Notes from the Bluegrass Underground

by Sam Scott
Staff Writer

On April 18, a handful of enterprising students took underground concerts to the next level. Organized by Sewanee Natural History Society and Mountain Top Musicians, Sewanee, Underground Bluegrass was an atypical concert hosted in Dry Cave. Club Dry Cave is certainly not the average concert setting. Unlike a nightclub, a dance hall, or a discotheque, it is about as far from the heart of bustling downtown as you can get. Its nearest neighbors are a trailer, a farmhouse, and some cows. And while festivals like Bonnaroo might also take advantage of a natural setting, Club Dry Cave is not exactly open air. The music was excellent.

Contributors, including Cameron Crawford (C’14), Becca Nielsen (C’16) Bea Troxel (C’15), Nancy Lilly (C’15), and Bella Lilly (C’17), displayed their ample talents. Despite the name, the concert provided all kinds of music, with classic and indie rock, gospel, and original compositions available for our listening pleasure. After lugging guitars, banjos and ukuleles up the hill and into the cave, these skilled young performers regaled the audience with songs aplenty. Neilson performed a poem inspired by the caves of Sewanee. The concert overall was a democratic affair, as the various acts traded off time, and often instruments as well. The audience was encouraged to join in and request songs, as long as the cords were easy to learn.

There were no stage lights, but fortunately the audience each brought their own spotlights on their caving helmets. Fog machines also proved unnecessary, because the audience’s breath served much the same purpose. Natural seating was plentiful, with rocks and stalagmites. Despite breaking traditional concert conventions, the venue was still an excellent place for an afternoon of rousing entertainment, providing excellent acoustics and a spectacular decor.