The bluegrass scene in the Bay Area is one of the most thriving around, and we’re definitely root-ing for Front Country. (Get it? The scene is also full of bluegrass puns.) Their sound puts a fresh, orchestral spin on folk and bluegrass roots, and boy, will those melodies stick in your head and get you dancing.
Below their upcoming Halloween show at Slim’s, we chatted with Jacob Groopman of the band about music competitions, favorite spots to play in the Bay, and more. Plus, they shared a silly cover of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” which you can watch below!
The Bay Bridged: You just put out your debut record, Sake of the Sound. How has the process been self-releasing your first full-length album?
Jacob Groopman: I’ve been a part of a number of self-releases over the years, but this one was definitely the most involved. Releasing a record is always a learning process, because there are so many things that have to happen in the right order at the right time to make an effective release. We did the best we could with Sake of the Sound and we had a really great team that included the publicist, the person doing radio promotion, our booking agent and the person doing tour publicity. Coordinating all these people is challenging but in the end I was very happy with how it all turned out and felt like Sake of the Sound did very well for us. By the way, we have a covers EP coming out next spring and are already planning our next full length release for early 2017!
TBB: I see you won a couple band competitions a few years back! (Telluride & Rockygrass) Can you tell us about that experience?
JG: We’ll never do another competition again! They are so stressful and I’ve never liked the idea that music is a competition. However, winning those competitions really solidified the idea that we should take this band seriously and really helped get people interested in the band on the business end like festivals and booking agents. It felt amazing to know we won the same competition as bands like the Dixie Chicks, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Greensky Bluegrass.
TBB: Since you’re a Bay Area band, what are some of your favorite spots to play in the area?
JG: Well we love Slim’s and the Great American Music Hall for the bigger spots and have been doing our big local shows there since we started the band. However, the home of Bay Area bluegrass is really Amnesia in the Mission. They host a free night of bluegrass every Monday and we had a residency there for a year and a half. It’s packed every week and always gives bands new to the area a chance to get in front of an excited crowd.
TBB: Can we expect any spooky surprises at your ‘Boograss’ Halloween show with One Grass Two Grass and Rusty Springfield?
JG: Oh yes…..we’ve got something, shall I say, very nerdy up our sleeve! It’s going to be a fun night and we’re really excited to be joined by two other great bands!