Join us for a toe-tapping, maybe even dancing evening with Valley Bluegrass.
The band emerged in 2013 out of group of mainly banjo players that used to jam with the late great Mike Hopley at his house in North East Valley and first played at the Dunedin folk club that year. Inevitably there have been a few line-up changes over the years with banjo player Robbie Stevens now being the only original member of that group.
Robbie discovered bluegrass in 1969 when he saw the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band in Alexandra, immediately purchased his first banjo but couldn’t find enough time until about 10 years ago to try and figure it out. Viola player, Carola Dunbar broke away from the Petersen String Quartet 35 years ago but returned to bluegrass with a vengeance and a double stopping fiddle in late 2013. Guitar players have come and gone but Steve Barkman has always been around to help out, first when Read Hudson went overseas but more recently since 2019. Every bluegrass band needs a really good guitar player to keep the rest of them in line and his enthusiastic style works great. Dave Colelough has been with the band for 5 years now, and although having not played upright bass before, with his music degree and country music background, soon found his way around it and also adds great vocals.
While many of their songs are traditional bluegrass from the 40s and 50s era of Bill Munro and Flatt & Scruggs, some are earlier with the help of John Hartford or later from around the fringes and out of the shadows from the likes of Jerry Garcia, The Kruger Brothers, John Prine and Steve Earle.
Valley Bluegrass are regulars at the Otago Farmers Market, Ombrellos and often at pubs and garden bars throughout Central Otago.