Born from the barns and front porches of our rural ancestors and passed down from generations, bluegrass is a joyous celebration of our nation’s rural beginnings. This blend of guitars and banjos and fiddles and bass and the always interesting dobro ring through each song. Mr. Baber’s Neighbors is a traditional bluegrass band in that sense. They utilize all of the traditional instruments in a way that would make our ancestors proud. Each note and each pluck is a gentle nudge towards our rural history.
But modern bluegrass and Mr. Baber’s Neighbors aren’t just about celebrating our rural history, they’re about just plain old celebrating. Mr. Baber’s Neighbors has been a constant force in the Iowa music scene since their formation many years ago. Festival veterans, they have played spots at Wakarusa, the inaugural Lot Dog Festival this past summer and multiple stints at 80/35. They have also played in such diverse locales as Vaudeville Mews, Living History Farms, various apple orchards and other interesting, out of the way spots. All of their performances have the unique ability to turn crowds into communities.
The types of performances that make people forget they’re in a room (or at an apple orchard or on a farm) with a bunch of strangers and grab each other at the elbows and just spin around. it’s the type of performances where, even if you don’t want to, you will eventually slap yourself in the knee.
Their Little Big Fest performance on Nov. 18 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines will be the sixth time playing this festival. Every year, people have mentioned that their set was the highlight of the night. With so many stellar bands planned, this will be one to try and catch. Just be prepared for the fun and be prepared for the celebration.