Old Crow Medicine Show added as headliner

Old Crow Medicine Show, a 14-year-old Nashville-based string band with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, has been signed to headline one night of this year’s ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival at Yellow Creek Park.

Gabrielle Gray, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, which sponsors the festival, said the band will headline either June 29 or June 30.

 Vince Gill, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, will headline the festival’s opening night on June 28.

ROMP has also signed The Deadly Gentlemen, a Boston-based band that describes itself as featuring “a lot of three-part harmony singing, group shouting, really dense rhymes and an almost rap-like phrasing.”

Gray said ROMP is the only festival Old Crow Medicine Show has scheduled so far for 2012.

“They’re mostly playing indoor, limited-seating, high-ticket venues,” she said. “That’s a trend. Most of the bigger bands are starting to do that.”

Gray said ROMP was able to sign the band “because I’ve been after them to come for years.”

Theaters can produce more revenue for bands, she said, “but the festival atmosphere is infinitely more exciting for the fans and the bands.”

Old Crow Medicine Show’s sound, which has been variously described as alt-country, old-time, Americana and folk/country, “is in the direction of progressive bluegrass,” Gray said. “They are open to trying anything new and exciting.”

After last year’s ROMP, the museum polled those who had attended on what new bands they would like to see.

Gray said Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers topped the list.

The Deadly Gentlemen, she said, is “one of the most exciting new bands I’ve heard in awhile.”

Members include Greg Liszt, who has a Ph.D. from MIT in molecular biology, but left science to play banjo on tour with Bruce Springsteen; Mike Barnett, who toured with bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds as a fiddle player when he was 15; and Sam Grisman, son of mandolinist David Grisman.

ROMP has been adding more bands on the fringes of bluegrass for the past few years.

Gray said that’s because the music continues to evolve.

She said Bill Monroe, who’s known as the father of bluegrass music, “went to his grave with a different type of music in his head, but he was a captive on his own success. He was afraid his fans wouldn’t like it.”

This, Gray said, “is the most exciting time ever for bluegrass.”

This year’s ROMP lineup also includes Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Greensky Bluegrass, Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, Lonesome River Band, The 23 Sting Band, Bearfoot, Monroeville, The Farewell Drifters, Town Mountain, The Expedition Show, NewTown, NewFound Road, Renegade Stringband, Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players and Grandview Junction.

Tickets are available at rompfest.com or by calling 926-7891.

Early bird specials — $28 for a single-day ticket, $80 for a three-day general pass, $60 for a museum member or college student and $30 for a high school student — are in effect until April 1, Gray said.

From April 2 through June 15, single-day tickets are $30; general three-day passes, $85; college student, $65; museum members, $60; and high school students, $35.

At the gate, single-day tickets will be $35 and three-day tickets, $90.

Children 14 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

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