Owensboro Bluegrass Band extending Hall of Fame’s reach; group performing with major artists in September festival

March 26, 2023 | 12:10 am

Updated March 26, 2023 | 12:22 am

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum employees perform during an announcement by the Bluegrass Initiative Task Force. | Photo by Josh Kelly

When Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director Chris Joslin is asked to fulfill a speaking engagement, he’s adamant about one thing: bringing music with him. His initial reply is always, “can we come and play?” And so there, the Owensboro Bluegrass Band was born. 

Made up of employees at the Hall of Fame, they band has been steadily gaining recognition as musicians and ambassadors of the genre. The band will perform at Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival – a multi-genre music festival featuring some of today’s hottest local and national touring artists – in Franklin, Tennessee, this September.  

Other artists performing include The Lumineers, The Black Crowes, The Head and the Heart, Zach Bryan, Nathaniel Rateliff, and James Bay.

After years of regularly performing at civic group meetings, school programs, and other engagements, the Owensboro Bluegrass Band is excited to transition to a bigger stage. However, the focus will remain the same: expanding the reach of the Hall of Fame and Museum. 

“We call ourselves the Owensboro Bluegrass Band because we saw this as another avenue to promote Owensboro and the museum,” Joslin said. “Reading about bluegrass and seeing artifacts are great, but experiencing it live and upfront is a whole other experience.”

While being a skilled musician is not a job requirement at the Hall of Fame, Joslin said great musicians surround him. 

“The group is constantly changing and evolving, depending on the type of event and who’s available,” he said. “We have some great musicians on hand who can pivot from their primary role to play music at a high level, and they’re always willing to step up.”

The Hall of Fame team attended Pilgrimage last year as an exhibitor, promoting ROMP and the many other entertainment and educational opportunities they offer. After experiencing the American Music Triangle nearby, they knew it was the perfect opportunity to elevate and extend their reach. 

Joslin reached out to the festival organizers and told them the only thing missing from the experience was a great bluegrass band. Enter the Owensboro Bluegrass Band, who will perform on Saturday, September 24.

The triangle experience brings to life the culture of some of the world’s premier music tourism destinations. It’s a dedicated space where attendees can immerse themselves in world-famous music landmarks along the gold record road, such as Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and now, Owensboro. 

“We can make the genre and our initiatives come to life with live music,” Joslin said. “People want a deeper dive with roots music. Consuming it firsthand will go a long way in encouraging them to make the trip to Owensboro in the name of music.”

The band most looks forward to growing the Hall of Fame’s mission by engaging thousands of fans with a more profound experience. Joslin called it music with a mission, performed by a versatile group of musicians.

“It’s not all about entertainment. We want to point people to Owensboro and share the many capabilities of the Hall of Fame and Museum,” he said. “It’s beautiful to have so many great musicians on our staff. This is just one way they go above and beyond to preserve the authenticity of the genre and the region’s cultural history.”

Click here to learn more about the Pilgrimage Festival. For all things Bluegrass Museum and Hall of Fame, click here.

March 26, 2023 | 12:10 am

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