Wednesday, April 17, 8 p.m.
Cost: Not available
Age limit: 21+
As far as locals go, ours is a very bluegrass friendly city, as evidenced by the worldwide fame of homegrown acts such as Nickel Creek and its successful spinoff projects involving Chris Thile and Sara Watkins. And yet, for some reason, many if not most touring headliners tend to be MIA in San Diego, with few venues committing to more that the occasional themed event night. Acoustic bluegrass rockers the Lil Smokies first made the rounds at the Belly Up and Observatory North Park, but their appearance last March at the Casbah was so well attended and reviewed that the venue has invited the band back for an April 17 reprise.
The Montana group’s history dates back to around 2009, but most people first heard of them when they won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Band competition and a 2016 IBMA award for Momentum Band of the Year. Luckily for them and other acoustic auteurs, there’s a thriving festival scene where they’ve become fan favorites at outdoor shindigs like Floyd Fest, Del Fest, String Summit, High Sierra, and FreshGrass. Their newest album, Changing Shades, features the same current lineup expected to man this tour, including Scott Parker (bass), Jake Simpson (fiddle), Matt Rieger (guitar), Matt Cornette (banjo), and Dunnigan (dobro). A rustic wood-filled video was just released online for the track “California.”
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