Traditional bluegrass celebrates 15 years at festival 

The Lonesome Town Painters And Honkeytonk Dilettantes at the Brackendale Art Gallery

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Plucky guys The Lonesome Town Painters spruce up the Brackendale Art Gallery.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Plucky guys The Lonesome Town Painters spruce up the Brackendale Art Gallery.

The Lonesome Town Painters got its name from a play on "painting the town red."

People who paint the town red are not lonesome town painters; they're the partiers.

You might see where this is going.

"One of the first songs we learned was 'Paint the Town' by The Stanley Brothers, about the recurring theme in traditional music of partying your ass off — a nice way to say you're going to get drunk, get laid, and all that stuff," says vocalist and guitarist Angelo Eidse.

"So we came up with this idea of town painters who are unsuccessful and end up lonesome. Our banjo player wrote a song that explains it."

The Vancouver band is headlining the 15th annual Brackendale Bluegrass Festival at the Brackendale Art Gallery (BAG) on Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. The event is an evening concert, preceded earlier in the day by an open music jam from 3 to 5 p.m.

Also performing at the festival is The Honkytonk Dilettantes.

This is The Lonesome Town Painters' first time at BAG. Together since 2014, they are known as traditional bluegrass performers.

The four band members — Eidse, plus banjo player Patrick Bartel, mandolin player Jeremy Freeman and bassist Fred Beach — met at a jam session in Vancouver.

Eidse says there is growing interest in the bluegrass genre.

"I feel like we're on the crest of a wave. Most of the audience has always been 25 years older than me; we try to connect with younger audiences," he says.

"We're beginning to see that, particularly at pubs and clubs and micro-breweries. The latter are small and they want to host live music, and generally acoustic music."

At the BAG, the band will perform classics and original music taken from its first album The Lonesome Town Painters.

Squamish musician Cam Salay organized the festival with BAG owner Thor Froslev. Salay says the festival is a success because it tries to be inclusive.

"It tries to include everyone — performers, audience and beginning musicians. The open jam we have in the afternoon before the show is a great icebreaker and a chance for the audience to meet the performers and get tips on how to play acoustic music in a band," Salay explains.

All skill levels are welcome at the jam and the audience can then stay and watch the sound check to see how the production is done.

"Add a dance floor and some great roots music and it's a recipe for a great time," he adds.

"(This year's) lineup is exciting because the two bands are friends and have been trying to set up a double bill for over a year now. When I calleed the Lonesome Town Painters and suggested they share the stage with the Honky Tonk Dilettantes, they were all over the idea."

Tickets for the bluegrass festival are $20 at the BAG and XOCO in Squamish.

Admission to the jam is $5. For information on taking part, call 604-935-9434.

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