It's the season for Rural Roots

Gavin Simms
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Music Bluegrass group gears up for annual Old Time Country Jamboree in Bay Roberts

Bluegrass isn't a word many young folks use. It's an old-fashioned style of acoustic music one might consider the polar opposite of what modern pop music has become.

Bluegrass may not be as popular as it once was, but it's certainly not dead.

Rural Roots is a "seasonal" bluegrass group made up of four young fellows from the Jamestown and Lethbridge areas.

Rural Roots is a "seasonal" bluegrass group made up of four young fellows from the Jamestown and Lethbridge areas. - Photo by Gavin Simms/The Packet

Clarenville -

Bluegrass isn't a word many young folks use. It's an old-fashioned style of acoustic music one might consider the polar opposite of what modern pop music has become.

Bluegrass may not be as popular as it once was, but it's certainly not dead.

Rural Roots is a "seasonal" bluegrass group made up of four young fellows from the Jamestown and Lethbridge areas.

They've been getting together to play for the fun of it for about five years.

This summer will mark their third year performing at the Old Time Country Jamboree.

The two-day music festival, starting today and continuing Sunday, is a celebration of all-acoustic, old-time songs. It's also the reason Rural Roots began to play, and the reason they're still at it today.

The guys all have a strong background in traditional music. Brandon Peddle's grandfather just so happens to be Rex Yetman (of Crooked Stovepipe), who many consider one of the fathers of bluegrass music in Canada.

Peddle's grandmother Marie, who serves on the board for the Newfoundland Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Society, initially suggested he put a group together to play at the festival.

The band comes to life this time of year, as they warm up for their spot in the jamboree.

"We don't usually play out around because the dying need for bluegrass around here is pretty non-existent," says bassist Adam Greening.

"I play bluegrass for the fun of it."

Getting together is also a bit of a trick for the group. With members living in St. John's and with work and school schedules clashing it's tough making time.

Tyler Russell and his mandolin just recently joined the band. He's been looking to get a bluegrass group on the go for a while, but could never find anyone with the same interest.

"They've been pretty secretive about it. I didn't even know about the band, and I know all these guys!"

They say it's all about the harmony, and the energy.

"You've got to play off each other a lot. If you can't play well with other people, you'll never play bluegrass," Greening explains.

Slowly but surely they're spreading the sound of old-time music. Their friends know they play and they're all keen to hear it.

"The thing I noticed is every time you see our name it's always followed by ... 'is a young band,'" Peddle laughs.

This year's festival will also showcase the fresh local bluegrass talents of Scalliwag and Albedo.

Rural Roots don't make any real plans. In a year's time they can only guarantee they'll be playing the jamboree again.

This is the fifth year for the festival. The first three were held in Mount Pearl. This year will be it's second time held in Bay Roberts.

"I was not a bluegrass lover when I met my husband," Marie Yetman admits. "But it certainly grows on ya - there's no doubt about that. It was completely new to me, but I've come to love it."

The festival will be at the Ascension Collegiate school auditorium, in Bay Roberts.

Organizations: Old Time Country Jamboree, Newfoundland Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Society, Ascension Collegiate school

Geographic location: Bay Roberts, Jamestown, Lethbridge Canada St. John's Mount Pearl

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