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Fireside Collective & The Trailblazers – Blue Ridge Music Center
August 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
In early 2014, a spark was lit in the mountains of North Carolina. A group of bluegrass musicians steeped in the traditions of American folk music began a journey that would cross musical boundaries and international borders. In the 5 years since their inception, Fireside Collective has evolved from intimate performances in coffeehouses and breweries to performing with the likes of Jerry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Strings. The band has also been featured on some amazing festivals including Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Floydfest, Merlefest, Roosterwalk, Albino Skunk Fest, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Mountain Song Festival, Smoked Country Jam, and more!
The band came together in February of 2014 to perform for an album release concert featuring original music written by Jesse Iaquinto (mandolin/vocals). Jesse had recently crowdfunded an album with hopes of attracting band members for a new project he was calling “Fireside Collective.” Part of this original lineup included Dobro phenom and blues enthusiast Tommy Maher and upright bassist/tenor vocalist Carson White. Carson and Jesse played together in college in a jam band called Beside the Fire. Tommy was a frequent guest of the band and forged a friendship with Jesse built on their mutual love for folk music.
Eventually, they all moved to Asheville and began touring regionally, even making a bold trip to Telluride, CO where they found themselves in the finals of the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in 2015.
Fireside would frequently feature guests in the early days and it wasn’t until fall of 2015 that the band came upon a musician who would transform the project and light some fire under what was already a growing flame. In the pursuit for the perfect guitarist, Jesse called an old buddy who was enrolled in the bluegrass department at East Tennessee State University.
Anyway, Jesse asked his old pal Calder Baker if he knew of any solid pickers (bluegrass musicians) who loved and respected bluegrass, but also had a desire to play outside of the lines. After little deliberation, Calder recommended a fellow ETSU student hailing from the great bluegrass state of Pennsylvania… Mr. Joe Cicero! Needless to say, Joe fit in like a well placed G-run. He was integral in pushing the band to win the 2016 Merlefest band competition.
By the summer of 2017, we had a new album and the band was touring up and down the East Coast and as far west as Colorado, but something was still missing… what could it be?
Ah yes, the steady sound of the 5-string banjo! But where do you find a banjo player who can play driving bluegrass, understands the art of improvisation, and who’s never afraid to get funky? Look no further than Alex Genova! Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Alex had been performing in bluegrass bands for years and even shared a bill with Fireside Collective in 2015 when he was performing with the Blackberry Bushes Stringband. By 2016, Alex had relocated to Johnson City, TN to attend ETSU where he struck up a friendship with Joe. Alex was invited to play with the band and we quickly locked into a nice groove. The banjo really tied together the instruments and helped tighten up the overall sound.
The Trailblazers, are a young, progressive, acoustic band from Wilkesboro, NC. Influenced by Blue Ridge Mountain Bluegrass, Americana, Folk, and Jazz, the group were winners of the 2017 Merlefest Band Contest and the 2018 IBMA Momentum Award for Best Young Bluegrass influenced band. The group has opened up for acclaimed acts such as Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Blue Highway, and The Kruger Brothers. The Trailblazers are: Jonah Horton (mandolin), Daniel Thrailkill (guitar), Will Thrailkill (bass), & Alex Edwards (banjo).
$15 Adult General Admission
Children 12 and Under – Free