The Washington Bluegrass Association’s 35th annual Mount St. Helens Bluegrass Festival is set to begin Friday and run through Sunday, and will feature three bands with national reputations along with three highly-regarded Northwest acts, according to the organizers.
The festival takes place at Toledo High School.
Performer Lorraine Jordan & Friends features the 2015 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Entertainer of the Year and Traditional Female Vocalist award-winning Jordan, a North Carolinian also known as the “Lady of Tradition.” She also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Recorded Event of the Year in 2009 with the song “Proud to Be a Daughter.”
The Little Roy & Lizzy Show is led by singer/emcee Little Roy Lewis, a lauded musician playing multiple instruments, primarily banjo. Lizzy Long plays six instruments herself and teamed with Little Roy on the 2011 Dove Bluegrass Song of the Year award winning “When We Fly.”
Phillip Steinmetz & his Sunny Tennesseeans hail from the Volunteer State, led by the great-nephew of the late Grand Ole Opry and Hee Haw star, Grandpa Jones. Steinmetz, who often plays Grandpa’s banjo during shows, focuses on vintage tunes from the 1920s and 1930s.
Portland’s Mountain Honey showcases singer-guitarist Greg Stone and singer-mandolinist Linda Leavitt. A familiar face in their lineup is bassist Dee Johnson, also a member of local favorites Whiskey Deaf. It’s traditional bluegrass built around harmonies and runs by banjoist Mike Stahlman.
The Cascade Mountain Boys are from the Seattle area but their sound is old-school bluegrass, although they also play “folkgrass.” Formed in 2006 by veteran singer-guitarist Mike Faast, who plays in five bands and was inducted into the Northwest chapter of the Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2016.
Spokane-based Kevin Pace & the Early Edition have become one of Eastern Washington’s top bluegrass bands since their 2012 formation. The group specializes in gospel music and is a blend of experienced musicians led by singer-mandolinist Pace plus teens Kaleb Dion on banjo and singer-guitarist Maggie Ruffcorn.
For details, contact WBA president General Cothren at (360) 785-3478 or go online to www.WashingtonBluegrassAssociation.org. Senior rates are available, but only via phone prior to the three-day event.