This Fall’s 10 Must-See Bluegrass Shows

It’s officially fall here in Philadelphia. That means it’s time to take stock of the touring acts coming through town this season. Luckily for us, there are too many for just one post, but don’t fret; the Philly Bluegrass Calendar has you covered with a full list. Or you could make scheduling easy on yourself and win the Bluegrass Passport Contest, which will award to one winner a pair of tickets to five hot bluegrass shows at the Ardmore Music Hall this fall. Prefer to order a la carte? Here are 10 tasty options for your consideration:

October 7: Sam Bush at the Ardmore Music Hall

The man often credited with originating the “newgrass” genre kicks of the Ardmore Music Hall’s stacked lineup of bluegrass shows, touring behind his new record, “Storyman” (Sugar Hill). Don’t forget to enter the Bluegrass Passport Contest by Friday, September 30 for a chance to win a pair of tickets to this and four other shows!

October 14: Sierra Hull at Tin Angel

Sierra Hull, who played World Cafe Live this summer, returns to Philly with two sets at Tin Angel, one of our favorite rooms for bluegrass music in the city. If you haven’t seen her perform lately, don’t miss the chance to see her and her incredible band, which features Edgar Meyer pupil Ethan Jodziewicz on bass and the multi-talented Justin Moses on, well, everything.

October 16: Yonder Mountain String Band at Ardmore Music Hall

Yonder Mountain String Band may be going on 18 years together, but the band is keeping it fresh, recently adding mandolin virtuoso Jake Jolliff (Joy Kills Sorrow). Yonder and the Ardmore Music Hall’s jam-friendly scene should make this one a hot ticket. Make sure not to miss the opener, Billy Strings, who is rocking the bluegrass world lately with his blazing-fast guitar picking. [**Bluegrass Passport show**]

October 22: The Grateful Ball feat. The Travelin’ McCourys + Jeff Austin Band at Ardmore Music Hall

The Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin make AMH the third stop of their new “Grateful Ball” tour, which grew out of a successful experiment in St. Louis in June, according to JamBase. The plan is for each band to perform a set of their own, and then come together to perform a set of Grateful Dead songs. You can get a taste of what to expect below, with the McCourys performing “Cumberland Blues,” a studio recording of which they also just released. [**Bluegrass Passport show**]

October 28: Mipso at World Cafe Live

Mipso may not be as well-known a name in the bluegrass world as Bush or McCoury, but that just means you can catch Mipso in the intimate World Cafe Live Upstairs before they totally blow up. The band was nominated for an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Band Momentum Award last month, and more accolades are almost surely in their future. Soul-ster Sam Lewis opens.

November 2: Chatham County Line at Tin Angel

There’s more great bluegrass at the Tin Angel this fall, when Chatham County Line passes through on November 4. Tight harmony vocals, well-crafted songs, and a wry sense of humor make these guys a ton of fun to watch. And their condenser mic setup should be a great fit for Philly’s famous listening room.

November 4: Mandolin Orange at Boot & Saddle

Mandolin Orange drops their new record this Friday, September 30. But if you’re like me you’ve already been listening to it for the past week on the Wall Street Journal‘s music blog, Speakeasy. And you’ve probably already scored tickets to this show.

November 6: Tony Trischka’s Early Roman Kings: The Music of Bob Dylan

Bela Fleck banjo mentor Tony Trischka (banjo, pedal steel), Stash Wyslouch (guitar, vocals),  Sean Trischka (drums, vocals), and Jared Engel (bass) play Bob Dylan songs. At the Tin Angel. What more do you need to know? Grab tickets here.

December 4: Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus at Crossroads Music

On December 4, the Crossroads Music series presents two masters of the old-time music genre in Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus. The pair met at a fiddler’s convention back in the 1980s, and continue to collaborate to this day, perhaps most notably on the soundtrack for the 2003 film Cold Mountain.

December 7: Front Country at World Cafe Live

Once known as the Bay Area’s favorite bluegrass band, Front Country recently decamped for Nashville, and was just named Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016 by NPR Music. On December 7, they’ll be another example of a young, genre-pushing bluegrass band to visit World Cafe Live Upstairs, following Mipso’s October show.

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