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.

Winter 2017 Concert Roundup

Happy International Bluegrass Music Appreciation Day! So December 12 was named in 2012 by banjo player Lee Marcus. We’re here to keep the young tradition of Bluegrass Thanksgiving alive with a list of 10 shows you may want to ‘appreciate’ in Philly this winter. And as always, watch the frequently-updated calendar (phillybluegrass.com/calendar) and/or our Twitter feed for updates on shows featuring Philly’s local and regional acts.

December 14: The Stash Band at World Cafe Live

This might be the loudest act to grace the World Cafe Live Upstairs stage this year, to wit: the opening track from Stash’s 2015 solo disc is called “Acoustic Metal Party.” If you saw Stash shred with Tony Trischka’s band at Tin Angel last month you’re probably intrigued to hear his solo act, too.

December 14: The Ghost of Paul Revere at Boot & Saddle

The State of Maine’s The Ghost of Paul Revere has been generating serious buzz recently, performing with Anders Osborne, the Infamous Stringdusters, and others–while garnering press mentions in the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. With Ladybird and the White Cheddar Boys. Grab tickets.

December 16: The Stray Birds at World Cafe Live

The Stray Birds played a “Free At Noon” show this summer at World Cafe Live while in town to perform at the 55th Philadelphia Folk Festival. On December 16 they will headline an evening show at World Cafe Live. Downstairs, with Miss Tess & The Talkbacks.

December 31: Cabinet at the TLA

If you’re a bluegrass/roots music fan in Philly, this is your New Year’s Eve plan. Tickets still available as of this writing. With the Blind Owl Band and Mountain Ride.

January 28: The Infamous Stringdusters at World Cafe Live

The ‘Dusters packed them in at World Cafe back in April, when they had special guest Nicki Bluhm on vocals, and ran through some of the band’s “Ladies & Gentlemen” record, which featured an all-female lineup of lead singers. This time, the band will be on the road in support of their newest record, “Laws Of Gravity,” due out on January 13 on Compass Records. The first single, “Gravity,” dropped last Friday.

February 1: Greensky Bluegrass at Union Transfer

Almost exactly one year to the day after bringing a jam-heavy set to Union Transfer, Greensky Bluegrass makes their return on February 1. Given the size of the crowd a year ago, don’t be surprised if this one sells out.

February 2: The Philadelphia Folksong Society Presents the HillBenders at Tin Angel

It looks like the venerable Tin Angel has a few more shows left in it. That’s good news for bluegrass fans, as we know how great this room is for acoustic music.

February 2: The Wood Brothers at Union Transfer

Hard to believe that 2016 marks 10 years of the Wood Brothers. Brothers Chris and Oliver formed the band in 2006 following their successful careers with Medeski, Martin & Wood and King Johnson, respectively. Help the Woods celebrate their Tin anniversary at Union Transfer. With T Sisters.

February 26: The Hackensaw Boys at World Cafe Live

The Hackensaw Boys’ new record “Charismo” (Free Dirt) is their first full album of new material in more than a decade. The album’s title pays homage to the homemade percussion instrument/attire that is played/worn by the band’s Brian Gorby. With Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves? Tickets.

March 8: Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge at Johnny Brenda’s

Two of the best young American guitarists ripping tunes on their pre-war Martins in one of Philly’s more intimate rooms for music. I’ll be the guy up front studying Critter’s pick angle. See you there.