Sounds Like: Bluegrass musicianship meets jam-band exploration, delivered with a self-confident Philly attitude
For Fans of: Old Crow Medicine Show, the Felice Brothers and the string-based collaborations of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
Why You Should Pay Attention: Formed in 2006 during a mini-explosion of indie bluegrass in Philadelphia and its 'burbs, Mason Porter evolved into a jam-oriented folk-rock-country hybrid, culminating with their latest EP Heart of the Mountains. The record is a loose concept project, tied into the centennial celebration of the U.S. National Park Service, a touchstone for mandolinist-guitarist-vocalist Joe D'Amico. Tim Celfo (upright bass, vocals), Paul Wilkinson (guitar, vocals), Sarah Larsen (violin) and Evan Smoker (drums) round out Mason Porter, who have played with artists as diverse as Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels and jam-guitarist extraordinaire Tom Hamilton.
They Say: "We're able to draw a folk crowd, a jam crowd, a bluegrass crowd and stand out within each of those spaces. We're able to be accepted in multiple communities and that's key these days, as everything becomes more vague. 'Americana' – what does that even mean? It means different things to different people," says D'Amico, who will assemble Mason Porter on September 16th and 17th for the group's second-annual Midnight Mountain Music Show in Pennsylvania's Poconos Mountains. "It started as a chili cook-off in my backyard and now it's turned into our own festival."
Hear for Yourself: "See America" is a rollicking road trip across the country, with a stomping drumbeat and hoedown fiddle. J.H.