Welcome to fall, y’all. If you participated in the 2021 Bluegrass Passport Sweepstakes you know this season brings a stacked lineup of bluegrass and roots shows to the Philly area. Congratulations to the winner, Austin Papp, who won a pair of tickets to eight shows this fall. And a big thanks to all who took part!
But the fun isn’t over. Even for non-Passport holders, opportunities abound to grab tickets to the best bluegrass and roots acts coming to our area this fall. Here are 10 shows we think you won’t want to miss. And, as always, there’s much more on the Philly Bluegrass Calendar.
Please remember to check venue websites prior to attendance for any Covid-related schedule changes or safety requirements. Stay safe out there and have fun!
September 24: Sarah Jarosz at Ardmore Music Hall
In March, Sarah Jarosz won the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album for World on the Ground. Just two months later, she released her latest effort, Blue Heron Suite, on Rounder Records. The new project features Jeff Picker on bass and Jefferson Hamer on guitar and harmony vocals. It was a commission by the FreshGrass Foundation. Tickets $25-$60.
October 5: The Brothers Comatose at MilkBoy Philly
San Francisco-based The Brothers Comatose is Ben Morrison (guitar) and Alex Morrison (banjo), Scott Padden (bass), Philip Brezina (violin), and Greg Fleischut (mandolin). Over the summer, the band released a few singles from its yet-to-be-released fifth studio album, When It All Falls Apart, due out in early 2022 on Swamp Jam Records. Tickets $15.
October 23: Willie Watson at City Winery Philly
Willie Watson, a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show, recently reunited with his old band for his first live appearance with them in more than a decade. He has also kept busy with Willie Watson MFG Co, where he produces 100% handmade vintage-inspired clothing. Not to mention his solo performances of folk tunes on the guitar and banjo, which remain a must-see. Tickets $22-$30.
Oct 27: Kitchen Dwellers at World Cafe Live
Montana-based road warriors Kitchen Dwellers are instantly recognizable, not just by banjoist Torrin Daniels’ dreadlocks, but also by the large following they draw. The band self-released Live at Pine Creek in April. It was recorded live during the pandemic at Pine Creek Lodge in Paradise, MT. Tickets $12.
November 5: Yonder Mountain String Band at Ardmore Music Hall
At it since 1998, Yonder Mountain String Band will release its ninth studio album later this year. The new record will showcase the band’s latest lineup, comprising founding members Adam Aijala on guitar, Ben Kaufmann on bass, and Dave Johnston on banjo, as well as Allie Kral on fiddle and newcomer multi-instrumentalist Nick Piccininni. Tickets $29.
November 6: Steep Canyon Rangers at Sellersville Theater
Much more than Steve Martin’s backing band, North Carolina-based Steep Canyon Rangers are Grammy- and IBMA-winning recording artists in their own right. The band’s latest album, Arm in Arm, was released in October 2020 on Yep Roc. More recently, in August the band dropped a new single “Nothing Matters (When You’re Mine).” Tickets $50-$75.
November 10-11: Billy Strings at Fillmore Philly
The IBMA’s Guitar Player of the Year for 2019, and a nominee for the 2021 honors, Billy Strings now has a Grammy to his name after a March 2021 win for Best Bluegrass Album. A new album, Renewal, is out September 24 on Rounder Records. Billy Strings visits Philly this November 10-11 for a two-night stand at The Fillmore Philly. Tickets $40.
Nov. 17: Darrell Scott at Sellersville Theater
If you missed Darrell Scott at City Winery Philly in July, you get a second chance this November when Mr. Scott returns to the area via the intimate Sellersville Theater. Tennessee-based Scott is a four-time Grammy nominee and one of the most heralded songwriters in Americana music today. Tickets $25-40.
November 18: Del McCoury Band at Ardmore Music Hall
After 58 years in the game, Del McCoury continues to set the standard for the bluegrass genre. Many in the area were no doubt looking forward to seeing Mr. McCoury perform with his band at his family’s Cumberland, MD festival, which fell victim for a second year to the Covid pandemic. Thankfully there is another chance to see the legend when he and his band visits Ardmore Music Hall in November. Tickets $36.
November 26: Cabinet at Ardmore Music Hall
Pennsylvania’s very own Cabinet is coming off of what was probably their busiest summer since they announced a hiatus in 2017. The band brings their “psychedelic roots/rock, folk/grass” to Ardmore Music Hall for a late November show in what seems to be becoming something of a Philly Thanksgiving tradition. And that ain’t a bad thing! Tickets $25.