MCMINNVILLE – Bluegrass Underground has sold out its latest PBS season.
Officials say Season 7, which kicks off in a matter of weeks, is the show’s widest ranging lineup to date – it features bluegrass icons, rising stars of Americana, roots rock masters, country music gamechangers, Nashville gospel royalty, a generation-spanning Memphis soul supergroup, jam band pioneers and even Australia’s Queen of Alt-Country.
Season VII will film March 24-26 in Cumberland Caverns’ Volcano Room, executive producers Todd Mayo and Todd Jarrell announced in January. The Friday, March 24, taping brings together two of the greatest voices of our time – Americana’s Raul Malo fronting the GRAMMY and AMA award-winning Mavericks, and five-time International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Russell Moore with his band, seven-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year IIIrd Tyme Out.
Jam Band favorites The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, featuring the former Black Crowes frontman, and progressive singer/songwriter Conor Oberst, known for Bright Eyes as well as working with folks like My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, round out the evening concert. The music starts at 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 25, the lineup features Australian Americana star Kasey Chambers making her Bluegrass Underground debut. The McCrary Sisters, daughters of the late Fairfield Four leader the Rev. Sam McCrary, and one of the world’s premier gospel quartets in their own right, return to the Volcano Room for their first performance there as headliners (they previously backed gospel-rock powerhouse Mike Farris in his Season I BGU appearance). Memphis singer/songwriter Drew Holcomb and his band The Neighbors, who usually come to Middle Tennessee to sell out the Ryman, will make their Volcano Room debut, along with one of Nashville’s hottest new country roots artists, Parker Milsap.
Sunday, March 26, it’s bona-fide country star Marty Stuart and his band The Fabulous Superlatives, along with Queen of Bluegrass Rhonda Vincent, eight-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, and her multiple IBMA-winning band The Rage. Jam band pioneers Blues Traveler, featuring the blazing harmonica of John Popper, and the Southern Soul all-star band The Bo-Keys, fronted by classic Memphis soul singer Don Bryant, complete the weekend.
Unlike most TV productions, Bluegrass Undergrounds tapings run like concerts, each band playing a full set of music.
Bluegrass Underground is filmed 333 feet beneath the Cumberland Plateau outside McMinnville; the Volcano Room has been home to Bluegrass Underground since the concert series began in 2008 with The SteelDrivers featuring Chris Stapleton.
Bluegrass Underground is presented by PBS member station WCTE and airs throughout the U.S.
“This program is a tremendous asset for WCTE and continues to be a unique addition to PBS’ stable of musical and cultural offerings,” WCTE CEO Becky Magura said. BGU is supported by Nissan North America, The Tennessee Department of Tourism, The city of McMinnville and Warren County, Ascend Federal Credit Union and Tennessee State Parks.
BGU Season VII Filming Schedule
Friday, March 24 – The Mavericks, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Conor Oberst. Showtime is 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 25 – Kasey Chambers, The McCrary Sisters, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Parker Milsap. Showtime is 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 26 – Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Blues Traveler, Don Bryant & The Bo-Keys. Showtime is 2 p.m.