By Gina Malone
Asheville’s progressive bluegrass quintet, Fireside Collective, has just released its third album, Elements. The group formed in 2015 and, soon after, won the 2016 Band Contest at MerleFest and earned an International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Band of the Year nomination for its debut album, Shadows and Dreams.
Members of the group are Joe Cicero (guitar), Alex Genova (banjo), Jesse Iaquinto (mandolin), Tommy Maher (dobro) and Carson White (upright bass). What makes the band unique, members say, is that each has different musical backgrounds (including playing classical piano and singing in the church choir) and influences (Bob Dylan and The Beatles among them), but all share the common love and joy of playing bluegrass.
“When I first moved to Asheville, I spent years hitting the bluegrass jams and learning the language and foundations of the genre,” says Iaquinto. “In many ways the sounds of Western North Carolina helped shape the initial concept for the band. We like to use the term ‘progressive’ to allow our music to expand beyond the boundaries of traditional bluegrass as creative, fresh, original material.”
Their fans include not just bluegrass aficionados but those who appreciate rock ‘n’ roll, jam bands, folk and Americana. Elements blurs the lines of bluegrass, roots rock and funk. “I think ‘Waiting for Tennessee’ is a great representation of the band’s current sound,” Maher says. “There’s a storytelling aspect, big chorus harmonies and a climactic instrumental section. It showcases a lot of what we try to offer at our live shows, which is emotion and energy.”
To learn more about upcoming tour dates or to order the new album, visit FiresideCollectiveBand.com.