Just Announced – Seasonal Rush!
Epic Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations On Tap
Tickets On Sale Now here
The leaves are turning on the Cumberland Plateau, pumpkins are being carved, nights are crisp and cool; all of which can only mean one thing – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Now, here at Bluegrass Underground, we’re just as annoyed as you are when Christmas ads start appearing before the Halloween candy is gone, but we’ve got to rush the season a bit to let you know about our December holiday shows while you can still get tickets. We have a batch of great concerts in October – Del & Dawg, Allen Stone, John Anderson, Flatt Lonesome and the Grateful Ball with The Travelin’ McCourys and The Jeff Austin Band. But they’re all sold out. So let’s look ahead.
We’ve got a couple of very special holiday concerts in December. We’ve already announced our Dec. 10th Pirate Christmas show withTom Mason & The Blue Buccaneers. It’s something of a BGU tradition and for families, it’s a great way to see a kid-friendly concert and tour the stunningly beautiful Cumberland Caverns all in the same day. We’ll have the Christmas tree set up and, combined with Brian Sullivan’s award-worthy lighting in the majestic Volcano Room, it will be a Christmas concert you’ll always remember. The Blue Buccaneers play a Celtic-inflected blend of folk rock with piratical themes. Imagine if The Pogues did the songs for the musical version of Pirates of The Caribbean and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s in store. But Captain Mason and his band of brigands have a special Christmas show, mixing jolly old St. Nick with the Jolly Roger. Here’s the Blue Buccaneers’ “Yo Ho Ho (Pirate’s Christmas)”
Dec. 17th, the Volcano Room will ring like a massive Christmas bell with the a cappella harmonies of Street Corner Symphony. The Nashville-based sextet won over national audiences onThe Sing-Off, NBC-TV’s all-vocal talent competition, where they took runners-up honors. Since then,  brothers Jeremy and Jonathan Lister, Adam Chance, Kurt Zimmerman, Kaleb Jones and Mark McLemore have been touring with folks like Ben Folds and Jay Leno and have performed in Europe. But Street Corner Symphony is home for the holidays and with us in the Volcano Room. In my 8 years with BGU I’ve heard so many great, memorable shows at 333 feet below, but the ones that really stick out are the ones featuring the human voice, whether it was Ralph Stanley singing “O Death” or the Cox Family, the Civil Wars, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and The Lone Bellow. With a program of harmonious holiday favorites, just a week before Christmas Eve, this should be the perfect holiday concert just when you need it most. The simple beauty of six voices in harmony, ringing out amid the natural beauty of the Volcano Room, is the ideal antidote for the sensory overload of our modern, over-commercialized, pumpkin-spice-caffeinated Christmas season. Here’s Street Corner Symphony from their TV days, doing a 21st Century Yule standard, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
And this year, we’ve added a new holiday tradition to Bluegrass Underground, a special New Year’s Eve event. At our house we keep the food traditions of New Year’s, smoking some ribs or a pork roast and cooking up pots of collards and black eye peas, ensuring prosperity for 2017, or at least a great meal to start it off. But I also believe that to ensure a year full of great music, you have to have great music to end the old year and welcome the new one. With that in mind, boy, do we have one amazing New Year’s celebration for you.
The Underground Countdown: From Dec. 30 to Jan. 1, Bluegrass Underground is presenting an all-inclusive, multi-stage New Year’s festival in the Volcano Room and at Fall Creek Falls featuring “The Voice” of bluegrass, the legendary Del McCoury (two-time GRAMMY winner and Bluegrass Hall of Famer), along with  his all-star Del McCoury Band (9-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year) and the Jeff Austin Band. Tickets are limited to only 420 celebrants and include accommodations, meals, transportation to all cave shows and the most intimate concert experience possible with these artists.  Check out all the details here.
It begins Dec. 30, Friday night, with “The Bluegrass Ball,” featuring The Del McCoury Band and some very special guests playing the best of bluegrass music, a unique program presenting the greatest songs spanning the entire history of bluegrass in two sets in The Volcano Room, 333 below the surface of the earth. “Epic” doesn’t begin to describe this one, folks. To get you in the mood, here’s their set from the 2013 DelFest with some great guests.
Saturday afternoon, we’re back at Bluegrass Underground, presenting a mix of traditional bluegrass with the outer limits of jam grass, as The Travelin’ McCourys – Del’s award-winning sons, mandolinist Ronnie and banjoist Rob McCoury, fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram – do a set of their own music, along with The Jeff Austin Band, led by the former Yonder Mt. String Band mandolinist.
Saturday night, we’re back at Fall Creek Falls for “The Grateful Ball,” featuring The Travelin’ McCourys and The Jeff Austin Band doing the classic songs of The Grateful Dead. We live in the age of “Pickin’ On,” where every rock song is grist for a bluegrass treatment. But none work as well as the music of the Dead, a band that started in jug band music and bluegrass. The songs written by Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter, such as “Cumberland Blues,” translate perfectly to bluegrass, as The Travelin’ McCoury’s stellar version, taken from one of their Music City Roots performances, shows so well.
And, to celebrate the spontaneous jamband feel of “The Grateful Ball,” here’s a full set by Jeff Austin with The Keels at the 2013 John Hartford Memorial Festival at Bean Blossom, Bill Monroe’s old home base.mmAnd why, you might ask, isn’t the Grateful Ball being held in the Volcano Room? Well, it is New Year’s Eve and Fall Creek Falls allows adult beverages, Cumberland Caverns doesn’t. For those of us who enjoy an adult beverage on New Year’s Eve, we’ll be providing beer and wine and champagne at midnight.
We also have a full schedule of activities throughout the weekend in between concerts, from yoga classes and massage therapists to organized hikes, all meals, snacks and much, much more. Pickers are encouraged to bring instruments for informal jams. We’ve taken care of everything, so all you need to do is show up, be ready for the best darn New Year’s Eve ever, and help us all make some history as we celebrate the future. Happy 2017, everybody!
– Larry Nager
Get your tixs before they’re gone here.