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Top Local Bluegrass Bands In Houston

September 19, 2013 7:00 AM

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(Photo by Aaron J.H. Walker/Getty Images)

When the mood strikes for bluegrass music, Houston residents can make plans to see several well-established bands that have a knack for pulsating instrumentation. Whether it’s playing the banjo, guitar, mandolin or something else, members of these three bands have been performing entertaining songs for years, and in some cases decades. Another key element in bluegrass is vocals, and that’s where these groups really shine. See for yourself by catching these bands perform bluegrass favorites as well as some of their original songs.

The Lonestar Bluegrass Band
Houston, TX
(281) 491-1680
www.lonestarbluegrassband.com

A three-time Houston Press Music Awards winner for best bluegrass band, The Lonestar Bluegrass Band continues to go strong 31 years after it began. Led by banjo player Chris Hirsch, the group has been a staple in the Houston bluegrass scene since 1982. Using the banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and string bass for a traditional bluegrass sound, the band plays Hirsch’s original songs and a wide variety of covers, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke“ and Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By.” Joining Hirsch on stage are bluegrass veterans Chris Bagley, George Hanson and Matt Morris.

The Saltgrass Band
Lake Jackson, TX
(979) 265-4757
www.thesaltgrassband.com

Another band that has been performing lively shows in the area for three decades is The Saltgrass Band. With seven CDs and tours around Texas and neighboring states to its credit, the group enjoys playing a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass music, with an occasional gospel selection. Banjoist Jimmy Fischer has drawn plenty of compliments for his picking. One fan said when Fischer puts his banjo in the case after a show, his banjo is breathing hard. Vocalist and guitar player John Brockett is well known for his vocal range. Timmy Fischer plays a mean mandolin while Jim Lowery expertly handles the bass. Original band member Don Eggers, who played the Grand Ole Opry in 1981, is in charge of the dobra, a resonator guitar. Based in Lake Jackson, the band plays at some of the Bay Area Bluegrass Association events in League City, as well as other shows nearby.

Related: Best Local Country Bands In Houston

Allen’s Landing Band
Houston, TX
(832) 409-4131
www.allenslandingband.com

This talented bluegrass and country band gives a nod to history by taking its name from birthplace of the city of Houston. Allen’s Landing is at the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou, where the University of Houston-Downtown sits today. The band’s style of multi-part harmony from Bobby Nichols, Bettie Anderson and Renna Rauch may remind listeners of yesteryear. Nichols founded the band, and his baritone voice and flat pick guitar playing have drawn rave reviews. Anderson and Rauch also are well-accomplished vocalists. Together they blend into a pleasing harmony that’s worth a trip to see. Allen’s Landing Band’s next performance is from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sept. 27 at Hickory Hollow Restaurant in the Heights section of Houston.

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Jeremy Shapiro is a freelance writer in the Houston area. While his trombone rendition of “Black in Back” isn’t terrible, his 10 years in journalism have left him better equipped to write about music, nightlife and other entertainment outings. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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