- November 22, 2019
The FreshGrass Band Award recognizes and rewards an unsigned, up-and-coming band from the U.S. and beyond who offers a fresh take on the tradition of bluegrass. A preliminary committee narrows the field of submissions to three finalists, who travel to the FreshGrass Festival in N. Adams, Massachusetts to perform in front of a live audience. A panel of jurists - musicians and industry leaders - select the winner based on originality, instrument and vocal skill, and proficiency in the tradition.
The 2019 Band finalists included Meadow Mountain (Denver, CO) The Trailblazers (Wilkesboro, NC), and this year's award winner, AJ Lee & Blue Summit from Santa Cruz, CA.
Watch videos of each captured at this year's FreshGrass Festival by Beehive Productions in collaboration with Folk Alley.
AJ Lee & Blue Summit - Santa Cruz, California
Blue Summit is a genre fluid bluegrass band that first formed in 2016. They are a remarkable group of young musicians who have grown up performing in the California bluegrass community. One of their latest achievements includes a CBA showcase at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) event held in North Carolina. They have been gaining traction with their unique sound, sharing their music all over the west coast.
Meadow Mountain - Denver, Colorado
The musicians in Meadow Mountain are young, but they walk on stage with the confidence of a well-seasoned bluegrass band – and indeed, they are. These five close friends have logged thousands of hours playing together. They have given a TED talk on the history of bluegrass, they have opened for Del McCoury and Sam Bush, and they have even worked as the house band on a cruise ship. In 2017, they won the prestigious Rockygrass band contest, and recently opened the 2018 Rockygrass festival to hundreds of cheering fans. In late 2017, they caught the ears of Infamous Stringduster, Chris Pandolfi, who produced their debut album, recorded at Mighty Fine Productions.
The Trailblazers - Wilkesboro, North Carolina
The Trailblazers are an award-winning band from North Carolina, carrying tradition and pursuing progression. Their sound was created by friendship and love of music, and it continues to evolve as they traverse new trails of music. Their awards include: 2017 Merlefest Band Champions, 2018 International SPBGMA Band Champions, and most recently 2018 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year.