MeadowGrass festival announces first wave of 2018 acts 

click to enlarge Virginia bluegrass band The Steel Wheels will be one of this summer’s MeadowGrass headliners. - SANDLIN GAITHER
  • Sandlin Gaither
  • Virginia bluegrass band The Steel Wheels will be one of this summer’s MeadowGrass headliners.
While a number of national acts, including one headliner, have yet to be confirmed, the lineup for the 10th annual MeadowGrass Music Festival has begun to take shape. The first wave of announcements comes courtesy of Rocky Mountain Highway, and it should be enough to whet the appetites of all who look forward to Memorial Day weekend at La Foret.

Friday night will be an acoustic-heavy evening as a nod to MeadowGrass comrades the Black Rose Acoustic Society, with a headlining performance by The Steel Wheels. The Virginia bluegrass-roots quartet has developed a reputation as Americana critical favorites since their 2005 debut album Journal of a Barefoot Soldier. The group has continued to remain busy, releasing nine more records — the most recent being last year’s Wild as We Came Here — and embarking on an annual “Spokesongs” tour, done entirely by bicycle.

Preceding the Steel Wheels on Friday is Massachusetts-based folk-pop artist Seth Glier, whose 2011 LP The Next Right Thing earned a Grammy nomination.

Saturday night’s decidedly more electric headliner is Ron Pope, a Nashville-via-New York-via-Georgia DIY singer-songwriter. After an injury cut short Pope’s baseball career at Rutgers University, he decided to follow his interest in music. Probably a wise choice, as his material has earned kudos from outlets such as Rolling Stone, who placed him on its “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” list in 2017, proclaiming his output of “earnest, melodic story-songs” a good fit for fans of “Tom Petty’s hooks [and] Little Feat’s grooves.”

Filling out the Saturday night lineup are blues-fusion quintet Musketeer Gripweed and “dirt-stomping soul” trio Tallgrass, both hailing from Fort Collins, along with familiar faces Edith and Grass It Up.
There’s still much to be revealed about the proceedings on Sunday night, including the headliner, but we know attendees will be treated to sets from Colorado Springs native Brent Cowles and FY5. Cowles, formerly of the soulful indie five-piece act You Me & Apollo, hasn’t missed a step since going solo, and has a new LP coming out on Dine Alone Records this spring. Bluegrass/folk quintet FY5, formerly known as Finnders and Youngberg, have a direct connection to former festival years, as banjoist Aaron Youngberg backed up Martha Scanlan at MeadowGrass 2.

As for the late-night performers, we know we’ll get sets from the ever-prolific Tejon Street Corner Thieves on Friday Night and genre-bending guitarist Dave Hebert’s project A Bear’s Choice on Saturday. Stay tuned for further developments and more information about the performers in the coming weeks.

In the rootsy, Americana vein of MeadowGrass, here’s another show announcement of interest: Pueblo’s finest, The Haunted Windchimes, will make a rare live appearance on the Western Jubilee Warehouse stage on Friday, April 20. This will be a hot-ticket item, to say the least, so don’t delay — contact the venue at 635-7776 to get yours.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com.


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