Fiddlers Crossing is going blue on Friday, November 7, at 7 pm, when Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band comes to town. This hot young Southern California group has been garnishing awards and accolades over the last five years for their fresh approach to the popular acoustic music genre.
The band took top honors in the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle contest in 2009, as well as in the California Bluegrass Association Showdown in 2012. Rocky Neck is in demand for celebrity weddings, and they have performed on TV as well as in some of the premier bluegrass and country venues in the West, including Indio’s Stagecoach Festival. Their first appearance in Kern County was in 2012, when they joined Bakersfield’s 48-hour Bluegrass Jam.
With their own take on bluegrass, comprised of fresh arrangements of traditional tunes, such as “The Girl I left behind me,” as well as more contemporary folk songs such as Neil Young’s “Comes a Time,” they have been receiving regular airplay on radio stations across the country.
Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band is comprised of fiddler Lydia Veilleux, guitar and dobro player Craig Ferguson and mandolinist Devitt Freeley. For this concert, bassist Brian Netzley will join them. Although the three regular members all attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Veilleux first met Ferguson and Freeley at a Make a Wish benefit.
Freeley, originally from Illinois, and Ferguson, a Portland, Oregon, native, had played together in several bands. Freeley played rock, blues, jazz and classical as well as bluegrass. Ferguson has more of a jazz background but got into bluegrass at Berklee. Veilleux, a classically trained violinist from Maine, brings her background in New England and Cape Breton Celtic styles to her bluegrass fiddling.
In forming Rocky Neck, says Veilleux, “We searched our common repertoire for traditional tunes that still feel relevant today and tried to build fresh arrangements on these timeless songs. By juxtaposing old traditional songs like ‘Shady Grove’ with bluegrass arrangements of more modern songs, we hope to respect traditional bluegrass while extending a hand to people who aren’t that familiar with bluegrass music.”
Ferguson says, “I’d say we’re primarily a bluegrass band, but these days there are so many hats you can wear under that title.”
And Freeley adds, “By arranging songs that are not part of the standard bluegrass repertoire, we hope to reach out to people who might not know that they’re bluegrass fans.”
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 East F Street at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased online at fiddlerscrossing.org, or at Mountain Music, Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, or Lucky’s Barbershop. To reserve tickets or pay by phone, call 661-823-9994. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30p.m.
Fiddlers Crossing is on facebook, and we welcome new friends. More information on Rocky Neck Bluegrass band can be found at rockyneckbluegrass.com and lydiaveilleux.com.