SPRING LAKE — As the calendar marches toward summer, Central Florida's music scene continues to heat up as well.
This weekend's StringBreak Music Festival, which kicks off Thursday at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, brings eclectic acts that run the gamut of Americana music from guitar strumming soloists to amped-up rockers.
Mitch Lind, who launched StringBreak 10 years ago as a sister event to Riverhawk Music Festival, which is in November, said the event has built a solid following. "There's a lot of competition out there this time of year, with festivals pretty much every weekend from March through April," Lind said. "We've worked hard to find our own niche and bring in acts that don't make it to Florida very often."
Lind, who also has a hand in promoting the venue's two bluegrass festivals every year, said the secret to success has been knowing who his audience is and what music they like. "We look for acts that have an appeal to a wide range of ages," he said. "I've always thought that anyone who likes country and classic rock will also accept music such as zydeco, Cajun, folk and blues because those music styles are so similar."
This weekend's festival boasts a lineup of headliners that leans heavily toward folk and contemporary bluegrass, including:
Robin and Linda Williams: The iconic duo has for a number of years been a musical mainstay on the popular A Prairie Home Companion radio broadcast. Their 40-year career has yielded more than two dozen albums, many of which are considered modern-day folk music classics.
The Original Duhks: Formed in 2002, this Canadian string band returns to Sertoma with its blend of gospel, North American folk, Brazilian samba, old-time country string band, zydeco and Irish dance music. Having recently returned to full-time performing after a two-year hiatus, the group is working on its first studio recording in more that five years.
The Greencards: This Austin, Texas, contemporary bluegrass quartet blends a mix of Irish folk, gypsy music, rock, folk and Latin American influences into a distinctive, high-energy sound. The group debuted nationally in 2005 during a 31-city tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, and was nominated three years ago for a Grammy Award. The group is presently in the studio recording its sixth album.
Chatham County Line: A progressive string band from North Carolina that specializes in original music that's bluegrass- and country-inspired, the group has been in existence for about 10 years. It has gravitated somewhat away from the traditional bluegrass festival circuit through its celebrated appearances at such prestigious events as the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Lowlands rock festival in the Netherlands.
The David Mayfield Parade: A Grammy-nominated guitarist and producer with the neo-grass outfit Cadillac Sky, Mayfield is a much sought-after studio sideman who has worked with the Avett Brothers and Dierks Bentley, as well as his sister, Jessica Lea Mayfield. He is on tour in support of new CD Good Man Down.
The festival lineup also the Black Lillies, the Honeycutters, the Ragbirds. the Wholetones, the Sauce Boss, the Habanero Honeys, the New 76ers, Big Cosmo, Laney Jones and Scott and Amanda Anderson.
Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.