The bluegrass started last night in Raleigh, as the 2013 World of Bluegrass festival, conference and awards ceremony takes control of the city for the rest of the week.

Below, catch a few clips of the bands who showcased last night and offered a look into the wide variety of offerings at IBMA. It wasn’t strict bluegrass: Some acts had a country lean, while others grappled with Cajun influences and folk ballad styles.

The action continues tonight, so keep an eye here for more reviews and videos. And check our comprehensive festival guide for a handbook to the rest of your week. For more videos of last night, head over to YouTube.

Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys, “Foolish Game of Love”

Probably the most impressive act of the evening. With solid instrumentation all around, the soft-signing Bradford Lee Folk delivered a wonderful set of all original tunes. Despite his asking $20 for his limited-release CD, which came with stickers and a comb, Bradford and his bluegrass playboys stood just a hair above the solid lineup at the Pour House.

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Todd Grebe and Cold Country, “Let Me Fall”

Not being too familiar with this group ahead of time, I was certain to stick around after I saw notable bluegrass bassist Mike Bub step on stage with them. The group was a little loose at times, but they held it together to provide a great showcase of their material

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Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, “If It Ain’t Cajun, I Ain’t Gettin’ Up”

This group provided a fun set for a packed Tir Na Nog. Every seat was filled as the group ran through their original songs, each concerning lead singer Jim Gaudet’s humors, likes and dislikes. The group even got this older crowd up and singing along to Cajun-influenced, fiddle-driven melodies.

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Phoebe Hunt, “Take Me Home”

Leaning more to the Americana and folk side of the spectrum, Phoebe Hunt started off the evening solo, showcasing her notoriously strong fiddle work. She then shifted to solo guitar and showed why she was selected to participate in the festival. Having one of the strongest and most beautiful voices in town, she ran through a number of mournful ballads . Hunt has not visited Raleigh for a number of years—essentially, since the breakup of her former group the Belleville Outfit. We’re happy she is back in town with her solo material.

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