On the weekend of February 19-21, 2016, Adam and I attended the 9th Annual Oil Country Bluegrass Festival in Oil City, Pennsylvania.
We were there with our friend, Steve Ludwig, who is the lead vocalist/lead guitar in The Casual Hobos bluegrass band (Adam is the lead banjo). Lots of our other Western Pennsylvania bluegrass friends were in attendance as well, so it was an outstanding weekend full of music, fun, and friendship.
The Casual Hobos played the closing set on Friday night, and they electrified the audience with their brilliant banjo licks, passionate guitar solos, and beautiful vocal intensity. Steve was responding to audience requests, and he got the crowd on their feet with his gorgeous (impromptu!) rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” We were later told that it was the only time all night that the audience rose to their feet, so it was definitely a special moment at the festival!
As the lead banjo with The Casual Hobos, Adam’s gorgeous licks, melodic runs, and ringing harmonics knocked the audience’s socks off!
I’m ashamed to report that Adam and I both went to bed early on Friday night because we were feeling a bit under the weather, so we missed the first night’s awesome jam sessions. Fortunately, Steve jammed the night away and had a great time, so at least one of us took advantage of the opportunity.
On Saturday, The Casual Hobos played mid-afternoon, to the audience’s great excitement.
Somehow, this set was even better than their set on Friday night, and they had the whole audience clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and singing along. Adam absolutely slayed every note, and the audience really responded to the band’s passion, emotion, and complete commitment to the music.
I seriously cannot wait to listen to the recordings of this set.
I had a lot of fun in the audience both on Friday and Saturday, and I managed to get some good-quality GoPro videos on Saturday that Adam and I will do a bit of post-production work on before uploading to YouTube and sharing in another blog post.
Saturday night, it was time for the jam sessions! Adam got to play with The Allegheny Drifters, Midnight Rooster, Well Strung, Lonesome Lost & Foggy, and other east coast bluegrass bands. It was so fun! I only managed to get a few pictures quite early in the night before I headed to bed, but from what I heard the next morning, Steve and Adam had a fantastic and inspiring evening!
Oil City is a really cute little town, and the Oil City Days Inn was a fantastic set-up for a winter bluegrass festival and jam-fest. I can’t wait to go again next year!