Lancaster Roots and Blues is said to be a music lover’s paradise, and with more than 70 artists filling the town with warm, welcoming voices, blazing guitars, and thick beats to dance along with…the 3-day festival lived up to it’s heavenly claim.
Thousands made the trip to Lancaster on the fourth weekend in February to enjoy a big ole buffet of ear candy. Fans of blues, rock, Americana, jazz, funk, and even Celtic tunes could find something to dance, sing, or even cry along with at one of the festival’s eight venues.
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer drew a large, enthusiastic crowd. He told the audience this was his second year at Lancaster Roots and Blues, and it was clear the 15-year-old was at home on the stage. His fingers flew all over the guitar–doling out smooth R&B and rolling blues licks. Keep your eye on this kid–so much skill and soul at such a young age is a true sign of great things to come.
The legendary Frank Bey truly brought the “blues” to the weekend’s festivities. His spirited performance of “Cookie Jar” was an absolute gift for those who caught it.
Philadelphia folk-rockers Bailey Run wowed fans with songs like “Railroad Man.” Bailey Run’s acoustic and heartfelt tunes were set on fire by a killer blues guitar.
The Benjamin Vo Band took fans to church in the best way possible on Sunday afternoon. Their show at Tellus 360 brought unreal performances from each member. Vo’s intense blues-rock playing just dares you to look away–taking you on a crazy ride, as you wonder what’s next.
Clarence Spady’s unique funk-inspired songs graced Lancaster three times over the weekend.
Roots rock legend Garland Jeffreys, though a bit past his prime, delivered a solid performance Saturday night.
Ganstagrass is the perfect artist to illustrate the beauty of Lancaster Roots and Blues. You may think a rap and bluegrass mashup sounds like a not-so-great idea. Not in the hands of Ganstagrass. The group brought a fresh twist to the weekend…combining the classic storytelling and warm vocals of country/Americana music, the sharp banjo and fiddle of bluegrass, and skillfully clever flow and rhythm of hip hop.
Fans of country weren’t left out, as Happy Sally’s steel guitar-soaked honky tonk filled Tellus 360. Happy Sally combines moaning, longing tones with bluesy, and classic country.
Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s had the crowd mesmerized. Woods, sporting a classy fedora, provided a huge dose of rockabilly piano, and smooth blues jams. Each word and note had a deep feeling behind it– wrapping you up in the stories of the songs.
There’s already a countdown to next year’s Lancaster Roots and Blues on the festival’s official website. A weekend of heart-pounding grooves, razor-sharp guitars, and mind-blowing talent is in store for 2020. More information about the festival can be found at https://lancasterrootsandblues.com/.