Bluegrass heads to Lancaster

American bluegrass band Ragged Union are playing in Lancaster
American bluegrass band Ragged Union are playing in Lancaster

If you are looking for something different than the usual fare offered in the region why not head out to Lancaster’s Priory Hall next Friday to catch some authentic bluegrass music from American band Ragged Union.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Ragged Union features 2016 Walnut Valley National Mandolin Champion, Jordan Ramsey, and has been touring worldwide since the winter of 2014.

Their sound is built around the singing and songwriting duo of husband-and-wife, Geoff and Christina Union, and comes to life in the electrifying hands of some of Colorado’s (and the America’s) finest bluegrass musicians, including, along with Ramsey, former Spring Creek/Blue Canyon Boys banjo wizard, Chris Elliott, and Rocky Grass Academy veteran Justin Hoffenberg on the fiddle, who along with the Unions form a dynamic and cohesive unit that puts on memorable and exciting shows for dancers, listeners, traditionalists and progressives alike. Also included in the line-up is Michael Sivcovich on upright bass. He performed in both bluegrass and jam bands on electric and upright in St Louis. His powerful forward drive fits perfectly with Ragged Union’s barn-burner style, and his experience with both bluegrass and non-grass music leaves the door open for added dimensions in the future.

Like many bands these days, there is something borrowed and something new about Ragged Union’s approach to bluegrass music. There are recognizable melodic and (country) lyric themes alongside non-traditional ones; breakneck grassy duet numbers, and slower ‘country-funk’ tunes; traditional arrangements alongside composed ideas and the occasional ‘jam’ section. Throughout all of it, the bluegrass quality of the sound shines through with world-class instrumentalists deeply versed in the genre, a powerful rhythmic drive, and close-harmony singing.

The band released their debut CD, Hard Row to Hoe, in 2015 and the follow-up Time Captain is set for release on October 30.

Catch them at Priory Hall on China Street, Lancaster on Friday, September 1, from 8.30pm. Tickets are £10 on the door.