“We tune because we care about your ears.”

(left to right) Mike Mitchell, Colin Reeves, Ryann Lynch, Matt Baldwin

Strings were continuously twanged, tuned, and tested in between songs of the foot-stomping, bluegrass bash I attended yesterday at Snipes Farm in Morrisville, PA. I arrived in the late-afternoon to catch the Jersey Corn Pickers, Fiddlesticks, Mike Mitchell Trio, Evan & The Bugs, Bad Dogz, Sully’s Fortune, and HogMaw. Beautifully tucked away off Route 1, Snipes Farm offered Flip’s Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket, tall trees, sunny skies, and the occasional turkey gobble.

Turkeys need bluegrass, too.

Folk legend Woody Guthrie was in our hearts and ears as both the Jersey Corn Pickers and the Bad Dogz played their own distinct renditions of “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad”—a tune I’ve only ever heard played live by my favorite Grateful Dead Tribute Band, Splintered Sunlight.

All manner of strings and things floated through the end-of-summer breeze: fiddles and violins, banjos, mandolins, upright bass, acoustic and electric guitar, and dobro. Percussion was taken care of by the stomping of cowboy boots, the clapping of hands, and beating of bluegrass hearts.

Mike Mitchell Trio

The Mike Mitchell Trio rode up from the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Virginia and performed the title track of their soon-to-be-released album, “Dead Center.” We were also treated to the only bluegrass cover of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”—Mike Mitchell told us he had googled it to confirm this to be true.

Fiddlesticks and Evan and the Bugs

In the midst of the Fiddlesticks’ “Cumberland Gap” and the cutest harmonica-spiked “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” by Evan & the Bugs, I allowed myself to drift into a fog of easygoing, chair lounging. That is, until the Thundergrass began…

I should have known that the full moon would bring about the wild night. Sully’s Fortune took the stage as the sun went down, and a woman in the crowd named Janice proposed to each member of the band, yelling “Will you marry me?” after each song. Then, Lyle Rickards sang acapella, introduced HogMaw, and my chair-sitting was all over.

It started with “The Flood” and ended on a “Popcorn Empire” with a YEE-HOG and HOO!!! You may want to take a Riverdance class to prep your tootsies for dancing to the thundergrass, soul-electric music that HogMaw delivers. My thighs are still sore from hootenannying, hopping, and hogging-out.

 

You can read more about the festival and the bands by visiting www.musicatsnipesfarm.com.

 

Lyle Rickards, Sully's Fortune, and HOGMAW