Tag Archives: Bluegrass band

VOMA to host bluegrass group Mountain Ride

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Mountain Ride will perform at Venue of Merging Arts, VOMA, on April 7 as part of the venue’s folk and bluegrass series.

Mountain Ride features Eric Avey on guitar and vocals, Scott Matlock on fiddle and vocals, Corey Woodcock on banjo, Chance Hurley on mandolin and Kate Avey on bass and vocals.

Together, these five friends and musicians have toured the country. Their closest stop to Johnstown came last fall when they performed at Windber’s Bluegrass in the Park festival.

Local musician and folk and bluegrass series organizer Micah Mood said he’s excited to welcome Mountain Ride back to the area for their first performance at VOMA.

“My band had the chance to play right before Mountain Ride at last year’s Windber Bluegrass in the Park festival, and they put on a great set,” said Mood, a member of Johnstown’s own Striped Maple Hollow. “They opened with an instrumental Bill Monroe song, ‘Jerusalem Ridge,’ which is a family favorite of ours, and it was a great chance to get to see them for the first time.”

Mood said he’d describe the band’s music as “up-tempo bluegrass with a great blend of traditional and progressive influences.”

“They’ve got a great repertoire of original songs, and they have the classic bluegrass instrumentation — guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bass. I enjoy string bands with all sorts of instrument configurations, but the classic five piece arrangement, including fiddle, is still my favorite,” he said.

Windber’s The Les Hunter Band will open the all-ages, BYOB show.

“The Les Hunter Band played on a bluegrass show last year, and I’m glad to have them back,” Mood said. “This three piece string band leans heavily into the outlaw-and-alt-country realms, and I think their songs and instrumentation will be a great counterpoint complement to Mountain Ride’s driving bluegrass.”

Mood added that this performance marks the second of three VOMA Bluegrass and Folk Series shows this spring.

“I think this spring series is a great showcase of the kind of great bluegrass coming out of Pennsylvania right now,” he said. “Mountain Ride play a ton, so I’m grateful we had the chance to get them in on our calendar for a show. And it’s not just me talking up this show — The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, who just played to a full house at VOMA on March 11, implored the audience to come back out in April to see their friends Mountain Ride put on a great show.”

Tickets for this performance are on sale and can be purchased in advance by visiting www.thevoma.com/tickets/ online. Doors are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m. that evening, with the music scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

“A bluegrass show at VOMA is a great chance to see a good band, oftentimes playing to a single microphone, in a small room with a warm, intimate atmosphere,” Mood said. “Bands tend to be loose and at ease, and it just makes for a great night of music.”

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. For more information, including a list of upcoming events and performances, visit www.thevoma.com.

VOMA to host bluegrass headliner

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Colebrook Road is returning to Venue of Merging Arts, also known as VOMA, April 16 as part of the VOMA Folk Series.

The Harrisburg-based band played at VOMA last summer, on July 18, and event organizer Micah Mood said that both the band and the audience enjoyed that evening of music.

“Colebrook Road gave an incredible performance last year, and everyone there, band included, had a great time that night,” said Mood, who is also a member of Johnstown-based band Striped Maple Hollow. “It’s great when a band connects with the audience at any given show, and gets the opportunity to grow their network of fans and supporters. And it’s a great feeling to bring a great band in to VOMA, and end the night with the audience and the band excited to keep seeing and playing live music.

“They are a dynamic band, full of excellent musicians and singers. Last July was the first time I saw them with their new banjo player, Mark Rast, and he is a great addition to the band. I didn’t realize until afterwards that he is a former winner of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival banjo contest, but after seeing him play, it didn’t surprise me.”

The five-piece band features Jesse Eisenbise on lead vocals and guitar, Wade Yankey on mandolin, Joe McAnulty on fiddle and baritone vocals, Mark Rast on banjo, dobro and bass vocals, and Jeff Campbell on upright bass and tenor vocals.

Since their last performance in Johnstown, Colebrook Road won the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Contest. The contest was hosted by the DC Bluegrass Union in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 20.

“It’s been great to see them land great concert and festival spots, and winning contests like that,” Mood said. “Colebrook Road isn’t one of my favorite PA bluegrass bands, or favorite regional bluegrass bands — they’re my favorite bluegrass band, period, and it’s great to see good things come their way.”

Since the band’s inception in 2009, they have performed across the Mid-Atlantic region and released a self-titled album. Their follow-up to that album is titled “Halfway Between,” and is to be available May 7.

For more information about Colebrook Road, and to sample some of their music or pre-order their new album, visit www.colebrookroad.com.

Striped Maple Hollow will open for Colebrook Road that evening. In addition to Mood, that band includes Jayna Mood on vocals and guitar, Sonya Guiffrey on vocals, and Adam Milkovich on mandolin, guitar and blues harp.

“One of the perks of being a show promoter is that you get the chance to open for some of the great bands that come through,” Mood said. “I try to bring in new bands and put together great pairings with each bill, and sometimes it works out that my own band gets to warm up the room before a stellar band like Colebrook Road.”

The all-ages, BYOB show begins at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance online at www.thevoma.com and can also be purchased at the door that evening.
VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

“I don’t take anything for granted, so I’d say don’t miss Colebrook Road,” Mood said. “They are a band that we may be unable to bring back in the future, as their tour schedule and profile grow.”

Grand Ole’ Ditch returns to Johnstown

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Grand Ole’ Ditch will perform at the Venue of Merging Arts on Oct. 17.

The Cumberland, Maryland-based band uses a variety of instruments to create their sound. Some of these instruments include pigeon-holed boxes composed of wires and wood, a banjo, a dobro, a mandolin, a bass, a fiddle and a freight train guitar.

“It’s not every bluegrass band that features top-notch players on both dobro and fiddle, in addition to guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin,” said event organizer and local musician Micah Mood. “And they also have a percussionist, which can sometimes scare a bluegrass audience . . . but Ditch is truly a bluegrass band, with the percussion adding to their live energy but never detracting from them as a string band. And I haven’t even mentioned their great songwriting and how several of the members sing lead throughout their shows.”

Named after the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal — nicknamed Grand Old Ditch — in western Maryland, the band has performed at a number of festivals and special events. Locally they have performed at Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival in Somerset and Windber’s Bluegrass in the Park.

Their most recent performance at VOMA took place in April, and the show was sold out.

“As a fan, I can’t wait to see them again, and as a promoter, it’s encouraging when an audience appreciates a group as much as they did at the Grand Ole’ Ditch show back in April,” Mood said.

Ligonier’s StringTyme will open for Grand Ole’ Ditch that evening. StringTyme consists of two local musicians, Amy Clarke and Jeff Bell. 

In addition to their singing voices, Clarke’s and Bell’s instrumentation includes autoharp, acoustic guitar, banjo and ukulele. They started playing music together a few years ago.

“StringTyme is a great folk duo from Ligonier, and I think this will be their first appearance in Johnstown,” Mood said. “I think they’ll be a great complement to Grand Ole’ Ditch.”

Doors for this all-ages, BYOB show will open at 6:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are highly recommended, and are available online. Reserved seating tickets are also available for purchase. VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut Street in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

“(This is) a great opportunity to see live, original bands in an intimate, appreciative venue,” Mood said. “You’ll be able to hear every note, and meet the performers after the show.”