Live Review: Charm City Bluegrass Festival @ Druid Hill Park — 4/29 + 4/30/22

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Allie Kral of Yonder Mountain String Band plays the fiddle at the Charm City Bluegrass Festival in Baltimore on April 29, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

For all of the challenges Baltimore might face as a city, a deficiency of live music is not one of them.

A thoroughfare for musicians making their way up and down the East Coast, and one rich with its own dynamic scene and culture, Baltimore has quietly maintained if not improved its reputation as one of the country’s leading music cities since being propped up by media in 2000s.

The Charm City Bluegrass Festival, held April 29 and 30 at Druid Hill Park, provided two days and nights of delightful live performances, sun-baked revelry and choice local food and beverage options for more than 1,000 attendees Friday and 3,000-plus on Saturday, only reaffirming Baltimore as an important and potentially underappreciated hub for influential and busy musicians.

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Live Review: The Lil Smokies @ 9:30 Club — 3/7/20

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The Lil Smokies jam on stage at DC’s legendary 9:30 Club, March 7, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

The Lil Smokies had March 7 circled on their calendar for quite some time. For several months, the progressive bluegrass band from Missoula, Montana, anxiously anticipated stepping onto the stage at DC’s legendary 9:30 Club for the very first time.

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Preview: The Lil Smokies @ 9:30 Club, 3/7/20

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The Lil Smokies (Photo courtesy IVPR)

Progressive bluegrass band The Lil Smokies released of their third studio album, Tornillo, last month. Recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, with producer-engineer Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, Midland) Tornillo is a focused and refined representation of the sound The Lil Smokies have become known for, Live For Live Music deeming the release “…an album with a point to make.”

The Lil Smokes stare a bill with Joe Pug at 9:30 Club on Saturday, March 7.

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Preview: Upstate @ Union Stage, 1/25/19

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Upstate (Photo by Jennifer Elrod)

Upstate is a unique collective from Hudseon Valley, New York, with three female vocalists and guitarists — Melanie Glenn, Mary Kenney, and Allison Olender. On Feb. 8, Upstate will publish Healing, the band’s sophomore album, but first they will open for The Lil Smokies at Union Stage on Friday, Jan. 25.

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