Once again the pure, reverberating sounds of bluegrass music will resound loud, live, and clear in Hernando County on March 25-27. The EMS Spring Fest will be celebrated at the Sertoma Youth Ranch located at 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. And the headliner of the festival is a Grammy award-winning bluegrass band performing its first live show after an extended break.
SteelDrivers won the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy in 2015 for their album “The Muscle Shoals Recordings,” and has over the years garnered three additional Grammy nominations. Their loyal fanbase, known as “The SteelHeads,” has followed the band through several lineup changes, and a break in live performances necessitated by the occurrence of a global pandemic. And now SteelDrivers are back, set to take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27, for a 90-minute set; one in which they will perform both noted fan favorites and songs from their fifth and newest recording, “Bad for You.”
"We are so thankful and excited to be back," said Tammy Rogers, the band’s fiddle player and harmony vocalist. "We hope that our fans will be just as happy to see us as we are to see them."
The five-piece band was conceived in 2005 and co-founded by Chris Stapleton, and now features Richard Bailey (banjo), Tammy Rogers (fiddle), Mike Fleming (bass), Brent Truitt (mandolin), and 25-year-old vocalist Kelvin Damrell.
"It's incredible to be able to perform again," said Rogers, also a music teacher and songwriter. "We're going to mix it up, with both selections from ‘Bad for You’ and favorites like ‘Long Way Down’ and ‘Drinkin' Dark Whiskey.’"
Rogers also looks forward to catching up with Hernando SteelHeads.
"We go where our fan base is," she said. "We have a strong following down there."
And she hopes this following also will enjoy the band's newest release, “Bad for You.”
"It has a classic sound, gritty and powerful," said Rogers. "At the same time, we address new topics on this one."
Creating and performing comes naturally to Rogers, who inherited her love of bluegrass from her father and played in a family band; even grabbing the chance to perform at her elementary school cafeteria.
Rogers grew up to be a college-level music teacher, a prominent woman in the bluegrass music industry, one who says she always strives to play on an equal footing with the boys, and a musician who flat out loves her job. "It feels fantastic to get out on that stage again," she said. "To play again."
Other acts set to entertain at EMS Spring Fest are “Songs from the Road,”
“Jim Lauderdale,” “Sideline, Nothin Fancy,” “Alex Leach Band,” “Backline,” “Remedy Tree,” “Justin Mason and Blue Night,” and “Born Lonesome.”
Several ticket pricing options are available for EMS Spring Fest, with camping available for extra. Buy tickets or get more information on their website or Facebook page.