Like a number of Boston-area bands, True Life Bluegrass got our start at an event honoring Joe Val. In fact, our debut performance was at the very first event ever held to honor and support Joe, a fundraiser held shortly before he passed away in 1985. The core of the original band (Ellen, Steve, and Eric) has been together ever since, and Steve's son Tony re-joined the band when he returned to Cambridge in 2010. Recently, we've also been fortunate to have the assistance of Laura Orshaw on fiddle.
True Life Bluegrass has been a mainstay in the Boston-area bluegrass scene for over 30 years, and we are the longest-running band to play at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square in Cambridge on their Tuesday bluegrass nights, now hosted by Lily P's Fried Chicken & Oysters in east Cambridge. And though we played our first show in 1985, we have bluegrass roots in the Boston area that pre-date that show by nearly two decades. Steve (banjo and mandolin) has been playing bluegrass in the Boston area since he moved to Cambridge in the mid-60's. Eric (bass) has been playing in the area for nearly as long, most notably touring the world with Joe Val's band, The New England Bluegrass Boys.
Boston's lively acoustic music scene has allowed us to play with many of the most talented bluegrass musicians to spend time here, a number of whom honed their talents with us before going on to success in the wider bluegrass world. We've been honored to provide a nurturing environment for many up-and-coming musicians, and are proud to present our brand of traditional bluegrass to audiences and fellow musicians alike. Our music is steeped in the traditions of bluegrass, though we wander outside those traditions when we find newer songs that express the real experiences of ordinary people (as we call them, songs of true life). Our CD, It's a True Life, reflects those choices.