Southern native Bradford Lee Folk works hard and plays hard. By day he’s out on a John Deere tractor, tilling the land for a living as a long-time farmer. By night he’s back home, tearing it up on stage with his Bluegrass Playboys, playing the rough-edged blend of bluegrass tradition and true country grit that’s his stock-in-trade. After years heading up the seminal young bluegrass band Open Road and then running a rural honky-tonk in Colorado, Bradford Folk came back to Nashville determined to make his own music his own way. On his new album Somewhere Far Away, with burning fiddles and hard-picked banjo behind him, his music flows out of the Bluegrass and Americana bedrock of Music City, but bubbles with the intensity of modern life. Songs reference East Nashville street violence in one breath and soul-searching isolation in the next.
These are the kind of songs whose thoughtful, literate lyrics pull you into the story. Plus there’s an instant charisma to Bradford Lee Folk’s voice, something there that makes you sit up and listen. At the Pickathon Festival last year, Folk got two standing ovations from a simple interview! Now he’s channeling that intensity into granite-hard bluegrass roots, beholden to no tradition but the long-held American tradition of making music with deep knowledge of its own roots and great hope for a fresh future.
Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys perform in benefit for WSLR Community Radio on Wednesday, July 15th at 7:30pm at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of show. Advance tickets are available at www.wslr.org.