Hickory Ridge performs at Music by the Lake

July 16, 2009|By ABIGAIL YEAGER

For Mike McDonald, good music comes from good relationships among band members.

"I've played in a lot of bands through the years, and not all of the band members saw things the same way," said McDonald, mandolin player for bluegrass band Hickory Ridge. "We're all on the same page, which helps."

Hickory Ridge will be play Saturday, July 18 in City Park as part of the Music by the Lake series, which is a summer concert series featuring local bluegrass musicians.

McDonald said Hickory Ridge members get along well, and it shows in their productivity.

"We go to arrange the music and work it out in rehearsals," he said. "Everything comes together very naturally."

Matt Hickman, the band's banjo player, plays clawhammer style, which Hickman describes as "an older style, before the three-finger, bluegrass style was introduced." He picked up the banjo to follow his grandfather's example. Hickman said he took lessons for six months and then taught himself.


"(My style) is kind of a mixture of listening to other professional musicians play and taking a little of what they do and applying it," he said. "(It's) stuff that I like to hear from a bunch of different players."

"I actually was friends with Mike McDonald for years a long time ago, I'm not even sure how long ago." said Hickman. The two stayed in touch, which was how Hickman came to join Hickory Ridge.

Other members include Bryan Brewer, who plays guitar and sings, Lewis Leyton, who plays bass and sings, and the newest member, Mark Baker, who just joined the band this year.

To Hickman, the best part of performing is getting together with band members and making music. And the worst part? "Having to set up and tear down the sound equipment," Hickman said.

For McDonald, the biggest struggle is a practical one - "trying to find a balance between the day job and playing music and keeping rehearsed," he said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hickory Ridge performs the first concert of the Music by the Lake series

WHEN: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18

WHERE: City Park, Hagerstown

COST: Free

CONTACT: Call 301-791-3132

MORE: Concerts continue every Saturday until Aug. 15

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