premo (of Red Tail Ring) and acclaimed step dancer Nic Gareiss. Tickets are free for PFS members or cost $16-22 for non-members.
April 30: AJ Lee & Blue Summit at MilkBoy Philly
AJ Lee & Blue Summit’s increasingly crowded awards shelf includes the FreshGrass Band Award (2019) and Northern California Bluegrass Society’s Best Bluegrass Band (2020). Not to mention numerous IBMA and NCBS accolades for the individual musicians in the band. Their latest release, 2021’s I’ll Come Back, led the blog Wide Open Country to declare AJ Lee & Blue Summit “one of the most groundbreaking bands rooted in hardcore bluegrass.” The band appears at MilkBoy Philly with special guest Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves? Tickets $12.
May 2: Bella White at City Winery Philly
Despite hailing from the Canadian city of Calgary in the province of Alberta, Bella White is no stranger to bluegrass. White, whose father performed in bluegrass bands throughout her childhood, was a showcase artist at the 2021 International Bluegrass Music Association conference, and has racked up multiple million-streamed songs. White will visit City Winery Philly fresh off her debut at the Grand Ole Opry (April 25), as well as the April 21 release of her sophomore album Among Other Things on Rounder Records. Tickets $15.
May 6: Travelin’ McCourys, Danny Paisley, Serene Green at Zlock Auditorium
On May 6, the Zlock Auditorium at Bucks County Community College will play host to a concert and fundraiser for Peter Wroblewski’s excellent new bluegrass music series at the historic Moravian Pottery & Tile Works (Doylestown). Launched in 2022, the series featured Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, Danny Paisley, and others. The May 6 concert, raffle, and silent auction in Newtown, PA will help sustain the new concert series in 2023. Music from 5pm-10:30pm. Beer and food available for purchase. Tickets $60.
May 19: Dom Flemons at World Cafe Live (The Lounge)
Dom Flemons is a co-founder of the GRAMMY-winning string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops. In 2014, Flemons embarked on a solo career that has established him as one of the leading interpreters of 100+ years of the American roots music songbook. Now, Flemons’ latest album, Traveling Wildfire (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), puts the spotlight on the songcatcher’s own songwriting. Tickets $20.