International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year Dailey and Vincent perform in Hamden on April 17.
Bluegrass music is alive and thriving—in Connecticut, of all places! Several well-regarded bluegrass festivals take place in the state annually, and bluegrass bands perform at small clubs and large venues regularly.
Hamden resident Chris Wuerth, founder of GuitartownCT Productions, has been doing his part to keep Connecticut in tune with some of the biggest names in bluegrass in a series of intimate concerts he began in May 2008. “It was a dream of mine to bring classic bluegrass to Connecticut,” says Wuerth. “I started four years ago with one concert at the Lincoln Theatre in New Haven, and it was sold out.” He celebrates his 20th such concert this season. Renovations at the Lincoln Theatre forced the series to move, so concerts are now held at the Unitarian Society Hall in Hamden. “People love the shows here. It’s a very intimate space, and there’s no problem with parking,” he says. The comfortable, wood-paneled room seats 360, and it doesn’t take long for a lively give-and-take between the audience and the musicians to develop in the small space.
Refreshments are also served, and bands mingle with the audience during intermission. “Musicians like to play here,” says Wuerth. “We’ve had some of the very best bands from Nashville, like Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury and Chris Thile.” This season’s lineup proves it: Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper opened things up in March; current International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year Dailey and Vincent (pictured) perform April 17; and The Tony Rice Unit and Sierra Hull and Highway appear in May and June, respectively.
Wuerth promotes shows as a hobby. He’s been a building-restoration contractor for the past 30 years and a bluegrass guitarist himself in the band Ragweed in his spare time. “This is my passion,” he says. “I do it for the fun of it.”
For tickets and more information, call (203) 430-6020 or visit guitartownct.com.GuitarTownCT Productions