Jakobs Ferry Stragglers Come to Abbey Bar With a New Album In the Pipeline

The last time Jakobs Ferry Stragglers put out an album, Gary Antol decided to try a presale as a way to help finance the project. The first order of CDs was sold out before the album was even released. So when Antol and his bandmates decided to do a live recording in front of an intimate crowd of 30-40 people in Pittsburgh’s Church Recording Studio, he decided once again to offer fans a chance to[…]

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Dispatch from Smoked Country Jam: Another fine adventure in the mountains

Our Smoked Country Jam experience was a little different in a number of ways this year. Last year, our first visit to Ron Kodish’s sweet little hootenanny in the hills, we just made a day trip out of it. We decided before we even started our drive home that night that this year’s stay would be longer. Our plan was to go for all three days of the event. Outside factors, like the need to[…]

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Dispatch from NEPA, where mountain music and the Endless Mountains combined for a fine weekend

You know you are headed the right way for good bluegrass music when you pass a sign like we did a few miles from the site of the NEPA Bluegrass Festival. The sign was an advertisement for the local volunteer fire company’s big summer fundraising event. Some fire companies hold a carnival. Not these folks. The sign advertised their upcoming “Rattlesnake Roundup.” You see a sign like that, you know you are in the mountains.[…]

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Dispatch from DelFest, where, for some, dreams came true on Saturday

A lot of folks got up festival early to come out and see The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers and The Plate Scrapers on Saturday morning. Festival early is a term we think we just made up. It is inspired by the phrase “hiker midnight,” which Appalachian Trail hikers will tell you is 9 p.m. That is late at night if you walked 10 miles the day before and plan to do it again the next day.[…]

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New Lineup Helps Make Jakobs Ferry Stragglers’ “Poison River” One of 2018’s Top New Releases

Officially, the Jakobs Ferry Stragglers 2018 release “Poison RIver” is the band’s third album. In a lot of ways, though, it feels like a debut effort. Originally formed in 2014, the Stragglers’ sound has always been built around the vocals of founding members Gary Antol and Libby Eddy. That does not change on “Poison River.” What does change on this release, and for the better, is the makeup of the rest of the band. With[…]

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Special Moments In Abundance at 2018 Celebration of Cornstock

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the account of how Serene Green’s tribute to Anthony Hannigan came about. We have never had this happen before. Matter of fact, we are certain it has not actually happened now. Never have we, in 20+ years of reporting on everything from presidential campaigns to Little League baseball, come home from covering an event and not been able to find our notebook. There have been times[…]

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Lesser Known Acts Make Mountain Ride’s Camp Bluegrass an Eye Opening Experience

We were sitting under the awning of “The Bommer,” hiding from the sun and enjoying the music and Lisa and Zig’s hospitality simultaneously when we met Bob Keel. He introduced himself. Pretty sure he complimented the site. And he made us feel terrible, because first time we meet the guy first thing we have to say is “sorry, got here late and missed your set.” It’s not bullshit. We were not just being polite. We[…]

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Mountain Ride Gets Off Festival Circuit Long Enough To Host Own Camp Bluegrass Event

After three straight weekends on the road playing major festivals, the folks of Mountain Ride get a rare festival season home game Saturday when they host their own festival — the fourth annual edition of Camp Bluegrass. A showcase for the band and their musical friends, the lineup is curated by band leader Eric Avey. “We like to have some sort of connection to the bands we have, or to have shared a bill with[…]

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No gifts, no gimmicks – Jakobs Ferry Stragglers use straight ahead approach to raise money for newest album

Like a lot of bands, the Jakobs Ferry Stragglers could use some help producing a new CD. Like a lot of bands, they used one of those go-fund-music type sites to raise capital for a previous project. Gary Antol has no idea how a lot of other bands feel about those sorts of fundraising campaigns, but he knows how he feels. “I did one of those two years ago for our second studio album. It[…]

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