2020 may have delivered more than its fair share of underhanded punches, but the bluegrass community was able to shine through it all. In spite of a difficult year artists kept the music playing.
We wanted to highlight some of the best bluegrass releases this year, so we’ve put together a Spotify playlist; here you’ll find releases from artists who performed at Porch Pride earlier this year, friends who debuted their releases on our blog, and other bluegrassers who’ve put out new music this year. Streaming their music is a great, free way to support hard-working artists who managed to stay creative in the middle of a pandemic!
Despite a really tough year, Bluegrass Pride was able to work with artists and showcase their work—largely due to your contributions—providing them with additional income. We’re really proud of that, and we’re doing just a little bit more by highlighting artists’ experiences in bluegrass and with our organization. We wanted to know what inspires musicians to keep playing and how they came to love the genre in the first place.
Enter Noa Laniakea, a great friend to Bluegrass Pride and talented bass player who performed at this year’s first-ever Porch Pride Festival. Noa features heavily on Fog Holler’s 2018 release “Or Else the Sun,” and we love their distinctive bass style—more on where that developed in a second. We hope you’ll enjoy this deep dive into Noa’s inspirations, aspirations and appreciation for queer and inclusive bluegrass. Who knows, maybe their story will speak to an LGBTQ+ musician or bluegrass lover who has yet to feel welcome in the genre!
Here at BGP, we’d like to feel like we accomplished a lot this year. In spite of a global pandemic, political unrest and so much more, we were still able to work with artists and showcase their work, plus provide them with a few checks to plug the gaps left by an eviscerated music industry.
Yes, this year has been hard, but it’s not been all bad. We’re really proud of the work we’ve done and we hope it’s left even a small impact on you. In that spirit, we’ll be sharing a few stories from our team and artists who were impacted positively by Bluegrass Pride’s work this year.
To kick things off, we chatted with our very own Executive Director Kara Kundert, a young leader in this genre if ever there was one. We hope you’ll be inspired by her words and moved to give, if you can.
We here at Bluegrass Pride have been big fans of the Happy Heartaches since we first heard their version of the traditional old-time song, "Cindy" back in 2018. So you can imagine how excited we were to hear that they released an EP, titled "Over There", at the end of May!
We sat down with the talented Alicia Jardine, who alternately sings, picks mandolin, and strums the banjo for the Happy Heartaches, to learn more about band and get a sneak peak into the creation of the WLW anthem "Annie on My Mind".