McMinnville, TN -- The fourth season of PBS' Emmy-winning Bluegrass Underground series - the best looking and sounding music on television - will feature some of the biggest names in bluegrass, Americana, roots-rock and the cutting edges of acoustic music. But you don't have to wait for it to come to your TV. Expanded to four days, the marathon video shoot is scheduled for March 7-9, 2014, in the Volcano Room of Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tenn., with tickets going on sale soon at www.bluegrassunderground.com.
For bluegrass fans, the year's two most acclaimed bands will be there. The Steep Canyon Rangers won the GRAMMY for best bluegrass album back in February for the North Carolina band's Nobody Knows You. In September, the IBMA's 2011 IBMA Entertainers of the Year hosted the first IBMA Awards held in their home state.
The Gibson Brothers took the top prize that night, Entertainer of the Year, as well as Vocal Group and Song of the Year honors for the title track of their Compass CD They Called It Music.
For those who like to stretch the boundaries of bluegrass, David Grisman, one of the founders of newgrass and new acoustic music, will make his Bluegrass Underground debut on March 9 with his David Grisman Folk/Jazz Trio. Eclectic guitar virtuoso Keller Williams will perform that same day, backed by the stellar Traveling McCourys. Led by Del's sons Ronnie and Rob, the group is fast becoming the house band for bluegrass, while at the same time breaking new ground with groups like the sacred steel band The Lee Boys. Incidentally, Traveling McCoury Jason Carer took IBMA Fiddle Player of the year in those September wards, unseating nine-time winner Michael Cleveland, another BGU favorite.
The biggest Americana name on the bill is Lucinda Williams, one of the true architects of that blend of country, blues, folk, literary singer-songwriting and straight-out rock 'n' roll that would become known as Americana. Mainstream Nashville knows her as the writer of Mary Chapin Carpenter's hit "Passionate Kisses, but this is a woman who can - and does - do it all.
As usual, the next season of Bluegrass Underground will be a mix of veterans, newbies and today's brightest stars. Two of our finest singer-songwriters will be on hand. Veteran singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey ("Wildfire" "Geronimo's Cadillac") makes his BGU debut on March 7. Singer/songwriter/master raconteur Chip Taylor ("Wild Thing" "Angel of the Morning") returns to the cave on Saturday, March 8.
Two of today's best young Americana singer-songwriters will appear in The Volcano Room for the first time. Jason Isbell, Americana Music Award Winner, will perform March 7, while his fellow AMA winner Hayes Carll goes before the cameras March 9.
Making their BGU debut March 8 is Shovels & Rope, the duo that stole the show at this year's Americana Music Awards, where Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent won Emerging Artist honors, as well as Song of the Year ("Birmingham"). And as usual with BGU, some of the next season's best moments may well come from artists who are new to you.
March 7, it's showstopping MCR veteran Davina & The Vagabonds swinging through multiple generations and genres of New Orleans grooves, powered by its frontwoman's mega-watt personality.
The breakout performer of the weekend could well be the amazing Dave Eggar, a virtuoso cellist who earlier played our sister show Music City Roots at the Loveless Barn. March 8, he'll make his BGU debut, bringing along the wonderful singer Amy Lee of Evanescence fame, Chuck Palmer. Percussionist and, in a first for Bluegrass Underground, a dance troupe - Hammerstep, an innovative group that mixes traditional Irish step dancing with hip hop, tap and other influences.
So make it easy on yourself. Instead of just choosing one day, why not plan a Bluegrass Underground vacation for March 7-9? Get a room or a cabin nearby and come to stay. You'll be glad you did.
The full taping schedule for Bluegrass Underground - Season 4 :