Sturgill Simpson has released Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) as the follow up to last year’s rock record Sound And Fury. This album turns to bluegrass and re-works 20 of Sturgill’s original tunes into bluegrass tracks. What really makes this album is that these are totally re-arranged to be bluegrass and not just his old songs played in this style. It really helps that Sturgill has put together an amazing bluegrass band of some of the best players today with Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Scott Vestal, Tim O’Brien, Mark Howard and Miles Miller on the record.
There really isn’t a bad track on this album, and it’s the first record I have reviewed here where I recommend the whole album. Some standouts include a few Sunday Valley tracks with “All The Pretty Colors”, “I Wonder” and “Sometimes Wine”. I hope we get a few more of these on the potential Vol. 2. Other high marks include a total re-working of “The Storm” from the mid-tempo track on High Top Mountain to a thunderous and fast bluegrass track that will have concert halls dancing for sure. “Turtles” is also slightly sped up for the bluegrass style and it has a totally different feel to it vs the cosmic styling of the Metamodern track. “Life Of Sin” goes from being a guitar forward twangy country jam to a fiddle forward country flavored bluegrass track. Indeed, it is the new arrangements for these familiar tracks with some of the best bluegrass players you can put together that makes this much more than a greatest hits album.
Sturgill has done it again with this one and has made what could be another genre defining masterpiece. This time he has done for bluegrass what Metamodern Sounds In Country Music did for traditional country back in 2014. Bluegrass is in a resurgence with artists like Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle and others leading the way. Now Sturgill joins the pack with this collection. Time will tell if we get a Volume 2 with the rest of his songs and hopefully a bit more Sunday Valley and a bit of Sound and Fury too. I don’t often review records like this, but this is more than a Greatest Hits album. These are familiar songs done in a new way with some of the best pickers you can find. I highly recommend giving this record a spin and I hope we get a bluegrass tour with Sturgill and this band. Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 is out everywhere digitally as of October 16th, 2020 with physical releases later in December.
It’s time once again to feature a festival I WILL be attending VERY soon, or sending a representative to cover an extensive series of articles from and that is the almighty DelFest. DelFest is a four day four night extravaganza up in Cumberland Maryland, now in it’s eleventh year. Now folks this is a short piece from their website here:
DelFest is held at the beautiful Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD (2.5 hrs from Baltimore and DC). The festival originated from the desire to create a family-friendly music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury Music while creating a forum for world-class musical collaborations and to showcase fresh new talent with a down-home feeling. Produced in association with High Sierra Music, the 11th Annual DelFest will again offer a quality festival experience stamped with the unique McCoury touch. Personally chosen by Del, the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD served as the perfect location for DelFest–nestled along the Potomac River in the scenic Appalachian Mountains, the Fairgrounds are convenient to four major airports and easily reached by rail or road. The city of Cumberland is also a great host offering multiple hotel options, a charming downtown and great amenities including biking, a steam train engine and museum, and some top notch dining.
In addition to traditional stage sets by these world-class artists, attendees can again expect to see one-of-a-kind collaborations, special guest sit-ins, various tributes to Del McCoury and his musical legacy, intimate appearances, both at unique “playshops”—informal workshops where the emphasis will be on performance rather than instruction—and in late night indoor performances and picking sessions. Delfest will be immediately preceded by a 3-day Music Academy hosted by The Travelin’ McCourys and other all star players.
There are MANY ticket packages available by clicking HERE and I have camping information as well.
All multi-day passes include on-site walk-in camping. Parking NOT included, see below. On-site camping at DelFest surrounds the perimeter of the fairgrounds among ballfields, in the woods and beyond in Green Acres. On-site camping is walk-in tent camping only. Expect to be parked tightly and efficiently, and to use the wooded areas for walk-in camping. You won’t be too far from your vehicle, but do not expect to camp right next to your car as we need to maximize parking space, and park efficiently. Wagons and hand carts are encouraged. Shuttles will be available to assist in load-in.
Tent Camping at DelFest
The fairgrounds have permanent restrooms and showers, and we supplement the facilities with ample portable toilets. Please be courteous and take only the space you need. Roping off areas and saving space for latecomers is not acceptable festival etiquette. Camping overnight on Sunday is permitted. All patrons must leave the fairgrounds by noon on Monday.
DelFest is accessible to all guests with disabilities. View Accessibility Information and Registration details here.
There will be a family camping area designated for those who would like a more kid-friendly environment that is quieter late at night (and a bit louder early in the morning). If you’ve got little ones in tow and you are interested in camping in Family Camp, let your parking attendant know and you’ll be pointed in the right direction. Must have a Family Camp RV Pass or On-Site Parking Pass to be placed in Family Camp. As always space is designated on a first come, first served basis.
Are you searching for a hassle-free Delfest camping experience? The Show Sherpa is here to help! Leave the camping gear behind and let The Show Sherpa do the heavy lifting. We have your tent set up when you arrive and we take it down after you leave. Stand up and stretch! No tiny dome tents here. The Sherpa Village is outfitted with large Eureka! cabin style tents with almost seven feet of headroom and 100 square feet of space, not to mention the sturdy comfortable camping cots. The Show Sherpa’s pre-pitched tent rentals also include camping chairs, a lantern, and all Sherpa Village amenities featuring FREE COFFEE in the morning, a complimentary bag of ice daily, large shade tents filled with comfy chairs for relaxing in between the music. We have a full camp kitchen including a large gas grill, an expedition stove as well as all the pots, pans & utensils you need to make a great meal to refuel for more dancin’. More details here.
DELuxe DELivered RV Packages – New This Year!
Want an RV experience without the hassle of renting and driving an RV? DELuxe DELivered is for you!
Our friends at Ace RV Rentals will provide the rental unit, you just show up! These packages will include:
2 DELuxe Experience passes
Waived on-site parking fee for one regular sized vehicle
RV or Travel trailer (located at the Pavilion) hooked up to power and water
Amenities including bedding (bed linens, pillows, towels), basic kitchen sets, coffee pot, disposable cups, plates, utensils, and camp chairs.
All units are late model RV’s. Two options include RV (31 – 32 foot Class C Motor Home) sleeps 6 for $4,399 and Trailer (25 – 26 foot travel trailer) sleeps 4 for $3,499. These packages will go on sale with the general on-sale tomorrow, January 9th, at 10am EST.
Prefer to make your own RV arrangements? Ace RV Rentals is the preferred RV rental company for DelFest. Contact them directly to arrange an RV rental with either pickup (they’re just 5 minutes from Dulles with complimentary pickup between 9am and 5pm) or have it delivered to DelFest! Use promo code DELFEST for a 5% discount! They have a lot of festival experience and will take good care of you.
This is a multiple stage outdoor festival event, that is conveniently located by airports and many hotels. The fairgrounds have permanent restrooms and showers, and we supplement the facilities with ample portable toilets. Please be courteous and take only the space you need. Roping off areas and saving space for latecomers is not acceptable festival etiquette. Camping overnight on Sunday is permitted. All patrons must leave the fairgrounds by noon on Monday. There WILL BE a family type camping area that is quieter at night, and camping IS INCLUDED in your ticket price, however you may not be camped near your vehicle due to attendance. You also have to purchase a separate parking pass to park your vehicle on the adjoining property. As always because I am a patron that requires hotels at my festivals that my website covers here are some that I found on their website and my own research.
Late Night Shows Announced!
Take a nap now because you’re not going to want to miss any of these DelFest late night shows! DelFest is excited to bring you Fruition with The Lil Smokieson Thursday,The California Honeydrops with Dustbowl Revival on Friday,Billy Strings with The Brothers Comatose on Saturday and The Travelin’ McCourys’ Midnight Convention with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades closing things out on Sunday. All shows are separately ticketed events and are only $25 each. Get more details here and BUY LATE NIGHT TICKETS HERE.
Grand Ole’ Ditch and Mountain Ride at DelFest and Artists at Large Announced!
We’re happy to welcome back Cumberland locals, Grand Ole’ Ditch to DelFest and from just across the Pennsylvania border, DelFest newcomers Mountain Ride. Stuart Duncan, Ronnie Bowman, Garnet Bowman and DelFest emcee, Joe Craven are this year’s Artists at Large. Can’t wait for some fantastic sit-ins! Check out videos, bios and more on these and all the bands appearing at DelFest by visiting this year’s just published Artist Page.
Want to learn how to play your favorite stringed instrument with the pros?
DelFest Academy takes place the Sunday through Wednesday prior to the festival (May 20 – 23, 2018), and offers a friendly, encouraging, and intensive four-day learning experience with some of the finest musicians in bluegrass serving as instructors for students of all levels. The Academy currently offers instruction for guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and dobro. The all-star instructors provide lessons to students which target their individual needs and leave ample time for plenty of one-on-one interaction. Joining the Travelin’ McCourys [Rob McCoury (banjo), Ron McCoury (mandolin), Jason Carter (fiddle), Cody Kilby (guitar), Alan Bartram (bass)], who host The Academy each year, this year’s instructors include Frank Solivan (mandolin), Mike Munford (banjo), Chris Luquette (guitar), Ronnie Bowman, and Jay Starling (dobro) and more.
I wanted to touch on some upcoming events that have to do with this friend of mine, I cannot run across him enough times a year, that true smile he has when he sees fans. He is truly one of the most REAL guys you’ll ever come across, and he performs a BAD ASS set at Muddy Roots. I LOVE how he does Deadman’s Blues and connects with me as a music lover.
I’ll be honest people, I have followed these road dogs around for so many years, they accept me as one of their own. Many of them regard me as integral to their scene as any other band, many years of travel have earned that. I’m there y’all, with my laptop pounding away at my keyboard while people like Mr. Matt spill their hearts out onstage for me to write about.
This year he is out and about doing solo stuff but soon to be piling his band the Natural Disasters to do FULL BAND shows, he has an Eastern United States tour planned and a European Tour planned according to his email newsletter:
The second festival I am excited about this summer is the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout in Sheridan, OR. I will be performing there Saturday July 22 at 6pm, but as with Choice City, I plan to be around all weekend and checking out a ton of great music, friends and food. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, don’t you dare miss out on this one!
Full tour dates are listed below and many of the west coast show are with my good pal Michael Dean Damron. I have been looking forward to getting back together with Mike for some shows. They are always a great time. We both are stoked to see everyone along the way.
Finally, I can announce the premiere for our latest music video. Chirs Metts at Goldstream Productions gave the song “Fireflies” a fantastic treatment and we have been waiting for the right moment to get it out to the world. It will premiere on The Bluegrass Situation on July 13th. We will be spreading the word once the link is up and hope you will be looking forward to checking it out and doing the same. Head over there now and check out what they do at The Bluegrass Situation. They are great folks doing a wonderful job of covering everything going on in the world of Americana these days.
Cheers for now, friends! As always, thank you for the support and I’ll see you at the show!
SOLO TOUR DATES
***with Michael Dean Damron
July 4 – San Luis Obispo, CA at House Concert (send message via website for info)
July 5 – Morro Bay, CA at Libertine Pub (w. The Turkey Buzzards) ***
July 6 – Santa Cruz, CA at TBA ***
July 7 – Sacramento, CA at Torch Club (5pm Happy Hour Show) ***
July 7 – Folsom, CA at Gaslight Taproom (8pm) ***
July 8 – Portland, OR at Slim’s ***
July 9 – Medford, OR at Spark House Concerts (6pm)
July 10 – Bremerton, WA at Hi-Fidelity Lounge (7pm)
July 13 – Bellingham, WA at The Green Frog ***
July 14 – TBA
July 15 – Vancouver, WA at Loowit Brewing (w. The Mutineers)
July 22 – Sheridan, OR at Wildwood MusicFest and Campout (6pm)
July 23 – Boise, ID at House Concert
July 25 – Columbia, MO at Logboat Brewing (7:30pm)