The trees are turning green here in Philadelphia, and the summer festival season is just around the corner. But the grass is already blue at venues all around the city this spring, with great shows coming to World Cafe Live, Tin Angel, Milkboy, the Keswick, Ortlieb’s, the Colonial, and the Ardmore Music Hall. Here’s our roundup!
April 23: Sierra Hull
with Marc Silver and The Stonethrowers
If you missed her at the Sellersville Theater back in February, you’ll get another chance on April 23, when Sierra Hull visits World Cafe Live (downstairs). She’s sure to have with her copies of her new album Weighted Mind, which hit #2 on Billboard’s bluegrass chart. Opening is local favorite Marc Silver, who is currently preparing a new studio album of his own.
April 30: Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival
with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Keller Williams and the Travelin’ McCourys, Steep Canyon Rangers, and more.
Okay, this one isn’t in Philly, but since we sadly don’t have our own one-day, hip, downtown bluegrass festival, we’re giving it honorary status. Plus, area bands Cabinet, Colebrook Road, and Man About a Horse are on the bill, giving this up-and-coming festival just down the road a strong Philly connection. Tickets for this, the 4th annual edition of the festival, are available are at www.charmcitybluegrass.com.
April 30: Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen
Part of its monthly concert series, the Philadelphia Folksong Society welcomes Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen to the Tin Angel on April 30. Philly is one of the band’s first stops on its “Family, Friends & Heroes” release tour, after the album of the same name that dropped on March 4th on Compass Records.
May 1: Hot Buttered Rum
with Man About a Horse
San Francisco Bay Area jamgrassers Hot Buttered Rum visit Milkboy on May 1. It should be a full-on Sunday night dance party with Philly’s Man About a Horse opening.
May 9: Punch Brothers
The Atlantic‘s David A. Graham called them “your snobby bluegrass-fan friend’s answer to Mumford and Sons.” Detractors aside, you should make every effort to see the Punch Brothers at the Keswick Theatre this May, before Chris Thile begins his Prairie Home Convalescence this fall. The best part: the Bros will be reprising their “single mic” tour from December, with a lone Neumann U-89 microphone providing all amplification.
May 12: Damn Tall Buildings
with Man About a Horse
Berklee grads Damn Tall Buildings passed through Philadelphia last summer during their national tour, playing a packed house at the Tin Angel along with Philly’s Man About a Horse. The bands will team up again on May 12 at Ortlieb’s.
May 21: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Fresh off a 50th anniversary special that aired on PBS in March, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band visits the Colonial Theatre on May 21.
June 3: Mason Porter
with Frog Holler, Chris Grunwald and the Slow Response
On June 3 Mason Porter takes the stage at Ardmore Music Hall to celebrate the release of their second EP in 12 months, almost exactly a year since the release of 2015’s Key to the Skyway, which No Depression called “a leap forward in both confidence and sound for the band.” Frog Holler and “Griz” get the party started.
June 4: Steep Canyon Rangers
with Marc Silver and Friends
Many know them as Steve Martin’s band, but North Carolina’s the Steep Canyon Rangers are way more than that, as demonstrated on their recently-released album, RADIO, and their Grammy-winning 2013 effort, Nobody Knows You. The Rangers visit Ardmore Music Hall on June 4, with special guest Marc Silver and Friends opening.