Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 4 Reviews

The Drew Emmitt Band
Sunday, Oct. 3, 12:25 p.m.
Arrow Stage
Reviewed by Chris Streng

Drew Emmitt and his band carried the torch of Bill Monroe with their traditional bluegrass sound and deep country roots. The blazing three-finger banjo style of Matt Flinner was a particular crowd favorite and the set gained momentum as it went along. They mixed strong originals with a few standards for good measure. Drew invited fiddler Darol Anger onstage and after a spot of technical difficulty with the monitors, the band was quickly trading solos.

A particular crowd favorite was Emmitt's composition "Paving Eisenhower," with some fretboard pyrotechnics from Emmitt and Flinner. Gary Garrison's bass was solid and the deft flatpicking style of Ross Martin propelled the band higher. They locked in to some tight country grooves.

Emmitt, an alumnus of the jam band Leftover Salmon, knew how to work the crowd, and his stage-patter references to both Colorado and Tennessee drew applause from those in the audience who had clearly made the trip for this show. It was still early in the day, so the atmosphere was very relaxed and the occasional cute dog would attract attention away from the stage. Emmitt and his band were tightly focused on the music, however, and once the crowd tuned in it was apparent that these five musicians were on to something special, pushing each other to greater feats of technical expertise. Large groups of people along the perimeter of the seated area were up and dancing and by the end of the set, Emmitt and his band had earned a standing ovation.

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