Man About a Horse
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Man About a Horse

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Bluegrass




"Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival Announces Lineup for 2016"

Over the past four years, we've watched the Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival evolve from bands in a parking lot to an all-day festival in Druid Hill Park. And next year, on April 30, 2016, that evolution continues with a stellar lineup and brand-new festival programs.

Festival organizers announced yesterday that the lineup will feature bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder; one-man jam band Keller Williams; first family of bluegrass The Travelin' McCoury's; Grammy-winning North Carolina band Steep Canyon Rangers; and mandolin player Sierra Hull.

Last year's festival took place on April 25, 2015, which happened to coincide with the night of riots around Camden Yards and the catalyst for uprising around the city in response to the death of Freddie Gray. Organizers say they hope the festival can shed a positive light on the city.

"Going into this year, we knew we needed to deliver an amazing lineup to our fans and the incredible Baltimore music community," says festival co-founder Phil Chorney. "Music has such a power to heal and unite, and we feel that our continued support of the park and community is paramount to showing how amazing Baltimore is."

Of course, another way the festival will highlight the local community next year is by featuring regional acts like Baltimore-based guitarist and singer-songwriter Cris Jacobs, and Pennsylvania bluegrass bands Cabinet, Colebrook Road, and Man About a Horse. Additionally, the winner of a battle-of-the-bands contest will open the festival.

A new addition to the festival is a program they're calling Bluegrass Academy, where performers will give short lessons and discuss their music with fans all for free in a dedicated tent.

"It will be a chance for fans to learn some basics and maybe jam with their favorite artists on the instruments they play," Chorney explains. "So you could learn mandolin techniques from Sierra Hull or banjo from Rob McCoury. Our goal is to get more casual fans playing music while providing them with an amazing experience."

General admission and VIP tickets are currently available and, for each ticket sold, the festival will donate $2 to the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens to support horticulture education programs. In addition, there will be beer provided by Union Craft Brewing and a raffle will take place that benefits Believe in Music, a nonprofit aiming to give inner city students a music education.

"Both Travelin' McCourys and Sierra Hull have former Kentucky Thunder members, so I have a good feeling we will see some amazing jams and collaborations on stage," Chorney says. "And that's really what bluegrass music is all about." - Baltimore Magazine

"Man About a Horse: Breathing new life into a classic art form"

"I’m looking forward to hearing more from the songwriters in this group. What makes them better than “just another bluegrass band” is the clear artistic vision for various songs on the album. There’s an experimental element to each of the tracks on the album, particularly on the second track. It will be interesting to see where they take the songwriting from here – and I’ll definitely be watching for their full length release." - Ear to the Ground

"Inaugural Philadelphia Country Music Festival: a city honky-tonk"

Philadelphia and country music go together better than one might think, and one group in particular is “putting the South back in South Philly.” The Wallace Brothers Band hosts Country Music Nights at Bob & Barbara’s on South Street. They’re expanding that fun into a daylong event, the inaugural Philadelphia Country Music Festival.
The event, sponsored in part by WXPN-FM, takes place Saturday, Aug. 22, and features two stages with more than 25 bands. Some of the groups slated to preform are The Wallace Brothers Band, John Francis, Jet Weston and The Atomic Ranch Hands, Hannah Taylor, Hurricane Hoss, No Good Sister, John Train, The Punkabillys, Hank’s Cadillac, Hezekiah Jones, Sparkle Pony, and The Dill Pickle Old Time Orchestra.
Zach Wallace, of The Wallace Brothers Band, organized the event. After the Country Music Nights gained popularity, “we figured the time is right for a festival,” he said in a telephone interview. “We decided it’ll be a Country Night, all day long.”
He expects to see western shirts, cowboy hats, and lots of boots, like on the country nights.
“The events have an outrageous factor, which is fun,” he said.
And most of the music harkens back to the likes of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn. Some focus on the more recent past, including The Wallace Brothers Band – they do “neo-traditional stuff, 90s stuff,” he said, harkening back to the likes of Alan Jackson and George Strait. There will be country, but also folk, bluegrass, and rockabilly, with plenty of steel guitars and fiddles.
The Wallace Brothers Band describe themselves in their Twitter bio as “psychedelic Jewish Vietnamese rednecks” – the band includes Zach and his twin brother Colby, and their honorary brother, Khoa “Lucky” Pham. The band also features alternating bassists Mike Hlatkey and Paul Wilkinson.
They play what they call psychedelic country music, but they also appreciate and add influences from folk, rock and roll, bluegrass, jazz, R&B, and soul. During their more than seven-year career, they’ve played or shared the stage with David Bromberg, Rusted Root, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Hunter and Tom Constantine of The Grateful Dead. They’ve performed at the Philadelphia Folk Fest and also at Bethlehem’s MusikFest.
Wallace, who grew up in Lafayette Hill, picked up a guitar when he was about 11, playing the music of bands like Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails before heading down the country lane. Music is his life.
“It’s not a decision,” he said. “It’s the same way you wake up or go to sleep – I play music.”

Wallace is looking forward to this first-of-its-kind festival, as is Roy Matthews, who plays guitar and sings lead vocals for Man About a Horse.
Man About a Horse is Matthews, Matt Thomas on bass, Justin Stevenson on mandolin, and Dan Whitener on the banjo. They play bluegrass “Philly-style,” Matthews said in an email interview.
“Our shows are a mix of our original songs and classic songs done bluegrass style that really get the crowd dancing and singing along,” he said.
Bluegrass is just so much fun.
“Even when the songs are about heartbreak and loss, the music just makes you smile, laugh, and tap your toes,” he said. “Pretty soon you want to get up and dance, and you totally forget what you were ever bummed about in the first place.”
And it showcases musicianship.
“You get to see incredible musicians playing real instruments, often unplugged and acoustic,” he said. “There’s no place to hide behind effects or sampled tracks.”
Wallace said the event, for ages 21 and older, will be exciting – it’s a lot of bands in a small venue.

“It’s going to have some elements of a mob scene,” he said. “There will be a ton of great Philly musicians,” he said. “It’s a party. We’re trying to do a real honky-tonk experience.”
Wallace promises a good time and Matthews knows it will be.
“It’s like going to a party with all your friends,” he said, “and some of the best live music around, for free.” - Ticket

"'Alice's Restaurant' serves up tradition, new generations replenish the crowds at Philly Folk Festival"

As soon as you walk onto the Philadelphia Folk Festival grounds, you walk into a different world. Music plays from every direction, people are happy, and everyone greets you and welcomes you back home.

From Aug. 12 through 16, the Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, became home to thousands of people from all walks of life, from groups of friends to generations of families. The Philly Folk Festival is the longest continuously running music festival in North America, and it’s easy to see why.

From the massive sprawling campgrounds to the tree-canopied Dulcimer Grove into the main festival area, there is no chance of being bored. Six stages provide venues for artists from near and far to perform at the festival.

Finding families and camps comprising multiple generations isn’t hard. Kids who come to fest with their parents often come back year after year, eventually bringing their own kids. One such fest kid came back this year to camp with his family and perform on Tank Stage. Johnny Gallagher Jr.'s parents brought him to Philly Folk Fest when he was 8.

“I think the first time I really felt the power of live music and the impulse that it was something I wanted to be involved with started here,” he said.

The event’s top-billed performers brought in large day crowds and wowed everyone around. People filled up the large hill in front of the main stage with chairs and tarps as Arlo Guthrie sang all 18 minutes of his musical monologue, "Alice’s Restaurant," in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

He talked and interacted with the crowd, telling stories of his father, Woody Guthrie, and of his time at Woodstock. It was the perfect way to cap off the first full day of music at the fest.

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"Man About a Horse visits Graffiti Pier for new music videos"

"Philly-style" bluegrass band Man About a Horse is headed to the Philadelphia Folk Festival this month with a slew of other area bands. Ahead of the big weekend, the group casually dropped not one but two new music videos last week, both of which were shot at Graffiti Pier in Port Richmond.

The first video is a cover of Jimmy Martin's classic “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” and the second is a previously unreleased original song called "Grieve, Cry and Moan." Both videos were submitted to the FreshGrass Award contest, where hopefuls playing bluegrass and folk tunes compete for a spot at the FreshGrass Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts, next month.

For a thoroughly Philadelphian band putting a modern edge on bluegrass, the backdrop of Graffiti Pier is the perfect touch. Watch both videos below. - Philly Voice


The EP, Released March 3, 2015 (Independent)



“Breathing new life into a classic art form.” – Ear to the Ground

“Their high energy and harmony is sure to make you want to dance!“ – Sierra Hull, IBMA-nominated recording artist

Philly’s favorite bluegrass band, Man About a Horse brandishes strong ties to the folk music tradition, with a progressive streak that informs their original songwriting. Bridging generational boundaries, Man About a Horse is equally at home picking in concert parking lots and performing on stage at some of the nation’s finest bluegrass festivals.

Get to know Man About a Horse:


Man About a Horse was formed in 2014 when two Philadelphia musicians chanced to discover a shared love of bluegrass over beers at a Northern Liberties watering hole. Matt Thomas (bass) and Roy Matthews (guitar and vocals) had played in several successful bands, but longed for the close harmonies and fast picking of bluegrass music.

The band’s roster now includes some of the Northeast’s best pickers, including banjoist Dan Whitener (also of well-known bluegrass/hip hop band Gangstagrass), Justin Stevenson (whose mandolin playing is a fixture in the New Jersey Pinelands bluegrass scene), and Elizabeth Cary, who has toured internationally behind her virtuoso fiddle playing.

Though new on the scene, Man About a Horse has grown in leaps and bounds, releasing a studio recording in 2015 (“The EP”) that earned national airplay on ‘tastemaker’ radio stations such as WXPN (Philadelphia) and WAMU Bluegrass Country (Washington, DC). The band opened the main stage of the 2015 Philadelphia Folk Festival, and has shared bills with the likes of Shakey Graves, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steve 'N' Seagulls, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and others at renowned venues around the East Coast. Their music has been featured on blogs such as The Key, the Random Tea Sessions, and Ear to the Ground.

Band Members