ABOUT THE SAVANNAH BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
This is the inaugural Savannah Bluegrass Festival. For many years Bluegrass concerts have been among the most popular in Savannah. Bands within this genre who have performed in Savannah include: The Dead South, Fireside Collective, Steep Canyon Rangers, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Sierra Hull, Infamous Stringdusters and this year’s headline act, Yonder Mountain String Band. It only seemed logical to put together an all-day event featuring a legendary act like YMSB, supported by local Savannah bluegrass bands and also giving the opportunity to some up-and-coming regional bands to be a part of this momentous day.
YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING GRASS BIO
Bluegrass music is currently experiencing widespread popularity among mainstream audiences but transforming the vintage sound into music that could gain popular appeal didn’t happen overnight. At 25 years old, Yonder Mountain String Band continues to exist at the forefront of the progressive bluegrass scene as undeniable innovators and pioneers of the modern jamgrass movement. Blending bluegrass with elements of rock, alternative, psychedelic and improvisational music, Yonder Mountain String Band brought their high-energy acoustic sound and light show into rock n’ roll settings with tremendous success, proving it was possible for a bluegrass band to not only exist but excel in a rock world, without drums. The inroads they made created opportunities for like-minded acoustic bands to perform at festivals, rock clubs, theaters and stadiums previously considered off-limits for string bands. Yonder Mountain’s high-energy sound, compelling original music and anything goes attitude cultivated a spirit of collaborative improvisation that continues to fuel today’s progressive bluegrass and jamgrass scenes.
It is a testament to the legacy of Yonder Mountain String Band that their original songs and unique interpretations of covers are regularly performed by next generation bands in the scene.
Yonder Mountain String Band celebrates their quarter century mark with a Grammy Nomination for their 2022 release Get Yourself Outside. Band members Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals), Ben Kaufmann (bass, vocals), Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals) and Nick Piccininni (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, vocals) co-wrote all tracks on the album over zoom sessions when Covid shut down the music touring industry. Yonder Mountain was recently honored with an induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame alongside friends and legends Leftover Salmon, Hot Rize, The String Cheese Incident and The Fox Theater (where they played their very first show as a band in1998). Yonder Mountain was officially inducted during a long-awaited, but meaningful ceremony that took place on stage after their set at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s 50th anniversary this past June.
Drawing from a vast depth of internal talent, Swamptooth plants one foot firmly in the traditions of bluegrass, keeping a uniquely Southern string sound close to their hearts while bravely progressing the genre beyond its boundaries.
Infectious melodies, technical prowess and powerful songwriting merge from the hands of master musicians with decades of songwriting behind them and a modern sound guiding their future.
Coupling a high-energy, relentless bluegrass sound with the steadfastness of professional, experienced troubadours, Swamptooth embodies an indelible appeal that can ignite the passion of nearly any audience who happens across their path.
Swamptooth was forged in early 2020 around a simple desire to keep playing their instruments while waiting out the unknown variables of a changing world. Comprised of longtime picking partners Cory Chambers (mandolin, vocals) and Jay Rudd (guitar, vocals), along with fiddle virtuoso Vito Gutilla (fiddle, vocals) and Katie Rudd (bass), Swamptooth’s lineup bears several decades worth of seasoned musicianship.
REMEDY TREE BIO
Remedy Tree hit the scene at the 2023 IMBA Ramble Showcase as one of the South East’s hottest rising bands, Opening for talent like Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs, Della Mae, the Steeldrivers and more. Remedy Tree, founded by Gabriel Acevedo, in its inception expressed a heavy indie folk mood.
A 2018 Florida State Fiddle Champion, Gabriel was born in Bayamon puerto rico and was raised in florida. His Puerto Rican upbringing provided an outsiders approach to the genre. as time progressed Gabriel leaned in to his deep rooted love for bluegrass music combining it with an appalachian spirit and folk melodies, creating a truly unique Americana experience that provides a fresh perspective into where bluegrass is headed in the future.
Remedy Tree is currently touring venues and festivals all over the Southeast promoting their new album, Love the Journey that features Mark Johnson on banjo. in September 2023 They released the first single, Dont Look Back, out of their upcoming projec. It debuted on Ron Cornett’s On The Road Bluegrass Show on The Bluegrass Jamboree and was featured in Bluegrass Today.
COLBY T. HELMS AND THE VIRGINIA PICKERS BIO
At the bottom of the Southwest Virginia foothills half-a-mile from the nearest neighbor, 21-year-old Colby T. Helms resides in an “underground house” built by his late father on land his family has owned for generations.
Colby first dreamed of making music his life at age 12, when a group of Blue Ridge Mountain old-time and bluegrass players performed songs like The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Standing On The Rock” and the gospel classic “A Beautiful Life” at his father’s funeral in Boones Mill, VA. To make his dream a reality, he taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos.
On the day he turned 16, he bought his first car, a stick-shift Jeep Wrangler, and hit the road to play anywhere people would have him. A veteran performer in the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains region by age 18, Colby wrote the songs that would become his upcoming semi-autobiographical concept album, ‘Tales of Misfortune’, as a senior in high school. The album delves into the beginning of his story – starting off as a dream and ending with the passing and remembrance of his father.
“Higher Ground” is about the choices he has made to realize his dream of becoming a touring musician – and their cost. “Mountain Brandy” brings the listener back to Colby’s home at the bottom of the Blue Ridge Mountains and sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Smoke and Flames” chronicles his experience as a fledgling musician, honing his craft and searching for validation while still in high school. Album closer “Daddy’s Pocket Knife” cuts the deepest. A true story that also serves as a metaphor for Colby’s own artistic journey, it reminds us that some things lost can be found.
Colby T. Helms will release his debut album on Photo Finish Records in January 2024. He is managed by Dolphus Ramseur and booked by Paul Lohr and John Everhart of New Frontier Touring.
SALT FLAT PICKERS BIO
Merging American tradition and innovation in Bluegrass from Savannah’s heart. Discover our blend of classic roots with a modern Low Country flare.