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Fourth annual Bluegrass at the Barn event set for next weekend: June 8th (Saskatoon) and June 9th (Regina)

by Scott Roos

photos by Deanna and Scott Roos

Lonesome Town Painters photo courtesy of the artist

The Local Group playing the 2022 Saskatoon edition of Bluegrass at the Barn.

Wow! Okay that came up quickly… Yes, the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society will be holding their fourth annual Bluegrass at the Barn festivals NEXT WEEKEND. The Saturday, June 8th event at the venerable, quaint, Barn Playhouse, located about 20 mins north of Saskatoon, will kick things off whilst the music will happen Sunday, June 9th at Country Acres near the town of McLean (Near Regina). These events are both planned to be held outdoors so bring a chair but, in case of rain, there is a contingency plan to move inside if need be. There will be food vendors as well as activities for the little ones (courtesy of Wander's Tiny Farm) at both sites. In McLean there will be horse wagon rides. All in all, it will be a great weekend of fun, family friendly entertainment. 

The Lonesome Town Painters

Headlining the festival this year will be Vancouver’s Lonesome Town Painters. Admittedly, I don’t know very much about them but, given the Society’s history of bringing in top quality out of province acts, I am sure they will not disappoint. Described as having “a look, style and sound that harkens back to the raw and ragged edge of the (bluegrass) genre inspired by artists such as the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs”, I’m already intrigued.

Also coming from out of province, although no strangers to the Northern Lights Society, are the Kootenay, B.C. based duo of the Doggone Brothers. In fact, they have attended the Bluegrass camp in the past and were winners of the legendary songwriting competition in 2021. In 2022, they played a few sets at the August festival and were amazing. Usually a quartet, they will be returning to Saskatchewan as a duo that will feature Clayton Parsons on banjo, guitar and dobro, and Michael Hepher on mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitar. In this format, the two guys give off a more folksy take on the bluegrass genre. They have great stage presence and I’m looking forward to seeing them perform once again.

5 Guys Names Dave's Michael Taylor tearing it up on the Mandolin. This is one of my all time favourite pics since we founded NSMZ in 2020.

I was also very happy to see that 5 Guys Named Dave will be playing the Bluegrass at the Barn event again this year. This is a crew that continues to improve with every outing. I saw them play the Bluegrass Festival 2023 and the energy that emanated from them on stage was palpable. They will be sporting a “new” lineup this year that will include Michael Taylor (Mandolin), Emile Hooper (Fiddle), Holly Gilroy (stand up bass), Rebecca Hammel (guitar), and Adam Clement (banjo). They perform a traditional take on the bluegrass genre with a lot of energy and panache. They are “students of the game” to be sure and they are also great people.

Gil and Wil tweening it up at the 2023 edition of the Northern Light Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival

Rounding out the lineup will be the exciting, folksy, and fresh duo of Gil and Wil. Formed at bluegrass camp 2022, they are also past songwriting winners. They won the hearts of everyone at camp with their song "Cowboy of the Sea" in 2022 and came back to "tween" in 2023 with their incredible close harmonies and comical, fanciful lyrics. In truth, although hopefully not much longer, this duo, made up of Holly Gilroy and Aiden McRorie Wilson, might be the best kept secret of the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society. They are classy in their approach and so so so musical. They will be a treat to see again and I’m very much looking forward to it.

For more information on how to purchase tickets for the Bluegrass at the Barn events, click HERE. It’s going to be a great weekend of music - not to be missed. As per tradition there will be a jam for everyone after the performances have concluded so bring your instrument along too. Good times ahead!

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