June 3, 2008
I‘m heading off-Cape this weekend to go to the Bluegrass on the Bogs festival about 30 miles away in South Carver. There will be a lot of local and regional bluegrass bands playing over the 2-day event: No Spare Parts, Lisa Bastoni and Chris Boucher, Bluegrass Invitation Review, Bradford Bog People, Crossfire, James Delnero & Lost Mountain, Falmouth Fiddlers, Harvest, Hickory Strings, Dawn Kenney Band, Matt Miklus, Oomph, Patmos Brothers Revival, Pine Hill Ramblers, Mike and Mary.
It promises to be a fun event; bluegrass music is energetic and exciting, without being overpowering. Most bluegrass bands have guitars, mandolins, violins, banjos, and a string bass, in one combination or another, plus singers. A couple of big-name bluegrass bands have cellos, notably Crooked Still and Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet, both of whom I enjoy. They are kind of alternative bluegrass/folk rock bands, both with female lead singers with delicate voices, more ethereal than hard-driving, and the cello adds a nice touch, supporting, rhythmic and deep. I have seen both bands perform at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in upstate New York.
There won’t be any cellists at Bluegrass on the Bogs, though, so far as I know. Except me. I will be playing cello with the Falmouth Fiddlers. Nothing fancy; I’m an amateur player, like most of the other members of the group, and I started the cello fairly late in life. Mostly I will just try to keep up with the others. We (the Falmouth Fiddlers) will play old-time fiddle tunes, which aren’t as high-energy as standard bluegrass music, but are still quite fast-paced, and it is challenging to play these tunes quickly on a cello.
It’s fun though, even exhilarating, to play with other musicians, and to listen to the other bands. I enjoy it immensely, and I highly recommend it.