What is SeMi Bluegrass? It's a meeting place where live music fans in Southeast Michigan gather to exchange information about the live music scene: show reviews, cool venues, band profiles, product reviews and more.
Articles, news, reviews and band profiles welcome.
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If you're looking for the South East Michigan Bluegrass Music Association (A fine group of Bluegrass fans in South East Michigan) you can find them at http://smbluegrass.org/

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fantastic Festival on Harsen's Island!

Festival:  Harsen's Island Bluegrass Festival

Lots of great SeMiBluegrassfestivals this year...but this one could be my favorite.  Not 100% bluegrass, but did have the copious amounts of "the Three Bs--Beer, BBQ, and Bluegrass."

Concert Promoter Kristin talks to the boys backstage
This year marked the 3rd Harsen's Island Bluegrass Festival put on by Schoolhouse Grille owners Kristin and her husband.  They are blessed with a beautiful field in their back yard and make excellent use of it for the festival.  There was plenty of space to park, lots of sunny grassy areas to set up chairs, and ample seating under the shade tents as well.  The beer tent was well supplied with bottled beer, great wine and awesome microbrews (watch out for the Black IPA--deadly).  There were several very cool art vendors set up, including a local found glass artist who was simply amazing.  The Schoolhouse Grille provides the food...and it's terrific!  Walking onto the grounds to see a couple of bone-in  steamship rounds of beef rotating on spits over charcoal could be one of the sexiest food sightings I've had all summer.  Breakfast at the restaurant the next day was even better.

The Hillrays
Chasin' Steel
The bluegrass was terrific as well.  The Hillrays from Ann Arbor got the crowd going with their swingy, western-influenced take on classic bluegrass. Chasin' Steel drove all the way from Marquette to melt the crowd's faces with their high-energy "bluegrass with a rock-n-roll edge".  This was the first time in a couple years that Chasin' Steel has made trek down to the SeMi area and the fans still love them.  They are looking to entrench themselves in the SeMiBluegrass Scene with an appearance at Bluegrass Night @ the Circus bar in a couple weeks (August 29th).  You won't want to miss that! The hard-driving, made-in-Michigan sounds of Dexter's Lonesome County finished the crowd off and sent them home smiling.  Every time LC plays, they get better.  The mix of  killer instrumentals and great new originals is really coming together to form something special.
George Heritier wowing the crowd.

The Motor City Melodies
Their was definitely a SeMiBluegrass element to the festival as well.  Local cover artist "Jammin' Joe Vance" entertained the crowd with his powerful voice and guitar licks. A group of young ladies called the Motor City Melodies took turns singing lead and harmony to some popular pop and country songs.  Not even remotely bluegrass...but very cool to see some kids learning the music biz by getting up on stage and doing it.  Ann Arbor legend David Mosher and Teresa (sometimes the Pine Warblers) gave us a stunning set of dual-vocal harmony songs.  And George Heritier from Oak Park shared his clever songwriting, cool and entertaining lyrics and hot guitar/harmonica riffs.  He got the best round of applause for the whole festival!  I am a huge fan of acoustic blues and folk music and George is one of the best I have heard.  I would make it a point to go see him ANY time he plays, it will be well worth the effort!


  1. What a shame to find out about the Bluegrass festival the following week........sigh! I would have gone in a minute!

    Who promotes these things?

  2. Couldn't agree more! One of the reasons I started this blog as the weird dichotomy I found in SouthEast Michigan: 1) there's a HUGE, vibrant and very cool bluegrass/acoustic music scene and 2) no one knows about it!

    Hoping this blog grows into a resource where we can all trade information and promote live "SeMiBluegrass"!


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