Q & A with Tim Finch of Good Deale Bluegrass and Eastman String Band

Rams Head blogger Matt Ellis caught up with Tim Finch of Good Deale Bluegrass and the Eastman String Band in advance of his show on Friday.  Here’s a selection from their Q & A session.

1)      How long have you been playing with these two groups and how often do you guys get together to play every year?  Is everyone local?

We’ve been playing Rams Head On Stage since way back when it held around 250 people; I think it’s been over 14 years playing at Rams Head On Stage so far. I started Good Deale [store] in 1999 in Deale, Maryland, and I started the Goodman Deale Bluegrass band the same year.  We used to play this huge bluegrass festival at Herrington Harbor South.  It was a big success, and the band caught on around here.  We played a sold out crowd at Rams Head in Annapolis in 2000 and now we’re playing all over, but Rams Head On Stage is still our favorite.  

2)      When did you start learning to play bluegrass music? 

I played bluegrass for so long and then we started this band after the store opened.  I’d just get guest singers to come in every year and usually it was one of these Seldom Scene singers.  We’ve had Dudley Connell (who’s playing with us this year – he’s the lead singer of Seldom Scene); Phil Rosenthal, formerly the lead singer of Seldom Scene; a few years ago we had John Starling.  He’s big time.  He got a Grammy and he’s played with Emmy Lou Harris and others; and the late Mike Auldridge also played with Good Deale.  We’ve played festivals from Maine to Florida.  I’m a rep for Eastman Guitars and Mandolins and that’s my territory so we’ve been all over. 

3)      Why is bluegrass such an important style of music for you?  How is it different from other genres?  Why is it important to preserve this kind of music?

I grew up listening to rock – Jimi Hendrix.  And then I heard Will the Circle be Unbroken (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album – 1972) and got hooked on banjo, and that was it for me.  I started listening to more banjo, and I even got to play banjo with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which was huge for me.  The music changes; I love traditional bluegrass, but I love modern stuff too, and Americana. I like to hear a drumbeat.  It’s all good and has its own place. 

4)      What will you guys play tomorrow night and what kind of atmosphere can the audience expect?

There will be a lot of hard driving stuff, some sweet singing stuff from Savannah, some three part harmony.  You know, basic bluegrass, plus drums.  We’ll have one of the greatest fiddle players around, Nate Grower, who’s filling in for the legendary Jon Glik.  [Glik] has played with David Grisman and Del McCoury, but he has a hand injury. 

We have John miller on guitar, lead and rhythm; Stefan Custodi, bass and vocals; Savannah Finch on vocals and guitar; and the second band, Good Deale, has Mike Munford on banjo, who won International Bluegrass Association Banjo Player of the Year. 

5)      What other festivals and shows do you participate in around Maryland and do you ever travel the country?  Have you heard of and/or attended DelFest (Hagerstown , Md. Bluegrass Festival put on by Del McCoury)? What do you get the most enjoyment out of musically speaking?

I go to DelFest as an Eastman Guitar and Mandolin rep.  We’ve played several festivals like that.  We played Riverhawk in Florida, the Gettysburg Festival, the Birchmere for the last three New Years [Eve’s] with the Seldom Scene.  Musically a lot of our stuff is private, that’s what pays the bills, but Delfest is a blast and I’ll be there this year.  

I get the most enjoyment out of playing with the Eastman Band.  We do lots of original stuff; an Americana band is really what it is.  I guess I’d say, doing your own music.  That’s what I get the most enjoyment out of.

Don’t miss Good Deale Bluegrass and The Eastman String Band tonight (February 1st) at Rams Head On Stage!



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