Jam bands. Country pop. Even Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart is scheduled to perform.
The three-day taping of Bluegrass Underground for PBS has a musical lineup more diverse than ever.
The lineup includes jam bands like Blues Traveler and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood. It features the 1990s supergroup The Mavericks, which placed 14 singles on the Billboard chart between 1991 and 2003. And there’s Marty Stuart, who has a storied musical career, including a pair of top 5 duets with Travis Tritt.
“Marty Stuart has been someone we’ve been wanting to get since Season 1,” said Bluegrass Underground creator Todd Mayo. “We reached out to him that first year and there was interest, but the logistics never worked out. He is absolutely someone who has always been at the top of our list. He’s done bluegrass, country, rock-a-billy. He’s a historian of country music and that’s unique because he’s also a part of that history. He’s the Mt. Rushmore of people of who we want Bluegrass Underground to be.”
Tickets went on sale for the seventh TV taping Saturday at 11 a.m. Mayo says tickets were sold at a frenzied pace.
“Thank goodness for the musical talent in America,” said Mayo. “We could keep doing this for 100 years and never run out of great bands. It’s always been our goal to color outside the lines of bluegrass and offer different varieties of music. This year it will be more of a rock ‘n roll feel than ever before.”
“I know tickets are at least 80 percent sold out right now,” Mayo said Monday afternoon. “I don’t know how many tickets we’ll have left by the time this story comes out.”
Bluegrass Underground draws much of its allure from its unique concert setting in the depths of our very own Cumberland Caverns. Since being picked up by PBS as a TV series six year ago, this Warren County landmark has been beamed into living rooms across America.
“We’ll have people coming from all over the country,” said Mayo, who added the Bluegrass Underground TV and radio shows combined to bring over 20,000 people to Warren County in 2016. “Ninety-nine percent of tickets sales were to people from outside the county.”
Since Cumberland Caverns was named by Buzzfeed as one of the 19 most unique concert venues in the world in July 2015, a number of other sources have placed it on similar lists. In December, RedBull.com listed Cumberland Caverns as one of the top 10 most extreme places to spend the night in the world.
The PBS taping is set for March 24-26. This first day will include traditional bluegrass singer Russell Moore, along with a not-so-traditional act for the series, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood.
Robinson gained fame as the lead singer of The Black Crowes and formed his new band in 2011. It has drawn comparisons to The Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic with Robinson calling his new group a “farm to table psychedelic band.”
Saturday’s card is anchored by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, an up-and-coming band Mayo says has already been selling out The Ryman.
Sunday features the hard-driving blues of the Bo-Keys and the catchy harmonica playing of Blues Traveler frontman John Popper. Blues Traveler formed in the late 1980s and is scheduled to perform at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in late February and early March.
Sunday will also include Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives.
Mayo says scheduling acts always comes down to two factors. First, the band must want to play 333 feet underground in a cave. Second, the recording dates must fit in their schedule.
For ticket information, visit www.bluegrassunderground.com.
Bluegrass Underground Season 7 PBS Taping
Friday, March 24
Russell Moore & Illard Tyme Out
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Saturday, March 25
The McCrary Sisters
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Sunday, March 26
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives
Don Bryant & the Bo-Keys