New Team Up Mighty Poplar Pays Homage To Their Roots In 80s Bluegrass

Mighty Poplar is a new all-star Roots project featuring Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse, Noam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers, bassist Greg Garrison (Leftover Salmon) and fiddler Alex Hargreaves (Billy Strings). Their self-titled debut album has just arrived via Free Dirt Records.

Though Pikelny, Eldridge, Garrison all knew each other from their early work with Punch Brothers, impromptu backstage jams with Marlin at festivals across the country were the key that unlocked the project. Marlin selected and sang lead on most of the songs here, bringing classics as well as deep cuts from Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, John Hartford, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Norman Blake.

Marlin talks up the other players’ instrumental virtuosity:

When I think about it from a player’s perspective, I didn’t feel like I belonged in this group; I haven’t spent my life trying to improve my chops. I’ve been more of a song gatherer.

Inspired by the 1980s albums of The Bluegrass Album Band, which united some of that era’s best bluegrass players, Mighty Poplar sought to “emulate the fun and spontaneity of those inspirational recordings.”

Garrison comments:

My love for the sound and feel of those Bluegrass Album Band records–the energy, the undeniable chemistry, the subtle virtuosity–led me to imagine what that might look like in our collective gumbo of today’s bluegrass.

The band aimed to find their own arrangements and deliver fresh takes on the songs. In Eldridge’s words: “It’s an homage to where we came from, without it being a recreation of an earlier era.”


Monday, May 8, 2023
Boulder, CO – Fox Theater

Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Fort Collins, CO – Washington’s

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Denver, CO – Globe Hall

Thursday, May 11, 2023
Aztec, NM – Tico Time Bluegrass Festival

Friday, May 12, 2023
Phoenix, AZ – MIM Music Theater

Monday, May 15, 2023
Pioneertown, CA – Pappy & Harriet’s

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theatre 

Thursday, May 18, 2023
Los Angeles, CA – Pico Union Project

Saturday, May 20, 2023
Felton, CA – Felton Music Hall

Sunday, May 21, 2023
Grass Valley, CA – The Center for the Arts

Monday, May 22, 2023
Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage

Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater

July 29, 2023
Lyons, CO – RockyGrass Festival

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