Bluegrass you can’t shake: The Sweet Grass Girls at Family Weekend

This past weekend Charleston played host to over 420 families for the Fall 2013 Parent’s Weekend. Participants enjoyed a wide range of activities, but none as exhilarating as Sunday morning’s Bluegrass and Brunch. Brunch is not a gathering one usually associates with exhilaration, but not every brunch is serenaded by the Sweet Grass Girls.

As Charlestonians, we have a variety of choices when it comes to the live music that can fill our ears. Few choices will fulfill a night more than a trip to see the SweetGrass Girls. Good bands are few and far between, but a night with the Girls will whisk you away to a far away land of wonder and awe. The group is a constant around the bars and stages of Charleston, and you’ll know them when you see them – they can actually pull people off the streets.

The journey starts with a climb up a mountain of delight. Bass notes sprung by  Jenny Wellington establish a cadence that enthrall audiences. She captivates the masses and carries them to spectacular peaks. Melvin Cumbie lifts you from the top and with his banjo drills into your mind. Like a jackhammer in your sinuses his musicianship disorientates listeners, spins them and compels them to lose control. Susan Riddle, screeches on her fiddle and plucks on your soul strings. Her screaming instrument serves as the heat that elevates the eternal essence within us all. Finally, there is Laura Macon. It is rare to discover a vocal performance with her true power and clarity. Her voice is of the caliber with the capacity to stop hearts. One show will have attendants clutching at their chests begging for sanctuary from the auditory onslaught. Goosebumps should be expected from the tingle in your spine, but,  do not be alarmed – it’s only great music.

Together the group strings together an ensemble as clear and clean as moonshine whiskey; with every bit of the potency. Audiences will be spitting out blood and picking up teeth after the punch delivered by the SweetGrass Girls. In all of Charleston, there cannot be found a collaboration that can pack a dance floor and lighten our mood all while impacting our souls. The SweetGrass Girls deliver a traditional sound with a modern energy. They design a situation impossible not to enjoy, and hearing their groove once just isn’t enough. Their music starts an itch in your knee that can only be scratched by a shuck and a stomp. SweetGrass Girls infect their audience with an illness they can’t shake. Symptoms include bobbing head, restless legs and convulsions that won’t stop. Go see the SweetGrass girls and get sick. You won’t be sorry, and you will come back for even more.

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