Meet The Bands Performing at the 24th Annual Berlin Fiddlers Convention
Four bands, lots of fiddlers and a good ol’ time.
The 24th annual Berlin Fiddlers Convention will be held on Sept. 23-25, a three day event filled with musicians, competitions and prizes. This years acts include Charm City Junction, Audie Baylock, Blind Wind and The Country Grass and Friends.
Charm City Junction
Charm City Junction is a Baltimore-based roots group that ‘puts a new spin on old-timey music.’
The quartet, made up of Patrick McAvinue on fiddle and mandolin, Brad Kolodner on clawhammer banjo, Sean McComiskey on accordion and Alex Lacquement on bass, can’t wait to join in on the fun of this years Berlin Fiddlers Convention.
“It’s a very beautiful thing that the whole community comes together every year,” McAvinue says.
The band started in early 2014 when they decided to get together and play some tunes in McAvinue’s living room.
McAvinue, who was drawn to folk music at age six after watching a friend play with his father, competed at the Berlin Fiddlers Convention as a kid and always enjoyed his experiences. In fact, McAvinue’s first experience in a ‘jam session’ was at this very convention.
McAvinue, along with the three other band members, agree that what makes the Berlin Fiddlers Convention so different from other festivals is the fact it’s held in downtown Berlin and for a couple of days the whole town becomes engrossed with Traditional music.
McAvinue says one of the aspects he’s most looking forward to about the festival is the group’s performance and collaboration with Audie Blaylock. Audie Blaylock performed at the convention in 2012 with his band, Audie Blaylock & Redline, which McAvinue is also a member of.
“He’s very excited to be returning, and I’m excited to have his silky-smooth voice meld with Charm City Junction’s unique instrumentation.”
In addition, the group is also looking forward to seeing all the ‘talented youngsters’ playing their hearts out during the competition.
“For us, it’s a treat to see the newer and younger generations take interest in this beautiful and truly American art form.”
McAvinue says one of his bands goals during this convention is to inspire the young crowds and invite them to take part in the ‘illustrious Traditional music community.’
Frankie Moran and his son Cole Moran, who plays the harmonica, make up the duo Blind Wind. Blind Wind participated in last years music competition at the Berlin Fiddlers Convention and were crowned band winners in the adult section.
As part of the prize for winning last years event, the band gets to open up for the headliners Friday night to kick off this years event. Frankie says he’s been coming to the convention on and off now since the mid-nineties and he has grown to love it.
“It feels more like a friends huge street party than some big event, which it is,” Frankie says.
Frankie grew up in Berlin and seeing his friends and families crowd the streets of a town he loves so much makes the event extremely special. His love for Bluegrass music is equally as significant as his love for his hometown.
“Seeing the Del McCoury band play their instruments huddled around one microphone without any frills or electronics at a festival in Gettysburg years ago along with discovering a group called ‘Old and In the Way’ helped me catch the ‘Bluegrass bug,'” Frankie says.
Frankie says he’s most looking forward to playing on the main stage Friday night with his son, in front of all their friends. In addition to the main stage performance, Frankie says he also enjoys listening to the youths play on Saturday and seeing how they are progressing from year to year, calling them the future of this event.
“I look forward to this event more than anything else all year, it’s great music, great people and friends all hanging out for the love of music,” Frankie says.
Berlin is where ‘Blind Wind’ started, so Frankie says the town is very near and dear to his and his families heart. Frankie uses the fiddlers convention as a time to celebrate and say thank you to everyone who supports live music and to everyone who helps keep Berlin great.
The Country Grass and Friends
Steve Frene started playing guitar, singing and writing bluegrass music with The Country Grass and Friends band in 1990 and has been involved with the Berlin Fiddlers Convention ever since.
Whether he’s competing or promoting, Frene does everything he can to help make the Berlin Fiddlers Convention a success. Most recently, Frene has been in charge of the Sunday Gospel Jam.
Frene grew up in the Washington D.C. area in the 1960’s and 1970’s and started seeing live Bluegrass back then, sparking a lifetime of interest. Although the interest has spanned many conventions, Frene tells us the Berlin Fiddlers Convention is one of the most unique.
“It is unique because it gives people on Delmarva a chance to see national Bluegrass recording artists for free and gives local Bluegrass musicians a chance to showcase their talents and possibly win a share of thousands of dollars in case prizes,” Frene says.
Frene says this event in America’s Coolest Small Town gives the surrounding community a chance to see Bluegrass entertainment, shop and dine and get together with old friends.
“For me, I love to be able to be a part of a group of Berlin folks who bring all this great National, Regional, and local talent right here to our town and also let them experience all the amazing things Berlin has to offer,” Frene says.
As the organizer of the Sunday Gospel Jam, Frene says being on stage with as many as 15 other musicians, all while having the time of their lives, is what makes the event so special.