With so many outstanding musicians and bands performing at Springfest Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (March 17-20), you’re going to miss some stuff. Lots, actually, with all the overlapping sets. You know about the heavy hitters, of course: John Prine, Railroad Earth, Brandi Carlile, Del McCoury Band, Donna the Buffalo, the Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams and more.
Here are eight names you may not know you should consider adding to your dance card. Fortunately, most of these (in fact, at least 13 acts on the bill) have multiple performances, so you can probably fit them all into your schedule! Check them out when you stop packing for a moment!
Thursday 8:00 PM Amphitheater
Mandolin Orange is the duo of Andrew Marlin & Emily Frantz. They list their style as “lyrical-country-grassy-folk.” After Springfest, they head out west for shows in California and nearby states (and Vancouver). May finds them with a tour of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Summer plans include the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Such Jubilee, the group’s fourth album, was released in 2015. Official website.
JON STICKLEY TRIO
Thursday 12:15 AM Amphitheater
Friday 7:00 PM Porch Stage
Saturday 7:30 PM Music Hall (Stickley & Book)
The Jon Stickley Trio has been compared to a “newgrass power trio.” Lyndsay Pruett, violin; Patrick Armitage, drums; and Jon Stickley, guitar, comprise this highly regarded trio. Stickley has been praised for his impressive use of the “guitar’s natural harmonics.” Pruett’s fiddle playing is nationally renowned. They are currently touring the East Coast, and their fourth album, Lost At Sea, was recently released. Official website.
Friday 4:00 PM Music Hall
Saturday 1:00 PM Porch Stage
Nikki Talley is a folk and Americana songstress whose gifts include vocals, guitar, and clawhammer banjo. She is accompanied by husband Jason Sharp on guitars and bass. They had delightful performances at Magnolia Fest. The Asheville duo spins west after Springfest with shows across the South and Southwest, especially in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Talley’s fifth album, Out From the Harbor, was issued last July. Official website.
HORSESHOES & HAND GRENADES
Friday 5:00 PM Meadow Stage
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades have by far the most entertaining name, and they are willing to back that up with a “close” performance. They brand themselves as a “progressive high-energy string band” from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The band includes: David C. Lynch, harmonica, accordion, spoons, vocals; Russell Pedersen, banjo, fiddle, vocals; Adam Greuel, guitar, dobro, vocals; Sam Odin, bass, vocals; and Collin Mettelka, fiddle, mandolin, vocals.
Their tour finds them all over the U.S., including appearances at Del Fest, Moonshiner’s Ball and Silver Cloud Campout. The band has four albums to their credit, including This Old Town, the most recent. Official website.
Friday 5:00 PM Porch Stage
Saturday 6:00 PM Music Hall
Fruition is a quintet hailing from Idaho, Georgia and California who blend folk-rock, Americana, soul, and blues for their own brew. Members are: Jay Cobb Anderson, vocals, lead guitar, harmonica; Kellen Asebroek, vocals, rhythm guitar, piano; Mimi Naja, vocals, mandolin, electric & acoustic guitar; Jeff Leonard, bass; and Tyler Thompson, drums, banjo.
They earned spots at numerous festivals last year, including a great set at Bonnaroo. This year’s headlining tour finds them on the West Coast in April, working their way east, then back to the Midwest, including a May 6th show at Red Rocks with JJ Grey and MOFRO and the Infamous Stringdusters. Summer fests include Summercamp, Del Fest, Silver Cloud and Palisade Bluegrass & Roots. The band’s third album is Labor of Love. Official website.
THE LARRY KEEL EXPERIENCE
Friday 7:00 PM Meadow Stage
Saturday 2:00 PM Amphitheater
The Larry Keel Experience just released the 15th album from flatpicker Larry Keel, titled Experienced. Keel has been performing in a variety of musical settings, including The Keels and Keller and the Keels. The current tour features his core band, The Larry Keel Experience (featuring Will Lee on 5-string banjo and vocals and Jenny Keel on upright bass and vocal harmonies).
They have embarked on an album release tour with stops throughout the North and Southeastern states, with festival stops at Spring Pickin’, Sleepy Creek SpringDig and Rooster Walk. Official website.
Saturday 5:00 PM Porch Stage
Sunday 12:00 noon Amphitheater
Della Mae isn’t a woman; it’s FIVE women, and they ROCK! Find out when you see Celia Woodsmith, lead vocals, guitar; Jenni Lyn Gardner, mandolin, vocals; Kimber Ludiker, fiddle; Courtney Hartman, lead guitar, vocals; and Zoe Guigueno, bass. Last year’s self-titled album was the group’s third.
Their busy tour schedule finds them up and down the East Coast, plus Texas, before playing a dozen festivals all over the country this summer, including Grey Fox Bluegrass, Northwest String Summit, Huck Finn Jubilee, and Roots on the River. Official website.
NICKI BLUHM & THE GRAMBLERS
Saturday 6:00 PM Amphitheater
Nicki Bluhm is a San Francisco singer-songwriter whose bandmates are Deren Ney, Dave Mulligan, Steve Adams, and Mike Curry. On their tour with the Infamous Stringdusters prior to Springfest, Bluhm has appeared as a guest during the Stringdusters. Loved Wild Lost is the group’s second album, released last year. Nicki also has four other albums under her name. The current tour culminates in appearances at MerleFest and Doheny Blues Festival. Official website.
MusicFestNews looks forward to seeing you at Suwannee Springfest!