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Friday’s lineup is filled out with local flatpickin’ bluegrass trio Mike Maddux & The Headliners, as well as a true supergroup, the New Orleans Suspects, who will hit the stage before headliners The Steel Wheels.
To give you an idea of the New Orleans Suspects’ musical pedigree, the band comprises “Mean” Willie Green, the longtime drummer for the Neville Brothers and guest with the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and many others; guitarist Jake Eckert, the lead guitarist for Dirty Dozen Brass Band; keyboardist CR Gruver, a frequent sideman for The Meters’ Leo Nocentelli; and saxophonist Jeff Watkins, who acted as bandleader for Joss Stone and a fellow called James Brown. Definitely not to be missed.
Saturday night is completed by the Texas-based Blue Water Highway Band, who bring a bit of operatic vocals, accordion and alternative rock flavor to their Americana stylings. The band rounds out Saturday’s lineup, which will also feature local singer-songwriter Sandy Wells, Edith, Tallgrass, Grass It Up, Musketeer Gripweed, and headliner Ron Pope.
Sunday morning will kick off with a trio of songwriters “in the round,” featuring the locally based Edie Carey, who recently performed a Friends House Concert, Fort Collins’ Justin Roth, and Sheridan, Wyoming’s Sarah Sample. The noon slot will be occupied by Toronto-based indie-folk quartet Wild Rivers, and later in the afternoon, former Rugburns frontman Steve Poltz will make his return to the MeadowGrass stage, having previously appeared at the 2014 festival.
Following the Nashville-via-Birmingham psychedelic-tinged, roots-rock outfit Banditos, Sunday’s headliner will be Bay Area luminary Nicki Bluhm, who likely won’t need too much of an introduction to the MeadowGrass crowd. But lest you’re unfamiliar, Bluhm has performed with the likes of Ryan Adams, The Infamous Stringdusters and various Grateful Dead spin-off bands. Her former band, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, released two critically acclaimed LPs in 2013 and 2015, and she will make her MeadowGrass appearance with a new four-piece band.
Finally, Sunday’s late-night performance comes courtesy of Clem Hammond & The B3’s, the allegedly Claude, Mississippi-based rowdy blues act who suspiciously plays locally rather frequently, and features a frontman who looks a whole lot like singer-songwriter Joe Johnson. I suppose audiences will have to come to their own conclusions.
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