An annual favorite featuring the amazing talent of bluegrass musicians from all over Central Kansas. Performing traditional and contemporary bluegrass tunes are the Smoky Valley Bluegrass Band – Don Alvord, guitar; Dan Bruce, banjo; Matt Dudte, fiddle; Mason Ruble, bass; Wayne Ruble, mandolin; Dave Ruble, banjo; and Rollin Schmidt, dobro. Mason and Wayne Ruble will be recognized for their many years playing with the Kansas Bluegrass Association’s youth band, “TrebleMakers.” And during his time at KBA, Mason was featured playing banjo in the band, “Salty Dogs,” on Steve Harvey’s hit TV show, “Little Big Shots.”
The special guest band Tallgrass Express brings lyrical vocals and a lively, old-time acoustic style, sharing a mix of familiar classics plus original songs celebrating the Flint Hills – taking listeners to a world of stunning landscapes, skilled cowboys and spunky cowgirls, western romance and humor, runaway horses, and prairie walks among native birds and wildflowers. Band members are rancher-songwriter Annie Wilson of rural Elmdale, named the “Flint Hills Balladeer” by Kansas in recognition of her many songs about the Flint Hills landscape and ranch life; Carl Reed of Manhattan, Brent Entz of Walton, and Derrick Doty of Cottonwood Falls. The band has now recorded 46 songs on three CD volumes in their all-original “Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills” series.