10 Must-See Shows for Spring 2017

For details on all shows and links to purchase tickets, visit the Philly Bluegrass calendar.

March 17-19: Wilmington Winter Bluegrass Festival

If you’ve never experienced an indoor bluegrass festival, this weekend is your chance. Just thirty minutes down I-95 at the Crowne Plaza Wilmington North is the annual Wilmington Winter Bluegrass Festival. Imagine a conference center-type hotel where all the breakout sessions are jams that go until 2 in the morning (and later). Locals Midnight Flyer Bluegrass, The White Cheddar Boys, and River Bones Band will all be performing this year–and presumably jamming all night by the elevator. Headliners include Blue Mafia, Circa Blue, and more.

March 25: Noam Pikelny at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Punch Brothers banjoist and bluegrass’ greatest deadpan humorist recently put out a hilarious mockumentary on the creation of his newest album. The video is fantastic, but the album is even better, showcasing not only Noam’s banjo and guitar playing, but also his pleasant bass-baritone. Tickets are on sale now to his solo show at Harold Prince Theatre.

April 8: Mipso at Milkboy

If you’re a fan of close vocal harmonies and acoustic roots music you’re probably a fan of Mipso. The North Carolina quartet just released a new single, the title track from their new album, “Coming Down The Mountain,” which features pedal steel and snare drum.

April 18: Mile Twelve w/ The Grillbillie Project at Bourbon & Branch

Fresh off tracking their new album in Nashville, rising stars of the bluegrass festival scene and winners of the 2016 Podunk Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, Mile Twelve visits Philly on April 18. They are paired with summer festival stalwarts the Grillbillie Project. Tickets are on sale now.

April 27: Horseshoes & Hand Grenades at Ardmore Music Hall

Ardmore Music Hall is building a real scene around jam band music, so it seems fitting that they’ve booked Wisconsin’s Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, who bring a Greensky Bluegrass-type sound and energetic delivery, complete with clawhammer banjo and standout harmonica playing on their new album.

UPDATE (3/23): Billy Strings has been added to the bill as a co-headliner. An already-excellent show just got better. Tickets here.

April 28: Danny Barnes, Grant Gordy, and Joe Walsh w/ Jenni Lyn, Man About A Horse at MilkBoy

“After 45 years of practicing, this is the first acoustic bluegrass record I’ve ever made,” Danny Barnes says of “Stove Up.” While the record was recorded with Jason Carter, Mike Bub, and Chris Henry, Barnes is touring with six- and eight-string prodigies Grant Gordy and Joe Walsh, as well as with Della Mae’s Jenni Lyn (who is touring with Bub). Opening is Philly’s Man About a Horse, who kick off the night and will be releasing a new album of their own this spring.

May 3: The Stray Birds at Boot & Saddle

The Stray Birds have been busy in Philly lately, playing twice at World Cafe Live last year, as well as at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Last year they also started performing with former Toy Soldiers drummer Dom Billet. They’ll likely pack in a good crowd in the intimate Boot & Saddle. Tickets here.

May 14: Rhiannon Giddens at World Cafe Live

Multiple GRAMMY winner, both as a solo artist and member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens visits World Cafe Live on May 14 in a seated show. She is touring behind her new album of original music, “Freedom Highway.” Tickets are on sale now.

May 19: Jim Lauderdale at Philly Folksong Society

The man who is probably country and bluegrass music’s most prolific songwriter released yet another new album last year, “This Changes Everything.” The Philadelphia Folksong Society is clearly making good use of its great new venue by bringing in a touring artist of Lauderdale’s caliber. Tickets $16-20.

May 25: Front Country at World Cafe Live

Front Country returns to Philly fresh off of a recent move to Nashville and the release of a brand new record, its Kickstarter-funded “Other Love Songs,” which is available for pre-order now ahead of its April 7 release on Organic Records.

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