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A “Jamgrass” Concert in Cedar Rapids… So What Is “Jamgrass”?

Thomas Northcut/Don Bayley/Ekaterina Fribus

This weekend marks the 2nd of our McGrath Music on the River series, as the group Tallgrass takes the Thomas L. Cardella stage.  What’s awesome about these concerts, is you get to bring your kids, plus the setting is awesome (the new McGrath Amphitheater), and you have the chance to experience different styles/flavors of music.  Last time was reggae, and this time is Jamgrass… which is what exactly?    So many bands who play bars, and feature an acoustic guitar, are labeled “Jam Bands”.  Think Dave Matthews Band or O.A.R.  They will usually have longer songs, that will easily turn into even longer versions live, as they’ll just riff and “jam-out” on them.  And Tallgrass does fit that category.  But that’s not the full picture.

There’s also the “Bluegrass” genre, normally filed under country.  Typically it’s twangy, folky music, prominently featuring banjo(s).  And bluegrass fans are very familiar with Bluegrass jams, where anyone and everyone can join in and riff or “jam” along.  Tallgrass fits this too!  However, they are not a bluegrass band, or a jam band, but fall right in the middle.

Did I make up “Jamgrass”?  No.  In fact, there’s a whole website dedicated to just that. There’s also some very notable bands who have fallen in that category, including the Grateful Dead and String Cheese Incident.  Guessing you may have heard of one of those…  Check this article from

So get ready for the Jamgrass sounds of Tallgrass Saturday, and enjoy a new genre of music you might not have been aware of.

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