2018 was a big year for newgrass up-and-comers, Steve Martin-approved Man About a Horse: they were nominated for an IBMA Momentum Award and took home first prize at last year’s tough-to-call FreshGrass Band Award competition, edging out a field of exceptional finalists and winning a spot on the mainstage this year. Supporting great emerging artists like this band is what FreshGrass is all about, and we’re thrilled to have them back!

“I do not make predictions, but you will totally dig Man About a Horse.”
—Steve Martin, Unreal Bluegrass

“There are hundreds (thousands?) of bluegrass band competitions in the world. Since Man About a Horse has done a bunch of them, I can tell you that FreshGrass does it right. For starters, FreshGrass gives all finalists a performance grant to appear at the festival.” – No Depression


Man About a Horse plays traditional bluegrass instruments, but not always traditional bluegrass. The Philadelphia-based group infuses their sound with rock and pop references, funk grooves, and blues roots. They won the 2018 FreshGrass Band Award and were also nominated for an IBMA Band Momentum Award in 2018.

Man About a Horse’s first full-length album debuted at #11 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart in 2017, earning praise from Bluegrass Unlimited, British Bluegrass News, and others. The band notched its first position on the Bluegrass Today radio chart in 2018. They’ve performed at festivals and in venues around the U.S., sharing the stage with Old Crow Medicine Show, Cabinet, Danny Barnes, Hot Buttered Rum, Wood & Wire, Donna the Buffalo, and many more.

A chance meeting and discovery of a shared love of bluegrass by co-founders Matt Thomas (bass) and Matt “Roy” Royles (guitar and vocals) led to the formation of the band in 2014. In addition to Thomas and Royles, Man About a Horse is: Dan Whitener (banjo), Matthew Hiller (mandolin), and Eric Lee (fiddle).


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