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.