The award-winning Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen will return to the Carroll Arts Center stage Saturday, Feb. 10. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and is sponsored by Common Ground on the Hill.
“I think this is a band that expands the boundaries of bluegrass,” said Walt Michael, Common Ground on the Hill’s executive director. “They play very contemporary music. It’s really high energy and they are consummate instrumentalists. They’re at the very top of their game.”
Already the 2016 and 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Instrumental Group of the Year, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen garnered a repeat nomination in that category for 2017. Cold Spell, the band’s acclaimed second release for Compass Records, entered Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart at No. 3 and was nominated for a 2015 Best Bluegrass Album Grammy. These honors follow a string of successes: in 2013, the band earned five IBMA awards, with wins for Mike Munford (Banjo Player of the Year) and guitarist Chris Luquette (Momentum Award—Instrumentalist of the Year), and multiple awards from the Washington Area Music Awards.
Maria Wong, Common Ground on the Hill’s director of promotions, said the group is “always fun and always fills the house.”
“They leave people feeling really good about music, about the world and about interacting with other people,” Wong said. “When you’re at a show, they really build camaraderie in the audience and we need a lot more of that in the world.”
Solivan grew up in a musical family near Modesto, California. His grandmother on his father’s side played mandolin and fiddle, and his father plays the banjo, guitar, bass, and mandolin. His mother’s side of the family included classical violin and cello players.
“My dad told me to learn to play all kinds of styles of music so that I would never go hungry,” Solivan said in a telephone interview.
At age 18, Solivan moved to Alaska where he sat first chair violin in the University of Alaska’s Symphony Orchestra and played mandolin in his friend Ginger Boatwright's band. In 2002, he moved to Nashville and recorded his first solo album I Am a Rambler. In 2003, Solivan joined the U.S. Navy, then auditioned for and was accepted to be a member of the service band Country Current. He played electric guitar in their country band and mandolin and fiddle in their bluegrass band for six years.
After the Navy, Solivan decided to form his own band, Dirty Kitchen, with banjoist Mike Munford, guitarist Chris Luquette, and bassist Jeremy Middleton. The band name is a reference to the gourmet meals Solivan prepares for friends and family.
Solivan said the band started recording a new record before the holiday and plans to try the new material out at the Carroll Arts Center.
“It should be an exciting time,” Solivan said. “We’re a high-energy group and everyone is a world-class player. I think we have something for everybody at our show.”
Solivan described the band’s music as honest and real.
“The thing about acoustic music is that you have wood, wire and your voice and nothing to hide behind,” Solivan said. “I am what I am and that’s what you get. I like to have fun and I feel like our music is fun, lively, intense and organic. It’s just real.”
Solivan said some of the band’s most requested songs are “July You’re a Woman,” “The Letter” and as of late “Pretty Woman”.
“They’re all covers that we totally revamped for our own sound,” Solivan said. “We don’t try to sound like anyone except for ourselves.”