Live Review: Hot August Music Festival @ Oregon Ridge Park — 8/28/21

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Shakey Graves performs at the Hot August Music Festival at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md., on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

If ever there was an appetite for an outdoor music festival in the region, the time is surely now, and you could feel that in the thick, muggy air all day and night this past Saturday at the Hot August Music Festival held at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland.

Featuring a head-turning lineup of musicians performing throughout the day and into the evening, the event drew several thousand people who filled the Baltimore County-operated park and many of whom took a seat or popped up a shade shelter on the main hill that was once used for skiing.

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Preview: Hot August Music Festival @ Oregon Ridge Park (Cockeysville, Md), 8/28/21

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Shakey Graves (Photo by Magen Buse)

The long-running Hot August Music Festival hits Cockeysville, Maryland, with an exciting summer lineup that includes Greensky Bluegrass, Shakey Graves, Dumpstaphunk, Andy Frasco and The UN, and more at Oregon Ridge Park on Saturday, Aug. 28!

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Live Review: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort — 8/13-8/15/21

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Flex Matthews joined Justin Trawick at the last minute to fill an emergency opening in the 2021 Appaloosa Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson.) 

Alex and Dan Fedoryka, founding members of the band Scythian, wanted to bring their friends and fans back to their family’s hometown of Front Royal, Virginia, on the scenic Skyline Ranch Resort, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s just a few minutes from the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, and less than a mile from the Shenandoah River. There is camping available on site, plus opportunities in the immediate vicinity to hike, canoe, fish, and bike.

Welcome to the perfect setting and the perfect weekend for the annual Appaloosa Music Festival, the result of the Fedoryka brothers’ dream to celebrate life and music with their friends and family, which includes you and me!

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Preview: Watkins Family Hour @ Strathmore Music Center, 8/7/21

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Watkins Family Hour (Photo by Jacob Boll)

Sibling duo Watkins Family Hour performs two outdoors shows at Strathmore Music Center on Saturday, Aug. 7 — an early evening performance followed by a later show — touring in support of their new album, brother sister.

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Live Review: Hawktail @ Rams Head on Stage — 7/26/21

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Hawktail performs at Rams Head on Stage on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

While the pandemic might have been a blockade to the life and career of many musicians, it could very well have provided opportunity and inspiration for others to dig in with their colleagues to create special music that might provide an appropriate backdrop to these weirdest of times.

An instrumental outfit featuring Brittany Haas on violin, Paul Kowert on bass, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Hawktail visited Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis the evening of July 26 to deliver two captivating sets of powerful, intricately composed music that speaks to the group’s increasingly strong connection despite the challenges of the past year and half.

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Preview: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort, 8/13-8/15/21

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Scythian (Photo by Jason Eib)

Appaloosa Festival is back! And Appaloosa 2021 is bringing in rising stars in bluegrass, Americana and Celtic music on Aug. 13-15 at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal, Va.

Headliners at this year’s festival include Scythian, Young Dubliners, Dustbowl Revival, Yarn, and Aztec Sun!

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Live Review: Chris Thile @ Wolf Trap — 7/24/21

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Chris Thile performs at Wolf Trap on July 24, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Chris Thile loves playing at Wolf Trap. On Saturday evening, he called it “the best outdoor ampitheater in the world.” Over the years, Chris has played Wolf Trap with his main band, the Punch Brothers, and as the host of the (tragically) canceled NPR variety show Live From Here.

A mandolin virtuoso, Thile first emerged on the the music scene as a member of the bluegrass trio Nickel Creek with siblings Sean and Sara Watkins, who won a Grammy for their 2002 album, This Side. During Saturday’s show, Chris performed “Rest of My Life,” from Nickel Creek’s 2014 reunion album, A Dotted Line.

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Live Review: Sam Bush Band @ Stages Music Arts — 7/18/21

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Sam Bush performs at Stages Music Arts on July 18, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Though many musicians are admittedly brushing off rust as live performances return to order, you’d be hard-pressed to find any flaws in the skillset of the world’s most talented bluegrass musicians, a group as passionate about their craft as you’ll encounter.

One of the most critically acclaimed and seasoned bluegrass trendsetters, Sam Bush made his way to Cockeysville this past weekend for an early Sunday evening performance at Stages Music Arts, a venue that has hosted an impressive list of highly regarded musicians in just a short time.

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Live Review: Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce @ The Birchmere — 7/12/21

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Peter Rowan (Photo by Tim Benko)

Peter Rowan has played at The Birchmere many, many times. His career spans six decades, beginning in the early 1960s, when he was a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. During that time, he wrote the bluegrass classic “Walls of Time,” which he shared with the audience on Monday night in his latest turn at storied venue in Alexandria, Virginia.

Since his time in the Bluegrass Boys, Peter has played with a number of bands and artists that encompasses the range of roots music. He joined David ‘Dawg’ Grisman in Earth Opera, a band that was sort of an East Coast Grateful Dead, and he later joined up with the Dead’s Jerry Garcia in Old & In The Way. Somewhere in there, he was also a member of the eclectic group Seatrain.

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