Like many of the best moments of IBMA’s week in Raleigh, two of this year’s highlights look to be a pair of informal shows that are unofficial byproducts of the festival itself, featuring some of the Triangle’s top young talent working in roots music. Saturday night’s “Almost Bluegrass” bill at Slim’s features songwriters Tatiana Hargreaves, Kate Rhudy, and Libby Rodenbough performing solo material and collaborating in various configurations—expect plenty of fiddle with some banjo and guitar mixed in.
Hargreaves grew up going to bluegrass jams before eventually finding her way to old-time music. Her previous IBMA gigs with Alice Gerrard and Laurie Lewis—who inspired her to circle back to bluegrass—allowed Hargreaves to explore the Triangle, helping her decide to move to Durham last year and teach bluegrass fiddle at UNC-Chapel Hill. Rodenbough began as a classical violinist, but when her modern string band Mipso made the bluegrass charts with Old Time Reverie, she began digging into the genre, a process the North Carolina native likened to genealogical research. Rhudy was also trained in the Suzuki method but later cut her teeth at fiddler’s conventions in Southwestern Virginia.
None of the three claim strict adherence to bluegrass, though Rodenbough says they all appreciate the social aspect of the music and admits to taking advantage of this fiddle-friendly occasion to play some tunes with her friends.
Rhudy and Rodenbough also perform Friday night at Kings with local supergroup Hard Tuck, which features current and former members of Bowerbirds, American Aquarium, and Look Homeward. With rare public appearances beyond a tribute to the Dixie Chicks at January’s Great Cover Up, the freewheeling crew mostly sticks to covers of the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, and the Grateful Dead. Both shows have a $5 cover—Friday’s begins at 10:30 p.m. while Saturday’s starts at 9 p.m.