It’s not just banjos and basses and acoustic guitars, it’s bluegrass, and it has a long and rich history in American culture. Who would have known that St. Louis is the cradle for the emergence of bluegrass talent? But it is. Find where these local bands are playing and enjoy the best that bluegrass has to offer.
Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye
You don’t talk St. Louis bluegrass without talking about Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye. Since he was 10 years old, Bull has been known throughout the Midwest for his exceptional talent for bluegrass guitar playing. His first release, “Bull’s Eye,” and his second, “Rosewood, Spruce & Ebony,” are popular favorites among lovers of bluegrass music. The band is rounded out by Joe Dean on mandolin, Jeremy Boling on banjo and his lovely wife, Tammy, on bass. Bull and the band have a busy touring schedule and can next be seen in Kirksville, in October. When the band is not on the road, Bull is an instructor. Be sure to catch his weekend workshop known as Flatpick.
Related: Top Local Rock Bands In St. Louis
The Gateway Ramblers
St. Louis, MO
Three talented musicians, Troy Brenningmeyer, Will Miskall and Ben Smith, make up the Gateway Ramblers. It is said that this group’s harmonies and instrumental prowess are qualities that give it a very unique sound in bluegrass music. You will hear everything from acoustical to electric in the performances, as the band’s reputation of great range is its style. Log on to the website and hear some of the group’s originals like “St. Louis Blues” or “Just Like You.” In addition to producing and performing great bluegrass music, The Gateway Ramblers’ members also provide music fans with online instruction in Dobro and lap steel, as well as various other music lessons.
The Mississippi Sawyers
St. Louis, MO
A classic blend of traditional bluegrass and individual style is what sets this relatively new band apart from other bluegrass bands in St. Louis. While The Mississippi Sawyers were new to the scene in St. Louis, the talented musicians that make up this group have been around for a while, developing their own individual styles. Together the band has brought a new and fresh sound to the genre. In 2008, Jeff Griffy, Dave Mueller, Candace Hale and Nate Free came together to create such great works as “Stay All Night,” “Farewell Blues” and “Freight Train Boogie.” In 2012, the group disbanded as family demands took priority. But audio and video are still available for The Mississippi Sawyer fans to enjoy on the website.
Bug Tussel Bluegrass Band
St. Louis, MO
James Jobe, Rob Adelson, Ed Drone and Larry Daniels, know as the Bug Tussel Bluegrass Band, have been compared to such greats as Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and The Stanley Brothers. The vocal harmonies and instrumental blends make this band a true bluegrass treasure. “Backslidin’ Blues” and “ Blue Grass Stomp” are just a couple favorites coming from the band. Drop in at CJ Muggs in Webster Groves on September 29, 2013 to take in some great bluegrass music and see the group’s website for further booked dates.
The Greers Bluegrass Band
Carla and Marla Greer grew up deeply devoted to the bluegrass sound and worked as a family band until they started their own bluegrass band in the early 1990s. While Carla plays the bass and guitar, Marla loves writing the music. As the two have spent years playing and singing together, they have produced many great tunes on their albums “Scorched Heart and Ashes” and “Walk on It.” For your convenience, mp3 downloads are available on the Greers’ website. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear this group that has repeatedly been reviewed as exceptional within the bluegrass genre.
Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee
Festivals are great places to hear bluegrass music. The Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee, organized and directed by active and prominent members of the bluegrass community, provides two great festivals annually for your enjoyment. Make it a point to visit the Gene Roberts Festival on November 15 and 16, 2013 at the Crown Plaza Airport Hotel in Bridgeton, and the January Eureka Festival on January 3 and 4, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Six Flags in Eureka. Both festivals offer a great weekend of good, old-fashioned bluegrass music for young and old alike.
Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.