The Tishmingo String Band will take to the stage at the Port Hardy Civic Centre Saturday as part of the North Island Concert Society season.

The Tishmingo String Band will take to the stage at the Port Hardy Civic Centre Saturday as part of the North Island Concert Society season.

NICS features top picks

The North Island Concert Society's 2014-15 season continues with Tishomingo String Band Saturday.

PORT HARDY—Apparently the North Island Concert Society wanted to disprove the myth that the grass is always bluer on the other side of the stage.

This weekend, the bluegrass comes to the Civic Centre stage in Port Hardy.

Vancouver-based Tishomingo String Band will be featured in the second show of the NICS 2014-15 season series beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Both individual and season tickets remain available to local fans and patrons.

While known primarily for their bluegrass chops — the requisite banjo and mandolin are right there, alongside the upright bass — Tishomingo are anything but “traditional” purveyors of the genre.

Oh, there’s plenty here for the bluegrass purists. Tishomingo — made up of brothers Jacob Russell (mandolin) and Chris Russell (guitar), Devon Wells (banjo) and Colin Cowan (bass) — have honed their craft on a whetstone of traditional bluegrass for 10 years. But the quartet has added collective and individual interests that provide an edge of blues, folk-pop, gospel and even, in at least one notable instance on the recently released CD Dangerfield, a sort of crazed acoustic Klezmer-grass element in the elaborate, tempo-bending Sunderland’s Waltz.

In essence, these guys are something of a prog-grass version of traditional down-home acoustic picking.

The strength of the North Island Concert Society, now in its 17th year of bringing entertainment to North Island audiences, has always been fielding a lineup that mixes genres not only across the course of a season, but even within individual shows.

The few times a local audience has seemed to tire of a performance is when each piece seems to be a slightly modified version of the one that preceded it.

That will not happen this weekend, as Tishomingo String Band promises a mix of instrumentals and vocal pieces, original and traditional, new and old, and bluegrass and, well, let’s call it experimental bluegrass.

Pull up a stool and hunker down for a couple hours of fun Saturday. Tickets are $25 and are available in advance at Port Hardy Museum and Cafe Guido in Port Hardy, at The Flower Shoppe in Port McNeill, and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927.

Additional info is available by calling NICS chair Brian Hicks at 250-902-2228.

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