“The Dirty Grass Players: Arguably the surprise breakthrough performance of the weekend belonged to Baltimore-based jamgrass upstarts The Dirty Grass Players. Fueled by the dexterous fret-work of guitarist Ben Kolakowski, along with members Connor Murray, Alex Berman and Ryan Rogers, this quartet lived up to their name, delivering a blistering set of psychedelia-fueled newgrass that focused mostly on original material from their 2017 eponymous debut album and upcoming studio LP (which just so happens to be produced by Travelin’ McCoury’s guitarist Cody Kilby and features a cameo from renowned McCourys fiddle player Jason Carter), along with a small handful of choice covers, including a raucous medley consisting of Lorde’s “Royals” and Johnny Paycheck’s “I’m the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)” that helped close their set on a high note. Perhaps most impressive about this performance is the fact that the Dirty Grass Players managed to fill the intimate music hall to standing-room-only capacity, a nearly unprecedented feat for a band making their DelFest debut with a pre-noon timeslot. ” - Dave Goodwich
Baltimore-born and bluegrass-bred, The Dirty Grass Players have established themselves as a national touring band with one toe-tappin’ foot in traditional bluegrass while pushing boundaries towards progressive jam-grass. They have the flawless technique of the craft of fast pickin', and combine that with fearless creativity that leaves the audience astounded.
Comprised of Connor Murray on Bass, Alex Berman on Banjo, Ben Kolakowski with the guitar, and Ryan Rogers on mandolin, this four piece is successfully bringing their growing fanbase a down & dirty performance. Their ability to seamlessly transition from down-home bluegrass to spirited improvisation makes each performance unique. Throw in some Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, and Hot Rize, and you’ll quickly understand what they mean by 'dirty grass'.
Their inaugural self-titled album was released around the same time they won the 2017 Charm City Bluegrass & Folk Festival Band Competition. For the next few years, they successfully toured the Mid-Atlantic with festival and headline appearances all over the East Coast and support slots for the likes of the Travelin' McCoury's, Cabinet, and their hometown hero Cris Jacobs. In 2019, amid a busy touring schedule, they released their 2nd studio album, “Beneath the Woodpile”. Put together with alluring melodies, the band presents a sound precisely at the crossroads of traditional and progressive bluegrass.
In 2020, the pandemic crashed their world - as it did most musicians. But the Dirty Grass Players made the most of it, and used the time for writing and recording. Now, with a tour schedule of over 120 dates in 2022, they're getting ready to release their 3rd studio album, produced by Cody Kilby (the Travelin' McCoury's). They're making their way across the county with many festival dates along the way, so catch them where you can and let's get dirty!