Strings strikes a bluegrass note
Steamboat Springs — When Adrienne Young and Little Sadie played their Sunday afternoon set at the Rockygrass music festival in Lyons, their youthful exuberance and catchy tunes had spectators out of their seats and dancing all the way to the back of the aisles. Even as heavyweights Mark O’Connor, Bryan Sutton and Chris Thile took over the stage, a long line of admirers followed the fresh new faces back to the general store, where the spectators stood ankle-deep in mud waiting for Young to autograph her first solo CD.
Tonight, Young and her band Little Sadie join veteran string wizard John McEuen for a performance at the Strings in the Mountains Music Festival Park. While McEuen has performed and recorded with a virtual who’s who of folk, rock and country musicians since he helped found the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the summer of 1966, Young is making her Steamboat Springs debut with the man she calls “a huge hero.”
Together, they’ll be singing and playing a mix of new songs, old-time traditionals and bluegrass, Young said. With 20 top-20 hits, six Grammy nominations and more than 30 albums under his belt, McEuen’s return to Steamboat is sure to have something familiar for his fans. But Young said she’s planning to slowly acclimatize the crowd to her acclaimed first album, “Plow to the End of the Row,” which she calls “original, contemporary acoustic music firmly rooted in the past.”
Young is an earthy, sweet-spoken vocalist who plays both the guitar and the banjo. Her lyrics are passionate and her heartfelt political messages focus on sustainable living. Each “Plow to the End of the Row” CD comes with a packet of seeds and a message about knowing where your food comes from.
Young said she never skips spending few minutes during every live performance to talk about Food Routes Network, a nonprofit organization that focuses on community-supported agriculture, farmers and the routes that bring food from the fields to the table — a cause that is “more important than anything,” she said.
This is something Young said she would much rather talk about than music.
Members of Young’s band, Little Sadie, hail from both coasts and several states in between. The group, which came together in Nashville, Tenn., about a year ago, is comprised of Tyler Grant on lead guitar, Clayton Campbell on fiddle and mandolin, Amanda Kowalski on the acoustic bass and Steven Sandifer on percussion that ranges from the spoons to a snare.
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