The sounds of Appalachian music will be on display tonight (Wednesday) at the Sunset Concert Series in Mountain Village with a double bill featuring Pierce Edens and the Dirty Grass Players. The music kicks off at 6 p.m. in Sunset Plaza at he base of the top of Lift 1.
Edens hails from the mountains of North Carolina, where he absorbed the songwriting, storytelling and musical styling of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. This history takes the form of old time, folk and bluegrass music, as well as spoken words of storytellers from his North Carolina home.
Over the last 10 years, Edens has been drawing on those roots and blending them with the grungy rock ’n’ roll sounds that took him in his teenage years. The result is an often a fiery mixture that is hard to pin down. His music has been classified as everything from “folk-rock” to “psychedelic-grunge.” No Depression writer Bill Kopp said, “He could just as easily and accurately be tagged with the singer/songwriter label; He’s a gritty troubadour who takes what he needs from each style, blending and bending it to suit the needs of his songs.” Edens himself refers to his music as “Appalachicana.”
Edens music is decidedly haunting. There are definitely ghosts up in them hills. Kopp continued, writing, “ Somewhere up there in the hills of western North Carolina a lot of bodies are buried, and Pierce Edens is the man with the locations. There’s no evidence that a cop, D.A. or judge can bring forth, mind you, but he clearly knows something; you can hear it in his twisted, tortured vocal bray … a soulful-yet-serrated instrument that conveys far more than even its owner might intend.”
Through relentless touring, independently producing five albums, one full length concert film, and sharing the stage with musical heroes such as Jim Lauderdale, Todd Snider, Will Kimbrough and Sturgill Simpson, Edens has garnered a dedicated following of fans across the nation.
Edens recently released his fifth independent album, “Stripped Down Gussied Up,” an album he financed through Kickstarter. This album witnesses Edens stripping down the instrumentation to simply the vocals, percussion and guitar, alongside his long-time band mate Kevin Reece, who accompanies him with lead guitar, mandolin and banjo occasionally, for a handful of genre-bending songs. “Stripped Down Gussied Up” delivers Edens’ signature sound — intimate, gritty and raw.
Edens will be preceded by The Dirty Grass Players from Baltimore, who have established themselves as one of the fastest rising bands in the jamgrass scene. Comprised of Josh Ballard on bass, Alex Berman on banjo, Ben Kolakowski on guitar and Ryan Rogers on mandolin, this four-piece is successfully bringing their growing fan base a down, dirty and heated performance. Their ability to seamlessly transition from down-home bluegrass to spirited improvisation makes each performance unique. Throw in some Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd or a dash of Southern rock and you’ll quickly understand what they mean by Dirty Grass.
Their self-titled debut captures this energy, and as the 2017 winner of Charm City Bluegrass & Folk Festival band competition, this is just the beginning. Successfully touring the Mid-Atlantic and festival appearances, this year finds the group expanding along the East Coast and building on the momentum.