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The Bluegrass Characters

August 24, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT

The Bluegrass Characters deliver straight-ahead traditional mountain-style Bluegrass with soaring vocals and hard-driving instrumentals, following the recipe laid down by Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, and other pioneers of the genre. Longtime veterans of the New England Bluegrass music scene Phil Zimmerman (mandolin), Andy Bromage (guitar), Rick Brodsky (bass), and Pete Kelly (banjo) form the core of The Bluegrass Characters. Their performances have featured guest appearances by leading Bluegrass musicians like Tony Trischka, Andy Statman, Chris Brashear, Betsy Rome, Sofia Chiarandini, Joe Lemeris, and Korey Brodsky.
The Bluegrass Characters were assembled in 2007 by the legendary Grammy-winning fiddler and Dobroist Stacy Phillips, and led by him until his untimely death in 2018. They continue to champion Stacy’s mission of bringing authentic Bluegrass music to Northern urban audiences.

Grammy-winning dobro and violin player, Stacy Phillips, has led an all-star group of acoustic musicians for much of his life. His Bluegrass Characters play bluegrass the deep, traditional way, adding tunes from the fountain of old time music of the USA. Not many would guess that he wrote books on music! Or that he’d spent decades studying the intricacies of musical genres ranging from Hawaiian to hillbilly, klezmer to gospel, from Ukrainian to Middle Eastern. Additionally, he was considered a master of the Dobro guitar, on top of playing a mean fiddle.

It is with a heavy heart that we announce our old friend has passed away. He’d just finished doing, what else, playing a gig. This was at West Hartford’s Emanuel synagogue Sunday, June 3rd, alongside the Afro-Semitic Experience, a group he and Chevan co-founded with pianist Warren Byrd and other musicians. He was hurrying to a bluegrass gig in Old Lyme with Nick Anderson and Shady Creek when he pulled over his car “and had a massive heart attack.” Rushed to St. Francis, he was put into an induced coma.

Three days later, he passed away in his sleep.

To commemorate and celebrate this musical genius, his Bluegrass Characters (Connecticut’s premier purveyors of American roots music) return to the hippest venue in Middletown! When you hear this group you will understand why bluegrass is a world-wide phenomenon. Phil Zimmerman (Last Fair Deal) and Betsy Rome (Too Blue) share vocal duties and take care of mandolin and guitar, respectively. Pete Kelly (Michael Cleveland band) is on bass and Pepe Lemeris (Grass Routes) holds down the banjo position.

Their performance is in honor of Stacy and all the lives his music has touched. These seasoned players will be rhythmically precise, their tunes hard-driving with bluesy vocals. There will be no costume changes or big production numbers.

Just . . . real . . . music. And bad jokes.







August 24, 2018
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT


The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center
605 Main Street
Middletown, 06457 United States
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