Grammy-Award nominated bluegrass group to perform at Carroll Arts Center
By JACOB DENOBEL and Times Staff Writer
Jan 31, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Prior to their trip to the Grammy's, where they have been nominated for Best Bluegrass Album, the band Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen are making a stop in Carroll County for a send-off performance.
The band, consisting of Solivan on lead vocals, fiddle and mandolin; Mike Munford on banjo; Danny Booth on bass; and Chris Luquette on guitar, will perform 8 p.m. Saturday at the Carroll Arts Center. The concert was originally scheduled for Feb. 7, the day before the Grammy Awards ceremony. Following the group's nomination, the concert was moved up two weeks to allow the band to attend the awards.
Solivan said he knew it was a possibility the group would be nominated, but he was driving in Washington, D.C., when he found out.
"I had been checking the Twitter feed all day, but nothing was coming over. I was driving home, and I was coming across the 14th Street bridge when my phone starts blowing up," Solivan said. "I pulled over, and I was just being inundated with notifications of people congratulating me."
Walt Michael, director of the Common Ground on the Hill concert series, said the series has had a history of hosting Grammy-Award winners in Carroll County venues.
"They have really catapulted into the upper echelons of bluegrass music, which is a huge thing these days," Michael said. "Mike Munford is a longtime Maryland player, and he finally got his just dues when he was awarded Banjo Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association last year."
Solivan said he comes from a large musical family, with both of his parents establishing a musical tradition. He said his father was one of 10 kids, raised by a former vaudeville performer.
"I never had a time where I didn't know what a mandolin or a banjo was," Solivan said. "When I was 9-years old, I saw a band called New Grass Revival, and they played on those old instruments, but they did these really intricate arrangements with intros and outros and soloing in these pop arrangements. It really opened my mind to seeing what those instruments can do."
Over the years, Solivan has lived throughout the country, making his home in Northern Virginia, California, Tennessee and Hawaii. Despite all of the travel, he said he still considers Alaska, where he moved at 16, his home. While in Alaska, Solivan met Booth, who now plays bass in the outfit.
"Musicians in Alaska became like an instant family when I moved there," Solivan said. "There's a great music scene up there. There's something special about being a musician. There's always a musical denominator anywhere you go. If you have this language of music, you can come together with others."
Solivan said he believes there's currently a revival happening in bluegrass music, with a vibrant bluegrass scene gaining in popularity. Though the genre isn't necessarily at the pop forefront, he said there's an earnestness that is connecting with fans throughout the country.
"All of these other forms of big money music are very corporate. For me, there's not a lot of soul in a lot of it," Solivan said. "The soul has been sucked out of a lot of the music that's out there in the popular world. I can't really relate to something that is covered up with a bunch of looping tracks and synth. Acoustic music, on the other hand, is just wood and wire and people's voices."
Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.