Enthralled by the Women of Della Mae
I had been waiting to see the female bluegrass group Della Mae for quite a while, and was excited to see them on the schedule at Club Passim. They usually play much larger venues, but Passim was an early supporter of theirs so they returned to show the club some love!
Della Mae was formed in Boston about five years ago, is now based in Nashville, and is currently composed of Celia Woodsmith on guitar, Jenni Lyn Gardner on mandolin, Courtney Hartman on banjo and guitar, Kimber Ludiker on fiddle, and Zoe Guigeno on bass. All contribute vocals.
Their instrumentation is classic bluegrass, and that is where I believe their strength lies. Their harmonies are excellent, but their songwriting and instrumentation are what makes them stand apart. Each woman is fabulous on her instrument; watching them made me want to take lessons on one of the instruments.
They have toured for much of this year in support of their most recent release, Della Mae. This show included a number of songs from that album, but also quite a few from their Grammy-nominated This World Oft Can Be, as well as their first album.
Possibly because I sat on the side of the stage closest to Ludiker and Woodsmith, I was especially drawn to Ludiker’s fiddle playing. She is animated and a joy to watch.
They are engaging young women who related well to the audience, taking requests and even playing some of them!
There are not a lot of all-female bluegrass bands performing today, something else that makes Della Mae stand out. If you enjoy traditional bluegrass, I recommend seeing Della Mae.