Twang Tuesday – Emerging Bluegrass Artists – Part 1

So the other day Rockin’ Acoustic Circus (RAC) a great young bluegrass band posted a link on Facebook to The Mast Farm Inn Emerging Artists Series for 2011. Since I really like RAC, I’ve checked out several of the other bands that are part of the series and I’ve found several new bands that I really. really like!! The three bands that I started with (see I say started with because I’m going to check them all out!) are Northern Departure, Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players, and Monroevillle. Here’s what I found!

Northern Departure

Northern Departure: Cleared for Takeoff. As of today this album is my favorite of the three. The album is full of great high energy toe tapping music. The four man band calls Seatle Washington home and features a traditional bluegrass lineup  upright bass provided by Derek Gray; Nick Dumas provides mandolin, fiddle and lead vocals, multi-instrumentalis Chris Luquette plays lead guitar and mandolin. The banjo player is Austin McGregor. The band members truly love playing all types of music and their diverse influences range from tradition pickers like Adam Steffey, Sierra Hull, Dan Tyminski, Terry Baucom,and  Ron Stewart to   Brazilian jazz artist Jovino Santos Neto, Arto Jarvela, and rockers like Led Zeppelin. I loved the high energy opening track “Take Off”, “Jailhouse Blues and well just the whole package!!

Here’s the band with “Jailhouse Blues”

Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players Snap Jackson and the Knock onWood Players latest album is A Breath of Fresh Air . The band also hails from the left coast and calls Stockton, California home. The band is a trio and plays a mix of Americana, bluegrass, soul and Old Time music. Leadersinger-songgwriter  Snap Jackson leads the way with his banjo playing, both Scruggs style and clawhammer. In addition Jackson plays harmonica, mountain dulcimer, guitar and ukelele. Shane Kalbach a graduate of California State University with a Bachelor of Music in Viola performance and when not performing with the Knock on Wood Players he plays principle vioka for the Merced Symphony and The Townsend Opera Players. (you can read the rest of his impressive resume here. . For the Knock on Wood Players Shane plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar. The third member of the band bassist Brian Clark also has an impressive resume (see above link) which includes studying Classical String Bass perormance at both Delta Cooleg and the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Like Norhtern Deprature’s album I enjoy all the tracks on this album. My favorite though is  this one “She Only Loves Me”!

I’ll be back in a while with the third band!!