For the last seven years, Maryland's Chester River Runoff has been entertaining crowds from Maine to Nashville with their bluegrass sounds.
The band formed in the early 2000s when guitarist Ben Armitage and banjo player Sam Guthridge would meet for jam sessions at Armitage's family farm on the Chester River. The pair recruited Tim Parent on mandolin and Ian Trusheim on bass, and the band began to play at local bars in 2004. The current incarnation of Chester River Runoff includes fiddler Nate Grower and bassist Marc Dykeman.
"We tried to master traditional bluegrass and build on that," said Armitage. "We play bluegrass, but it's very different from bluegrass bands because we play a lot of other material."
Chester River Runoff is influenced heavily by traditional bluegrass bands. Armitage's aunt and uncle played in a band called Cowboy Jazz and inspired him to pick up the guitar.
The band performs at different venues three to four nights a week and has had a variety of experiences on the road, good and bad.
"We played a great show in Baltimore at a punk club. We played between two punk bands," said Armitage. "We played a high energy set, and we mixed in well with the punk bands."
Armitage continued, "We drive a 1987 Chevy van that still runs for reasons I don't know. It's not that glamourous but at the same time it's a lot of fun."
For more info about Chester River Runoff, visit their Facebook page. Be sure to catch them at Grist Mill Park tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.