Della Mae kicks grass at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival
Della Mae, a bluegrass band that started in 2009, has been gaining in popularity. Their music is dynamic and no-holds barred. And while early on perhaps they were known in some circles as simply an all-girl band, they really are just a great bluegrass band, and leave it at that! I missed their show at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival this summer, but caught them and their fever at IBMA in September. And all I could say then was wow!
Della Mae performs at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival on Feb. 20, 2011. From left, Avril Smith, Amanda Kowalski, Jenny Lynn Gardner, Celia Woodsmith, Grace Van’t Hof and Kimber Ludiker ~ Photo © Copyright 2011 Stephen Ide
Of all of their band members, I have spoken only with bassist Amanda Kowalski, who is a wonderful photographer whom I’ve seen on stage with various groups over the years. At the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, the band introduced a new lead singer and guitarist, Celia Woodsmith, who will be taking the place of Avril Smith, whose last gig was at Joe Val. Woodsmith came in like a ball of fire. She added powerful lead vocals to a band that already was strong vocally. She’s a wonderful addition.
Now for some of the music. Woodsmith makes her presence known with her powerful vocals, but Grace Van’t Hof’s banjo playing is superb, and Jenny Lynn Gardner’s playing on mandolin is top notch and fiddler Kimber Ludiker is the reigning two-time National Fiddle Champ. Can’t get much better than that.