The bands themselves are a mixed bag. For the most part they're not traditional bluegrass groups, but rather young players who use the bluegrass instrumentarium--banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and bass--but whose attitude comes from rock and its Americana offshoot rather than from the quiet country traditions of the South. Other nights, though, you'll hear pure traditional groups like Livingston County's Lonesome County Band and new folkies like the Lansing songwriter Jen Sygit, along with the likes of the Bearded Ladies, the Chicken Chokers, and other products of the area's newly vibrant roots music scene.
No doubt a new musical flavor will soon enough lure away some of the current Bluegrass Night crowd. But others, as they get older, may climb the two blocks to the Ark and hear the bluegrass bands presented there for more contemplative listening. Bluegrass Night is enough to warm the heart of an old 'grasser, and it continues Wednesday nights through November and beyond at the Circus.
[Originally published in November, 2009.]