The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash

Arts at Old First presents

The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash

Tony Trischka with Michael Daves and Friends, Sierra Hull feat. Ethan Jodziewicz, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, The Goodbye Girls, Brittany Haas & Lena Jonsson, Cole Quest & The City Pickers, The Bilger Family Band

Sunday · November 29, 2015

Doors: 3:00 pm / Show: 4:00 pm (event ends at 8:30 pm)

$30.00 - $150.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is all ages

The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash
The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash
Arts at Old First is pleased to present The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash. Founded in 2012 to benefit the restoration of an historic Park Slope sanctuary, the Bash has become NYC’s premier bluegrass event, having presented a who’s who of performers with ties to the city’s thriving roots music scene from legends like David Bromberg and Andy Statman to young stars Chris Thile, Sarah Jarosz, and many more. Curated by Grammy-nominated guitarist and singer Michael Daves, whom the New York Times calls “a leading light”of the city’s bluegrass scene, the Bash brings together the Brooklyn community around world-class bluegrass music for a great cause.

This year’s main stage headliners are:
-Progressive banjo legend Tony Trischka teaming up with Daves and others for a full-band bluegrass throwdown
-Virtuoso acoustic guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (of the Punch Brothers)
-Hudson Valley trad./folk-rock favorites, the Mike & Ruthy Band
-Old-time fiddle master Bruce Molsky with his new trio the Mountain Drifters

A second stage features performances by Della Mae guitarist and singer Courtney Hartman, The Abby Hollander Band, and 9 Pound Hammer (featuring Old First’s own Bilger Family). There will also be the premier showing of a documentary by Jason Zucker on the making of Daves’ recent double album release Orchids and Violence (Nonesuch Records), one disc of which was recorded in Old First Church’s upper hall.


3pm: doors

3:15pm: [FRONT ROOM] Abby Hollander Band

3:15pm: [MAIN STAGE] Documentary Premier: The Making of Michael Daves’ Orchids and Violence

4pm: [MAIN STAGE] Molsky’s Mountain Drifters

4:50pm: [FRONT ROOM] 9 Pound Hammer (featThe Bilger Family)

5:15 pm: [MAIN STAGE] Mike and Ruthy Band

6:00pm: [FRONT ROOM] Courtney Hartman

6:25pm: [MAIN STAGE] Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge

7:20pm: [MAIN STAGE] Tony Trischka, Michael Daves & Friends (Alex Hargreaves, Mike Barnett & Larry Cook)

8:10pm: [MAIN STAGE] All Star jam session

8:30pm end


by Burkhard Bilger

It began with a cave in—or, rather, two. In September 2011, just fifteen minutes before Rosh Hashanah services, large chunks of plaster began to fall from the ceiling at Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope. The plaster nearly hit Rabbi Andy Bachman in the head, prompting a sinking sense of déjà vu. Bachman and his Jewish congregation were gathered in a Protestant church because the ceiling of their own synagogue, Beth Elohim, had begun to collapse two years earlier. The twin disasters attested to the fragility of Park Slope’s beautiful old sanctuaries. But they also galvanized their members’ community spirit. After the first collapse, Reverend Daniel Meeter invited Bachman’s congregation to worship at Old First. After the second, Bachman returned the favor, inviting Old First to celebrate Easter at Beth Elohim’s newly renovated synagogue.

Like most things in Brooklyn, religion works a little differently around here. On October 30, at the Bell House in Park Slope, more than a dozen of the city’s finest bluegrass musicians will donate their services to a benefit concert for Old First, which still faces several million dollars in sanctuary repairs. Old First has one of the oldest congregations in the country—Peter Stuyvesant founded it in 1654—and the church lies at the very heart of the cultural life of Park Slope. It serves as a homeless shelter, a day-care facility, a meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous, The Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen, and a magnificent performance space for local arts groups. It’s both a neighborhood landmark and one of the city’s loveliest halls, with Tiffany glass windows, Arts and Crafts woodwork, and a Neo-Gothic spire of Indiana limestone. The congregation is small, however, with less than a hundred members, and they can only afford to save the building with the neighborhood’s help. Enter the Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash.

New York has always been an improbably wonderful place to hear bluegrass. Going back to the late fifties, the Greenwich Village folk scene produced the first non-Southern bluegrass band of note, The Greenbrier Boys, fronted by John Herald who served as an early mentor to Bob Dylan. Since the early seventies, homegrown players like Tony Trischka, Andy Statman, David Grisman, and Kenny Kosek have pushed the boundaries of the genre, while legends like Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers regularly swung through town for concerts. Recent years have brought an influx of the best and brightest young talent - musicians like Chris Thile and The Punch Brothers, Michael Daves, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan, and many others have made New York their home base.

The Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash brings this history together. It’s a meeting of “the old Turks and the new Turks,” as organizer Michael Daves puts it. The cross-generational theme is strong again this year, bringing together seasoned masters and brilliant upstarts. Banjo legend Tony Trischka, “The Godfather of New Acoustic Music” will join Daves, bassist Larry Cook and two young fiddler stars Alex Hargreaves and Mike Barnett. Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge joins reknowned jazz and acoustic guitar virtuoso Julian Lage for a set mixing originals and covers that illustrate the breadth of the American songbook as Lage and Eldridge see it, incorporating bluegrass, country, gospel, old-time music and jazz. Hudson Valley based songwriters Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar (aka Mike + Ruthy) bring their crack five-piece ensemble, reintroducing a high-energy folk rock sound that they helped define in the early 2000’s as “Trad is Rad” trailblazers, The Mammals. Master old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky will be on hand, who WBUR calls " one of the greatest American fiddlers of all time.” He’ll be presenting his new trio, Molksy’s Mountain Drifters, with two young up-and-comers, Alison De Groot on banjo and Stash Wyslouch on guitar. A second stage features performances by guitarist and singer Courtney Hartman (of Della Mae), The Abby Hollander Band, and 9 Pound Hammer (featuring Old First’s own Bilger Family).

New York’s players have always specialized in taking the old tunes to new places—combining them with jazz and classical; infusing them with everything from Radiohead to the Strokes to the fiddle tunes of Sweden and Galicia. The music they’re making is as cosmopolitan as the city itself, and as utterly American. Somehow, a city that’s about as far from the roots of bluegrass as you can get has become its second home—a place of kindred urgency and sophistication, humor and mad invention. Please join us for what promises to be an astonishing show. Roofs will be raised.
Tony Trischka with Michael Daves and Friends
Tony Trischka with Michael Daves and Friends
Michael Daves:

Born in the southern empire of Atlanta, Georgia, Michael Daves grew up playing bluegrass in that grand old tradition of staying up late & singing real loud. Although he’s since moved north, the humid south remains, lodged in his heart and sinus cavities. Heralded as “a leading light of the New York bluegrass scene” by the New York Times, Daves has garnered attention for his work with Chris Thile, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka, and others in addition to his solo performances. Since 2006 Daves has maintained a weekly residency on Tuesday nights at The Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan where he continues to draw a devout following, and uses the informal setting to showcase special guest appearances with a who’s who of bluegrass musicians including Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan. He is also an in-demand teacher and noted booster of NYC’s thriving bluegrass music community.

Daves’ most recent recording is his duo debut with Thile, Sleep With One Eye Open, a collection of 16 traditional tunes by bluegrass legends like The Monroe Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Jimmy Martin, and Flatt & Scruggs. The duo makes for "a rip-roaring partnership," says the New York Times. "Bluegrass, in their hands, gets roughed up in the best possible way, with skill and fervor, and a touch of abandon." Sleep With One Eye Open received a 2011 Grammy Nomination for best bluegrass album. Daves is currently preparing to release a new double album, “Orchids and Violence” in early 2016, in which he initially explores twelve bluegrass classic songs (with an ace band featuring Pikelny, Jarosz, Brittany Haas, and Mike Bub), and then on the second disc radically reimagines the same songs in a raw, electric context. At the Bash he will be performing music from the upcoming record with Trischka, Jarosz, Haas, and bassist Larry Cook, plus special guests.

Tony Trischka:

Perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world, for more than 35 years Trischka’s stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. He is not only considered among the very best pickers, he is also one of the instrument's top teachers, and has created numerous instructional books, teaching video tapes and cassettes. A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka's interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio's "Charlie and the MTA" in 1963. In 1973, he began a two-year stint with Breakfast Special, along with Andy Statman and Kenny Kosek. In the early 1980s, he began recording with his new group Skyline, which recorded its first album in 1983. In 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire. Three years later, he worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy.

In 2007 Trischka released Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring an appearance by comedian Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs and many other luminaries. For this recording he went back to Bluegrass and reinvigorated the double banjo tradition of that style along the way and brought along some fine companions. Tony was given an IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) award for Banjo Player of the Year 2007. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular received IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year, Instrumental Album of the Year as well as a Grammy nomination.

On Tony’s latest album Great Big World (Rounder Records - released February, 2014) his instrumental expertise and boundless imagination are as sharp as ever. One of the most ambitious and accomplished of his career, the album is a deeply compelling showcase for his expansive instrumental talents, far-ranging musical interests and distinctive songwriting skills, as well as his sterling taste in collaborators. With contributions from his band Territory, Steve Martin, Michael Daves, Noam Pikelny, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot and many other special guests the 13-track set finds Trischka embracing all manner of possibilities, while keeping one foot firmly

planted in the traditional bluegrass roots that first inspired him to make music.
Sierra Hull feat. Ethan Jodziewicz
Sierra Hull feat. Ethan Jodziewicz
Sierra Hull:

There aren’t many twenty four year-old musicians whose careers have already spanned more than a decade, and there aren’t many at any age that can compare resumes with Sierra Hull. She was given her first mandolin at age 8. By age 11, Alison Krauss had called with an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry stage; by 12, Rounder Records was expressing interest (she signed at age 13, and her first album released at 16). She’s also played the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has traveled around the world sharing her music in such far-flung places as Micronesia, the Middle East and Japan. Along the way, the Berklee School of Music in Boston gave her the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship, a first for a bluegrass musician.

In January of 2016, Hull will release her third album for Rounder Records, Weighted Mind produced by 15-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck. The long-anticipated new album – her first in five years — features bass marvel Ethan Jodziewicz with enchanting harmonies provided by Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss and Rhiannon Giddens. The new recording shows that boundaries—age, genre or otherwise—don’t hamper an artist like Sierra. She’s already earned considerable respect in the bluegrass world, having received no fewer than nine IBMA award nominations. But as a player, a singer and a songwriter, she also has remarkable range, the potential to win over ears unfamiliar with Bill Monroe. Matt Glaser—head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program—put it this way: “She has no limitations as a musician.”

Ethan Jodziewicz:

Boston-based double bassist Ethan Jodziewicz (pronounced "yo-JEH-vits") thrives in performances and collaborations that combine traditional and contemporary elements, technical virtuosity with simplicity and passion. As a rising star on the new acoustic music scene, he has been inspiring audiences with music that is fresh, exciting, and without boundaries. An in-demand ensemble player, Ethan performs at festivals and concert halls across North America including Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, and RockyGrass, and can be heard regularly with Sierra Hull, Mr. Sun (w/ Darol Anger, Grant Gordy, and Joe Walsh), and in his duo with Tatiana Hargreaves. He has also appeared on stage with musicians and ensembles including Béla Fleck, Tony Trischka, David Grisman, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Alison Brown, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan, Willie Watson, Time for Three, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Seattle and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, and more. Ethan is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Edgar Meyer and Hal Robinson.
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
“Jay and Molly,” as they are affectionately known by their fans and friends alike, have become one of the most celebrated duos in the American acoustic music scene. Their consummate musicianship, incomparable warmth and wit, and obvious love of the music have delighted audiences worldwide. You may know them from A Prairie Home Companion, from their own public radio program Dancing on the Air on WAMC’s Northeast Network, or from film soundtracks such as Legends of the Fall and Brother’s Keeper. Millions were entranced by the music they did for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition Ashokan Farewell, earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy. This simple, but powerful melody was originally inspired by the week-long Fiddle & Dance Camps that Jay & Molly run for musicians and dancers at Ashokan Center in the Catskill Mountains. People attend the camps to become better fiddlers, guitarists, mandolin players, percussionists, dancers, dance callers and instructors—and while they’re doing that they’re becoming links in the chain that help to pass our folk legacy from the people who came before us to those who will follow.
The Goodbye Girls
The Goodbye Girls
These four musicians from the US, Canada, and Sweden formed the band out of a common love for old-time, traditional bluegrass and Swedish traditional music. Lena Jonsson on fiddle, Allison de Groot on banjo, Brittany Karlson on bass, and Molly Tuttle on guitar & lead vocals are individually some of the best acoustic musicians around, and together they create a sound that is exciting, fresh and full of energy. With two international tours under their belt, bookings at the likes of Stockholm Folk Festival & Newport Folk Festival and their debut album "Going to Boston" reaching #1 on the Americana airplay direct charts, The Goodbye Girls are turning heads right out of the gate. The band has a dedication to honoring the musical styles in which they are rooted -- bluegrass, old-time and Swedish traditional -- and together they are re-imagining the repertoire in a unique and exciting way. Their original material sits comfortably between a raging old-time tune, a traditional bluegrass song or a Swedish polska in a playful balance between new and old. The band recently returned from a tour opening shows for The Milk Carton Kids and is currently working on a second album.
Brittany Haas & Lena Jonsson
Brittany Haas & Lena Jonsson
Brittany Haas:

California-born Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. She grew up honing her craft in fiddle camps nationwide, and came to her unique sound through the old-time fiddling of Bruce Molsky and the innovative stylings of Darol Anger, her mentors. A prodigious youth, she began touring with Anger’s Republic of Strings at the age of 14. At age 17 she released her debut self-titled solo album, produced by Anger and featuring Molsky, Mike Marshall, Alison Brown and others. While a student at Princeton University she simultaneously studied baboons in the evolutionary biology department and joined seminal chamber-grass band Crooked Still. She has toured with them since, and also performed with Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Trischka, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (her cellist sister), Abigail Washburn, and The Waybacks. She played her fiddle on Steve Martin's Grammy Award-winning CD, "The Crow," and performed in his band on Letterman and SNL. In 2014 she released "You Got This," the debut album of all original music from her trio Haas Kowert Tice (with Punch Brothers bassist Paul Kowert and guitarist Jordan Tice). In 2015 she and Swedish fiddler Lena Jonsson released their self-titled debut album. Recently Haas relocated to Nashville where she is achieving new levels of notoriety through recording and touring with The David Rawlings Machine.

Lena Jonsson:

A highly respected fiddler from Sweden, Lena Jonsson is known for her ability to balance her deep knowledge of traditional Swedish folk music with innovative artistic sensibilities. She was born in Hälsingland, a region in the middle of Sweden with a rich and active musical tradition. Growing up in a family of fiddlers, Lena started playing the fiddle at the age of six and performing by age 10, gaining national attention from her public performances. Her studies of Swedish folk music performance at the Falun Music Conservatory and The Royal Music Academy in Stockholm led her to become a highly sought after teacher and authentic performer of Swedish traditional music in Continental Europe and North America. In 2012, Lena received an achievement scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and study American roots music and jazz. She has received numerous performance and composing grants throughout her career, and has recorded on over twenty albums. She is in demand by American musicians as a collaborator and mentor of Swedish folk music. Lena tours regularly throughout Sweden and Europe with her projects Jonsson Coudroy, Brittany Haas & Lena Jonsson, Skenet, The Goodbye Girls and Limbohofvet.
Cole Quest & The City Pickers
Cole Quest & The City Pickers
A rowdy and numerous throng of musicians, the City Pickers are connected by friendship and a love of bluegrass. Cole Quest, grandson of the folk icon Woody Guthrie, has brought together this eclectic collection of pickers who have gained recognition on the local New York City scene. Performing both Quest's original tunes as well as traditional favorites, The City Pickers bring their special brand of high-spirited talent to the stage, with up-beat, knee slapping energy and a high lonesome sound that leaves audiences wanting more. After recording their debut album at NYC's renowned Magic Shop studio, they're ramping up for an early 2016 release.
Venue Information:
The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11215