October 18, 2016
The Travelin’ McCoury’s, a bluegrass staple, will be performing with the Jeff Austin Band on their Grateful Ball tour stop at the Rex Theater. They will be paying tribute to the sounds of acclaimed folk band the Grateful Dead this Friday, Oct. 21.
Though bluegrass may not be the most popular genre in Pittsburgh, there are many in the city who still enjoy its heavy instrumental talent. Professor Ed Traversari of Pioneer Records just returned from Raleigh, North Carolina, where his son organized the largest bluegrass festival in the world.
“My son runs an amphitheater down there, and this was a huge success. I was never really a bluegrass fan myself until I went to the festival and experienced all of the bands playing together,” Traversari said.
The McCoury’s will be debuting their new guitarist Cody Kilby of Ricky Skaggs Kentucky Thunder, according to a press release from Groove On Music. This new addition adds to the McCoury’s idea of creating a sound that is unique and for all audiences.
Point Park students welcome diversity in music as well. Kylie Koch is looking forward to the Travelin’ McCoury’s performance.
“I myself am a fan of bluegrass. I find that my taste in music ranges anywhere from blues and rock to folk and bluegrass,” Koch said. “I think that it is important to recognize the influence that the genre has in current artists, and more people will realize just how important these influences are.”
Perhaps this bluegrass wave is here to stay.
“Pittsburgh is starting to bring more bluegrass into the city,” Traversari said. “WYEP has timeslots when they play bluegrass bands. The Three Rivers Arts Festival has also been pulling more bluegrass acts to play over the past three or four years. It’s great to see something like this coming in, I’d like to see even more.”
Erika Thomas of Pioneer Records also believes this is an event worth attending for the full experience bluegrass music creates for the crowd.
“I personally don’t listen to bluegrass on the regular, but I do like the atmosphere of bluegrass festivals,” Thomas said. “I think college students would attend a bluegrass festival, but it isn’t the type of genre they would look up on Spotify to listen to before class.”
Even if bluegrass is not on your typical playlist, seeing a live performance like the Travelin’ McCoury’s might convince you it is worth a second look. By covering the Grateful Dead, the McCourys will bring in a more diverse audience that has proven successful in past shows.
Tickets are on sale now at the Rex Theatre at 1602 E. Carson St. in the Southside for $14.99, general admission. This event is for audiences 21 years of age and older.
Traversari encourages students to give the genre a try.
“With bluegrass music, it’s just a bunch of people jamming. Everyone sits down and plays together.”