Way down upon the Suwannee River, on a venture at Florida's Springfest in 2003, I awoke on Easter morning to banjo music. The Rev. Jeff Mosier, ordained in the church of Col. Bruce Hampton's Aquarium Rescue Unit, hosted Sunday morning "services," drawing the weary from their tents for a communion of mimosas and bluegrass.
Nine years later, he's still spreading the gospel. His band, the Mosier Brothers — with brother Johnny and fiddle player David Blackmon (a longtime Widespread Panic collaborator) — have taken the wheel from Blueground Undergrass as Mosier's main project lately.
"It's more song-driven, but we still have hippie psychedelic tendencies," jokes Mosier.
They'll headline the inaugural Charleston Bluegrass Festival this Easter weekend at Awendaw Green. The two-day event transpired after Surf Bar co-owner Perry Darby and Awendaw Green exec Eddie White started discussing their varied connections and a shared dream of a real bluegrass showcase in the Lowcountry. Darby and White called on many of their old friends along with some nationally touring acts.
The two-day fest starts on Friday at 6 p.m. with Whoa Nelly, the South Carolina Broadcasters, Angel Snow, and Town Mountain. On Saturday, the festival runs from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The roster includes Old Joe Clark, Jordan Igoe, L Shape Lot, Gravel Road Acoustic Trio, Guilt Ridden Troubadour, Doug Jones, the Bad Popes, Blue Billy Grit, Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work, Corduroy Road, Underhill Rose, the Mosier Brothers, and Hit or Miss.
Vendors will provide food and drink, including alcohol sales. No coolers will be allowed. Tickets are available online as well as at the Surf Bar, Sewee Outpost, Sewee Dental Care, and at Ye Olde Music Shop in Hanahan. Co-hosted by the Sewee Outpost (home of Awendaw Green's weekly Barn Jam series), the group hopes the event will generate funds for the Cape Romain Sea Turtle Programs and build staying power to become an annual affair.
Artists like Mosier probably won't hesitate to return — the banjo player expresses more faith in the Charleston scene than many locals might.
"I'm telling you, man, we drive five hours to play there because there's heart, not because we love the food," Mosier gushes. "The fans at Awendaw Green really get the power of live music. It's not just an audience and fan thing, but a community builder, and they're doing it."