Photo credit: Serene Green on Facebook
Bluegrass music has its pioneers: Monroe, Scruggs, Flatts, and many more. Fast forward to today, and the bluegrass genre has taken on a whole new light. On Sunday afternoon, young bluegrass pickers Serene Green joined the Jenni Lyn Band on the stage of the historic Godfrey Daniels.
Hailing from The Lehigh Valley, Serene Green have worked hard over the past year to make a mark in the regional music scene. Their first full length album, “To Whom It Pertains,” features ten original songs written by the band. Playing the opening set, which lasted about an hour, the band wasted no time getting into “Doing My Time,” while also treating the Serene Green faithful in attendance to staple “The World’s Most Interesting Man” and “Digging a Hole,” a new song written by McGeehan.
The beauty of this quartet is that they can take traditional bluegrass numbers and give them an upbeat twist. This was present on “Blue Night,” written by The Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Michael Johnson (Guitar), Quentin Fisher (Mandolin), and Shane McGeehan (Upright Bass) belted out the lyrics of the ageless tune at the top of their lungs. Meanwhile, new addition and banjo master Steve Leonard (Banjo Steve) showcased his fine picking skills on a number of tunes, and was a driving force throughout the matinee.
Headlining the performance was female mandolin player and member of Della Mae, Jenni Lyn (Gardner). Hot off her latest release, “Burn Another Candle”, Lyn and her band brought an energetic set to the intimate Southside Bethlehem venue on Sunday. Alongside were some of bluegrass finest pockets, Ryan Cavanaugh (Banjo), Josh Rilko (Upright Bass), and Harry Clark on acoustic guitar. Coming from a number of different groups, the four veteran musicians did not miss a note throughout the performance. All in attendance were amazed at how well the band flowed in and out of solo solos.
The set started off with “Are You OK Alone?” from “Burn Another Candle, on which Jenni’s hard-driving mandolin and stellar vocal range was captivating. Featuring Cavanaugh and Clark, the group paid homage with a perfect upbeat rendition of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues,” where Rilko kept the beat going as he threw in some tasty bass licks.
Highlighting the set were originals songs, “Only Turned You Down,” “Burn Another Candle at Both Ends,” and rip roaring covers of “Shenandoah Valley Breakdown” (Bill Monroe) and “Fork In The Road” (The Infamous Stringdusters). These four fine musicians showed that can mix it up at a drop of a hat and really take bluegrass to another level.
Serene Green and Jenni Lyn Band were a perfect match for this December afternoon in Bethlehem. Both acts proved that bluegrass is alive and well in 2017.
Jenni Lyn Band: