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Front Country’s Brings Californian Bluegrass to Pearl Street

“A sound that lies somewhere between indie folk and Americana—a genre some might call “Roots Pop….” is how Front Country describes their unique take on bluegrass. The Bay Area natives, who got their start as part of an informal, invitational monthly jam, are the headliners at Pearl Street Warehouse tomorrow, Sept. 26.

In anticipation of the performance, The Hill Rag spoke with Front Country’s lead singer Melody Walker. Walker explained California’s connection to the recent resurgence of Bluegrass

“In a lot of ways, California is more rural and rugged than DC has ever been. Much of the Bluegrass and folk music that has come out of California since the 60’s has been about nature. I grew up listening to Laurie Lewis, Kathy Kallick and Kate Wolf, and those women were my introduction to Bluegrass. I also grew up listening to the Seldom Scene, which is far closer to California style genre-bending Bluegrass than anything Appalachian. Bluegrass lyrics all have this archetypal geography to them that anyone can relate to: mountains, hills, cabins, rivers… so it’s more rooted in the heart than any one place. Arguably, Bluegrass has meant more in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the world. It’s inexplicably universal.”

Front Country’s latest album, “Other Love Songs,” on Organic Records, features some of the most personal ballads Walker has ever written. These songs, she says, were “tough to work on” because she had to “write more emotionally.” Walker rises to the challenge in “If Something Breaks.”

This reviewer has had the pleasure of seeing Front Country perform at both Charm City Bluegrass and Floydfest music festivals this past summer. The band was a dynamic and original stand out.

Walker is appreciative of their fans. “People who get out to see live music are the best,” she says.

Be the best on Thursday night. Catch Front Country’s at the Pearl Street Warehouse. You won’t be disappointed!

A concert junky, music aficionado, and live music reviewer for Hill Rag and DC Music Review, Leanne Tankel studied writing at both UC Berkeley (BA) and Boston University (MA). In addition to music reviews, she writes prose and her manuscript, Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage, was a 2011 short-list finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Awards program. Leanne lives with her three sons and two pugs in Northern Virginia.

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