Bluegrass band John Reischman & The Jaybirds perform January 31 at the Harrison Memorial Hall.

The New Year Brings Bluegrass Nouveau to Harrison

John Reischman & the Jaybirds offer a stylish, elegant take on Bluegrass

The Harrison Festival Society’s 26th Season of Performing Arts continues into 2015 with the stylish, elegant bluegrass nouveau of John Reischman and the Jaybirds Saturday, January 31 at 8:00pm in the historic Harrison Memorial Hall.

Like the mandolinist at its helm, the Jaybirds fashion a refreshing take on bluegrass that is at once innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned, yet unselfconsciously new.

“John Reischman is one of the leading bluegrass mandolin players in North America,” says Harrison Festival Society Artistic Director, Andy Hillhouse. “Along with his stunning technique, his approach to bluegrass has always combined musical sophistication and experimentation with a strong respect for tradition.”

While rooted in tradition, a sense of creativity guides the Jaybirds inventive excursions into acoustic roots music.  Their bluegrass harmonies are spot-on and each instrumental break crackles with energy.

“The music of the Jaybirds appeals to both those with hardcore bluegrass sensibilities and those who like to hear a range of sounds and grooves.” says Hillhouse.

Hailing from the variegated ranks of the contemporary West Coast acoustic music scene, each of these ‘birds’ has certainly earned their wings: the list of projects they have contributed to over the years is nothing less than a short list of acoustic power houses, from both Canada and the USA.

“With Reischman being from California, the band has a cross-border membership, however there is a strong local connection with bass player and singer Trisha Gagnon, who is well known in the Fraser Valley for her delicious award- winning organic jam,” says Hillhouse.

Together, this five piece ensemble makes for one of the freshest, most tasteful band-sounds on the folk and bluegrass circuit today. With numerous European and North American tours, five critically acclaimed albums, two Juno nominations and two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations they have a firmly established role as a bluegrass institution.

A genial blend of story-telling and side-show humor provides the backdrop to the Jaybirds’ studied performance of original songs, instrumentals, and newly arranged traditional material. Mix in the fun of watching them skillfully weave around one centre microphone  – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Tickets for John Reischman & the Jaybirds are $22 and can be purchased online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison and Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart on Pioneer Ave.