If it feels to you like every band that you have ever heard of in your life is on tour right now, you may not be imagining things. Concerts are back, and back in a big way. Last month, Billboard reported that Live Nation’s “overall concert pipeline” is on pace to exceed 2019’s, and that in February the concert promoter set a new record for shows in that month.
Good thing, too, because fans are itching to experience live music again. Maybe you have seen all the first-show-in-two-years posts popping up on your social media feeds?
With so much going on, wouldn’t it be nice to have a guide? Well you’re in luck, because the Philly Bluegrass Top 10 for spring 2022 is here. Check out the list for some of the outstanding bluegrass and roots music shows coming to Philly venues large and small this season.
And remember that the Philly Bluegrass Calendar is online 24/7, cataloging all the bluegrass and acoustic roots happenings in town, including the newly-revived monthly Bluegrass Brunch at Heritage. (Have an event to submit? Contact us!)
Happy Spring! See you out there!
March 31: Henhouse Prowlers at World Cafe Live
Chicago bluegrass stalwarts the Henhouse Prowlers arrive in Philly having recently been named runner-up as Best Country Band in the Chicago Reader‘s “Best of Chicago” poll. The Henhouse Prowlers are also known for their Bluegrass Ambassadors program, which has taken them to more than 25 countries preaching the gospel of bluegrass to people around the world. Preach on! The Cheddar Boys open. Tickets $17 advance/$20 door.
April 6: Lavender Country at Kung Fu Necktie
Lavender Country’s 1973 self-titled debut was “perhaps the first country album by an openly gay person,” according to Pitchfork. Now, nearly 50 years later, Lavender Country is back with its sophomore effort, “Blackberry Rose.” While critical reviews of the record are all over the map—from Pitchfork’s 7.7 to Saving Country Music’s 1.5 (yes, both scores are out of 10)—there’s no denying the noteworthiness of Lavender Country’s appearance at the Baby’s First Rodeo series hosted at Kung Fu Necktie. A ticket, assuming you can get one, will cost you $16 in advance or $20 at the door.
April 7: Sierra Ferrell at World Cafe Live
Bluegrass is just one of the styles on Sierra Ferrell’s genre-bending 2021 Rounder Records debut “Long Time Coming,” an album whose credits are a ‘who’s who’ of the bluegrass biz, featuring the likes of Billy Strings, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, and Justin Moses, to name just a few. But Ferrell’s writing and timeless voice is the real star of this show. Tickets $20-$32 advance // $23-$35 door. Timbo opens.
April 9: Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway at MilkBoy Philly
Molly Tuttle leads her new supergroup to Center City venue MilkBoy in April. In addition to Tuttle, Golden Highway is Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Kyle Tuttle (banjo), and Shelby Means (bass). The band will release its Nonesuch Records debut on April 1, and that’s no joke. Called “Crooked Tree,” the record reportedly features luminaries like Gillian Welch, Margot Price, and Billy Strings. Oliver Hazard opens the show at MilkBoy. Tickets $25.
April 13: The Wooks at City Winery Philadelphia
The Wooks released their third full-length album, “Flyin’ High,” in February 2022, and the Kentucky band immediately hit the road, playing dates throughout the southeastern U.S. in February and March. The band makes its way north in April, with three dates in Pennsylvania, including April 13 at City Winery Philadelphia. Opening will be Philly locals Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves? Tickets $12.
April 14: Watchhouse at Union Transfer
Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) visits Philadelphia for the first time under its new name, which the band says better represents the band’s “true intentions” than the citrusy pun of old. Those intentions are manifest in the band’s excellent self-titled debut as Watchhouse, released in August via Thirty Tigers. The name and the music may have changed, but the venue remains the same. The band has made several appearances at Philly’s beloved indie venue Union Transfer over the years. Advance tickets $30.
May 4: Old Crow Medicine Show at Brooklyn Bowl Philly
On April 22, Old Crow Medicine Show will release its latest album, “Paint This Town,” which Rolling Stone notes is the band’s seventh studio recording, its first since 2018’s “Volunteer,” and also marks the band’s return to its former label, ATO Records. The first three singles are out now, one of which (“Bombs Away”) features Molly Tuttle. Tickets $45.
May 11: The Quebe Sisters at Sellersville Theater
The Quebe Sisters describe their sound as “Progressive Western Swing.” “Progressive,” because although they too hail from Texas, the sisters say they “aren’t trying to sound just like Bob Wills.” The band is touring behind its fourth studio album, which is both self-titled and self-released. Tickets $22-30.
May 20: The Dead South at Fillmore Philly
We still haven’t figured out why this Canadian band isn’t called “The Dead North” (get it?). But there’s no need to ponder their popularity, stemming from the viral success of “In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company,” which is nearing 300 million streams on YouTube. (It had a paltry 75 million streams back in 2018 when the band played The Trocadero, which has since died from a different type of viral affliction.) Tickets $28.
June 9-12: Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival
Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival is circled on most Philly bluegrassers calendars as the official start of festival season. Wind Gap is a beautiful, wooded (bring bug spray!), dog-friendly festival with easy camping and lots of jamming. Not to mention affordable, at $75 for a full-weekend pass. No inflation here—you would have paid the same four years ago in 2018. Junior Sisk, Appalachian Road Show, Serene Green, Danny Paisley, and more perform.