Brattleboro band to play Fresh Grass

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NORTH ADAMS, MASS. >> A band from Brattleboro will be among the performers taking the stage at FreshGrass this year at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

"We don't really know how we got picked. They kind of reached out to us," Derek Sensale said of festival organizers. "I think they pick a few semi-local bands."

Pinedrop is a three-piece string band that will play on a second stage at FreshGrass, between sets of bands with bigger names. On the bill are Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Devil Makes Three, Rosanne Cash, The Infamous Stringdusters, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Aoife O'Donovan, Alison Brown, Lau, Sierra Hull, Ruthie Foster, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Stephane Wrembel, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Mr. Sun, Parsonsfield, Rana Santacruz, Old Salt Union, Zoe & Cloyd, Mile Twelve, and many more.

The festival is happening Sept. 16 to 18. Pinedrop's scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Singing and guitar playing in Pinedrop is handled by Sensale, who writes the songs. Dan Bisson is on upright bass and Charlie Peckar is on fiddle. The trio has been together for about a year. They played their first show in Brattleboro on Sept. 4.

"We have a bunch of stuff on the internet and we kind of made it easy for us to be found," Sensale said. "I always describe us more as folk. Since the instrumentation is a bluegrass variation, we get roped into it."

The band "definitely" does play some bluegrass-style songs, he added.

An eight-song album was recorded by Sensale and Peckar. And Pinedrop released one featuring eight tracks in the spring. Both collections can be heard at pinedrop.bandcamp.com.

Sensale and Peckar met at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. They had played as a duo and moved into an apartment in Brattleboro together two winters ago. Then Bisson found them through craigslist.com, a site hosting free classified ads. Bisson lives in Deerfield, Mass.

Sensale started a rock and roll band in college but then abandoned it to focus on "more singer-songwriter stuff."

"That's where all this folk music blossomed from," he said.

Fresh Grass will be the biggest bluegrass festival his band has been invited to play. Pinedrop has been in similar shows in New Hampshire and Vermont.

The invitation to Fresh Grass was well received by Sensale and his bandmates.

"I remember driving home and getting the message on Facebook," Sensale said, referring to a social media website where the band also has a presence. "I stopped driving and called Charlie (Peckar) to see if he saw it. I'm very excited to see Old Crow Medicine Show. I've never seen them. And I'm looking forward to hopefully getting to meet them. That would be cool."

Sensale also wouldn't mind meeting Skaggs. He's "an old legend," said Sensale.

"It's going to be fun," Sensale added.

Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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