Berklee Sends Roots Music Onslaught to Unsuspecting Grey Fox

Rob Hayes
July 7, 2011
Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers
Chasing Blue
Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee's American Roots Music Program
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Berklee College of Music returns to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival—winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association's 2009 Event of the Year Award—July 15, 16, and 17 with a lineup of events that will warm the heart of even the most jaded, crotchety afficionado of the roots music arts. Performances by top student and alumni groups, a seminar on the college's groundbreaking American Roots Music Program, and the presentation of two first-time Berklee summer scholarships will be just some of the Berklee action at Grey Fox this year.

On Friday night at 7:00 pm, Chasing Blue will perform on the Masters Stage. Literally finding themselves together in a bluegrass ensemble class at Berklee in 2008, the band has been growing and morphing and having a great time ever since. A hard-driving style and a progressive take on bluegrass brought the band to last year's Grey Fox, Joe Val, and Podunk festivals and Austin's Threadgill's club, among others.

Saturday at noon, Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee's American Roots Music Program will run the anchor leg of a workshop on the program and all things rootsy at Berklee, including sneak previews of amazing residencies at the college coming this fall.

Expected to join Glaser on the Masters Stage are Joe Walsh of the Gibson Brothers, Berklee's first-ever mandolin principal; members of Chasing Blue and Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers; and possible secret, last-minute, and partially unexpected Berklee alumni guests.

Saturday night at 7:00 pm, again on the Masters Stage, will be Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers. Impossible to categorize, and decidedly happy to be that way, Blue Moose was founded at Berklee in 2006 to do something different. They have succeeded by mashing up Scandinavian old time, bluegrass, and Celtic music, a nyckelharpa, four- and five-string fiddles, and an epic acoustic jazz and bluegrass guitarist. The band has played the Kennedy Center, Falcon Ridge, Club Passim, and Berkeley's Freight and Salvage club, among many others. Their first album is Roasted.

On Sunday at 1:30 pm, on the Main Stage, the college will present, for the first time, two full scholarships to the Mark O'Connor Berklee Summer String Program, for the summer of 2012. Grey Fox has a proud tradition of its own Grey Fox Scholarships—many of them awarded to future and current Berklee students—and the Berklee presentations will be made as part of the traditional Grey Fox scholarship announcements. Expect several Berklee and Grey Fox alumni to be on hand to give the presentation a little kick.