Bluegrass sets up camp in Council Bluffs


August 28th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Bluegrass bands from around the country will come together to jam, sing and dance this Labor Day weekend.

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The Applegrass Bluegrass festival returns for its third consecutive year Saturday. The festival was created to help keep a quintessential American sound alive: the old-timey rhythm and rhyme of bluegrass. “It’s danceable; I love bluegrass because it’s very danceable,” said Mindy Hunke, a board member of the Great Plains Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association and an organizer of the festival. “So is old time; that was the point of it,” she said. “It has a great groove, a great beat, it’s just a joy to listen to it.”

Toasted Ponies, a Lincoln bluegrass band. (Courtesy photo)

The lineup for this year’s festival includes 10 bluegrass and old time music bands, some local to the Midwest, some from a few hundred miles south, and each with a unique sound. From the all-woman band from Lawrence, Kansas, MAW to the Lincoln, Nebraska band Toasted Ponies, a quartet that combines old time and contemporary bluegrass sounds. (Click the audio button above to hear samples of the bands’ music) Others in the lineup include Omaha’s Dirty River Ramblers and a former Iowa band that recently uprooted to head to Tennessee, Rural Route Bluegrass Band.

Rural Route Bluegrass Band is formerly from Iowa. The band moved to Tennessee recently, after son, Cory Jeter, enrolled in music school. (Courtesy photo)

“More in state tuition was the excuse we were looking for to sell out and move down here and play music,” said Galen Jeter with a laugh. Jeter plays upright bass in the Rural Route Bluegrass Band with his wife and son. The Jeters followed their son, Cory, to Tennessee after he’d been accepted into the prestigious music program at East Tennessee State University. Jeter said bluegrass has always been part of his family’s life. “Instead of me going to golf courses and my wife going to Tupperware parties, we went to music festivals together,” he said. “To have the same hobby was really an enriching thing.”

“Cory didn’t have any choice,” he laughed. “He grew up at the end of our camper listening to us jam around the fire at festivals. So instead of baseball or football, he picked up the guitar.”

The Applegrass Bluegrass Festival begins Saturday at the Ditmars Orchard in Council Bluffs. The bands will perform Saturday and Sunday night.

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