We are thrilled and delighted to announce the six semi-finalists of the inaugural FreshGrass Award. There were countless wonderful submissions from all over the country and the FreshGrass Award jury found these six to be especially excellent, thoughtful, and original. On Sunday morning during the festival, each band will perform a short set in front of the jury (and the public!), vying for a $5,000 cash first prize, a $1,000 recording session at Compass Records' studio in Nashville, and a spot onstage at FreshGrass 2014. Be sure to catch their performances this year so that you can say you saw these guys and gals when!

Six Deadly Venoms

NYC sextet Six Deadly Venoms are as adventurous as they are bluegrass-literate; smartly arranged traditionals are seasoned with jazz-inspired melodic explorations. Finalists in the 2009 Telluride competition, they will take the FreshGrass stage with an ever-changing approach to the tradition they palpably admire.

 

The Vickie Vaughn Band

Vickie Vaughn is Nashville to the core, with a tremendous country warble, endless youthful energy, and a band of crisp harmonizers. We're excited for them to make the trip up north to compete with the Yankees.   

 

Cricket Tell the Weather

The music of Brooklyn's Cricket Tell the Weather is full of twists, turns, and surprise influences. One moment will be speedy and swinging, and the next will recall the lilting indie hymns of The Fleet Foxes. This performance will keep the jury on its toes!

 

Molly Tuttle, John Mailander, and Ethan Jodziewicz

Three remarkable Berklee musicians come together in this tight-knit trio. Bassist Ethan Jodziewicz is a classically trained bluegrass convert, songwriter Molly Tuttle is an unusually gifted poet and flat-picker, and fiddler John Mailander has shared the stage with the likes of FreshGrass '13 Darol Anger. In an amazing chemical reaction, they're more than the sum of their parts.

 

The Lonely Heartstring Band

As The Lonely Heartstring Band puts it in their promotional materials, "We like bluegrass music. We like the Beatles." Their name couldn't be more apt, and neither could their sound, incorporating pop songwriting elements into a foundation of technical ability and tasteful solo-swapping. If you like Nickel Creek's Pavement and Carrie Newcomer covers, you'll love The Lonely Heartstring Band. 

 

Chasing Blue

Boston quintet Chasing Blue is well on their way to a rich life of touring and recording, with an LP and EP already under their belt and a performance history from here to Texas and back. Their albums recall the clean production of late 90's Alison Krauss, and their live show has the flair and prestidigitation of The Seldom Scene. They stop by FreshGrass in the midst of a fall swing up and down the east coast!