Which New Acts are Must Sees?

Night grass tickets arrived yesterday and I’m now in full out get psyched up for Telluride mode! Each year, I try to come home from the festival with at least one new addition to my ever expanding list of artists to follow. Last year it was Trout Steak Revival.

A big problem for me is that I now know and love most of the established artists we’ve seen in festivals past and won’t want to miss them this year. Too often, I skip those new artists I don’t know much about and end up being sorry I missed something good.

Aside from the answer “Go see everyone!” which, even for a music freak like me, is never possible, I’d love to hear suggestions from those of you who are more plugged into the artists we haven’t seen (Houndmouth, Oh Hello’s, Mandolin Orange, Lil’ Smokies, Pokey, De Temps Antan and Shane Koyczan). Who should I Not Miss?

Thanks all! John

I haven’t seen Houndmouth, Mandolin Orange or Pokey Lafarge before, but many of my music loving buddies in Missoula have told me not to miss any of them.

And, as I’m sure everyone on this forum can guess I’d say, do not miss The Lil Smokies. I believe that they are going to be the next bluegrass band to ascend to Greensky, Dusters and SCR levels. They are absolutely amazing. I’ve probably seen them close to 50 times and they’ve never disappointed me. In fact, every time I’ve seen them in the last year, I’ve left thinking that it was the best Smokies show yet. They just keep getting better. In addition to their main stage show, I imagine they’ll end up at Elk’s Park at some point and they’ll be playing up at Run a Muck at some point. I still need to iron out the details with them on which night.

Mandolin Orange is the one I am most looking forward to seeing for the first time. Actually, first 3 times - with FirstGrass, NightGrass, and Main Stage! They’ve been on heavy rotation for me lately.

I am really excited to see The Lil’ Smokies too. I haven’t had a chance to catch them yet, and have only heard incredible things about them.

Not long now, and we’ll be there!!

Got my sights set on Pokey. Never seen them, but I like that style of music. Definitely NOT bluegrass, but looks like a LOT of fun!

Am looking forward to Mandolin Orange and the Oh Hellos. Never seen either of them live. Here’s a song I’d like to hear this year again.

De Temps Antan are fantastic. Quebecois music at its finest. Their sound is completely different from anything you’ve heard before at TBF. Don’t youtube them before, let it be a surprise.

Sadly, Katie Toupin left Houndmouth at the end of March or so. I am not sure what they have planned for Telluride without her. They have subbed in some horns recently, but the more I listen to them it was really her that I thought had the magic. Keeping an open mind, although I think there are many other people who have noticed her absence from the band.

Not good news about Houndmouth. But I think we left the Kruger Brothers out of this conversation. I do not think they have played Telluride before, but I heard they were amazing at Rockygrass last year,


Wow, an Octave Mandolin a mouth harp and a fiddle. So interesting and sounds so good… :medal Fun, new :medal :medal I always can count on you to open my musical world PBG! :cheers

The “new” Houndmouth is featured on Acoustic Café this week.

Also on the show, Darrell Scott, Tim O’Brien, Michael Daves, and Sarah Jarosz performances.

I so agree. Your feet cannot help but start dancing when they play.

I would also add that Balsam Range must be seen live. True bluegrass sound, with great, great vocals.

So much great music, so hard to decide when to be in the moment (without sleep deprivation).

Thanks everyone for your great responses! I’ve read them all as well as gone back to pull up the links people have so graciously posted and done some additional You Tube digging. I must say I like most all of them! For me, I’ve narrowed my Must See list down to Mandolin Orange, Lil’ Smokies and Pokey. I’m determined to catch all of them and will do my Festivarian best to pile on whatever other gravy I can fit in. So, if you see me pull out of Rum Balls before it ends, please understand its only to make sure I catch Mandolin Orange at First Grass!

While I had been predisposed to dismiss Sierra Hull as “just another child prodigy” along the lines of Sarah Jarosz but with a voice like Alison Krauss (not bad pedigree by any means), I recently started listening to her latest album Weighted Mind with a little more intent. There is a lot of strong music there, aided no doubt by producer Bela Fleck. I will be paying particular attention to the bassist, Ethan Jodziewicz. I saw him perform as part of Darol Anger’s band, Mr. Sun, last year. He is one to keep an ear on, as is Sierra.

Here is a recent article highlighting Rolling Stone’s picks from Del Fest, where Sierra drew accolades, along with several other Telluride favorites:


I’m glad you mentioned Sierra! Even though I don’t think of her as a New Act, she definitely has repositioned herself with her fantastic new CD. I predict Sierra will be one of the heroes of the festival with well received Main Stage and Night Grass performances as well as (hopefully) some cool Workshop and Guest appearances over the course of the festival!

A friend turned me on to Sierra Hull a couple of years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. She was great at Rockygrass last year and see is high on my “must see” list at TBF this year both on Sunday and NG.

As always i am blown away by the depth of talent in the US! Had never heard of Sierra Hull until this thread, we have now played a number of her tracks and isnt she awesome? Black River is fantastic! It is such a great line up this year…so excited to see favourites and her new bands like Mandolin Orange and Little Smokies. Not too long now…packing this weekend :wave :wave

I’m going to chalk this up to your accent, but it’s actually The Lil Smokies. No t’s in sight. :cheers

Can’t wait to see them Little Smokeys!!!

Or, as I call them, The Itty Bitty Marijuana Enthusiasts.