Fall Colors and the Final Six

It’s full-on autumn on the Cumberland Plateau, the perfect time to combine a leaf-watching drive through the heart of Tennessee with a trip to Bluegrass Underground. After you roll through the rolling hills around McMinnville, you’ll find the short hike through the woods to the mouth of the cave even prettier than usual, with the fall wildflowers below and the changing leaves overhead.

But that’s just the appetizer. The best part is when you wind your way down the quarter-mile cave trail and arrive for what is looking to be one of our best fall lineups yet. Get your tickets today here.

But if you’ve been putting off visiting us at Cumberland Caverns, it’s time to check that off your bucket list. After nine great years Bluegrass Underground will be moving to a permanent home at The Caverns, at the base of Monteagle Mountain in beautiful Grundy County, Tennessee.

Along with expanding our seating capacity and making it more accessible to Bluegrass Underground fans of all ages, The Caverns will allow us to create a concert venue with permanent production installations, rather than creating a concert venue in an empty cave for every show. And did I mention cold beer, expanded concessions and closer to major amenities? But all that will come in 2018. For now, we have a full concert lineup in ranging from hard-core traditional bluegrass to singer-songwriters, Americana, mainstream country and the coolest Christmas show on or under the earth.

Friday Sept. 29 we are happy to welcome Jack White and Third Man Records into the cave for a showcase of the record labels greatest new acts. Best of all our partners at Tennessee Tourism have made this show free! All the details are here.
Our Sept. 30 Roots & Boots tour with Sammy Kershaw, James Otto, and Aaron Tippin is sold out, and as we get closer to the showdates, the rest of our events usually sell out as well, so get your tickets now.

Oct. 14, one of the most exciting recent teams in bluegrass/traditional country comes to BGU, with dobro master Rob Ickes and singer-guitarist Trey Hensley. Rob played for more than 20 years with the the great Blue Highway, before leaving to form the duo with Trey, so he was obviously convinced the duo had something very special.

Everyone who has heard their two fine CDs agrees, but the best way to experience the Ickes Hensley team is live and in the cave. Here’s a clip of Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley doing pretty convinced people would their sound and we do. Their second great CD is out on Compass.  Get your tickets today.

Nov. 4, it’s one for the real bluegrass and county music lovers. The Ronnie Reno Tradition. Ronnie got his start with his dad, first generation bluegrass great Don Reno and his Bluegrass Hall of Fame band with Red Smiley. He was just a kid when he starting traveling with the band and playing mandolin. His next gig was playing bass with the Osborne Brothers, adding the sound of electric bass to the Osbornes’ country/grass fusion. His vocal and instrumental skills earned him a place in Merle Haggard’s Strangers, where he added to the group’s reputation as country music’s finest touring band during some of Hag’s most classic years. He could have retired then and his place in history would have been assured. But he went back to bluegrass, performing with his dad and his brothers and for the past 25 years, has hosted RFD TV’s Reno’s Old Time Music (check local listings). Needless to say, he knows how to lead a great band and put on a great show.

Nov. 18, we have one of the best singer-songwriter double bills I have ever heard about, let alone hosted. We have the award-winning singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott. Scott has toured with Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury and Robert Plant, among many others and penned too many hits to fit in one email. In the opening spot, Robbie Fulks, a leader of the early Americana movement and a former member of Chicago’s premier bluegrass band, Special Consensus. Expect amazing picking. great singing and a whole bunch of brand-new favorite songs you’ll be hearing for the first time. Showtime is at 1 p.m. Tickets are getting low, but get yours today here.

Dec. 2, Bluegrass Underground closes out 2017 and our 9-plus year run in McMinnville with A Suzy Bogguss Christmas. Suzy is one of the best singers you’ll ever hear (she was Chet Atkins’ favorite and a frequent duet partner in Mr. Guitar’s final years) and her holiday show is, for my money, the best that Nashville has to offer – absolutely virtuoso singing by Suzy and playing by her all-star band, doing a songlist both classic and surprising, and all of it presented in an intimate, completely un-glitzy show. Here’s a sample. And of course, we’ll have the cave decorated for the occasion and we’ll again be collecting unwrapped gifts for the Toys For Tots campaign.

So that’s our BGU countdown for 2017 – 6 more shows, one already sold out as I write this. Don’t delay. Come see us in the Volcano Room before we head for The Caverns in 2018.

We’ll see you Underground, that is, if you don’t wait too long. -Larry Nager

Larry Nager – Host/Interviewer