Bluegrass Underground

March 10, 2013

We took a break from pantry wall demo and spent the day in, or shall we say, under, McMinnville, TN. I have been dying to go to a taping of the PBS series Bluegrass Underground ever since I first heard about it, shortly after we moved here. The gist: About 90 minutes away from Nashville in Cumberland Caverns, there is a giant acoustical gem 333 feet below the surface called the Volcano Room, with a grand, historic chandelier and dirt floors. It’s killer.

The artists who play will likely end up standing next to you after their set to hear the rest of the show. It’s super casual, very intimate (capacity 500) and just an all around amazing experience. There’s no booze, therefore the shows are “all ages”, so we took the Things for a unique concert experience. We got MIXED REVIEWS. I know. In 15 years, I’ll be looking for a follow up review.

We went on a walking cave tour before the show, which was not only educational and beautiful, but also gave us first choice of seats before the general admission is allowed in. Even if you’re not interested, do the 11am tour if you want to sit up front. You have the option to forgo the climb up and down through the Mountain Room for the Christian based sound and light show, and can rejoin the group when it’s time to head into the show. I might skip that if I do it again, but since it was our first time, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I knew from my research I had 6 minutes of controversial Creationism in the tour, so I was prepared and it was fine. It makes them happy, and who am I to let my discomfort with organized religion ruin their fun, or mine? We’re there for a positive experience.

Once in, we grabbed some food and sat down to watch a few sound checks and take in the scene before the rest of the groups arrived. I really can’t recommend this enough for anyone who enjoys music. It’s a pretty special place that seems to work its magic on all those who perform there…everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to be a part of it all.


Our lineup was Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The North Mississippi Allstars and The Wood Brothers.

An all around outstanding day, not soon to be forgotten.

For information on air dates/channels for the PBS series, go here.

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10 thoughts on “Bluegrass Underground


    that looks FUN! i want to go!

    i’m curious about your estate sale shopping experience on thurs! i was at that sale (4th in line, and didn’t really buy much, sad) and it seemed pretty calm… did it get crazy? or was it the west meade sale that was crazy? i heard there was a lot of chaos at that one!

    1. ModFruGal Post author

      Jamie: It was the West Meade sale..I was too stunned to take photos there…Hillwood was calm by the time I arrived since I was late for opening…..

  2. Jay

    Was it not painfully loud in there with a concert going?

    Thank you for posting this – I never heard about it, I like bluegrass, and this isn’t that far from me. Within the 6 hour limit of what I weekend with my family. πŸ˜€

  3. ModFruGal Post author

    Jay, they do a very good job keeping the levels from being too loud…but that said, we did give the kids earplugs for their sensitive younger ears!!
    Melissa, it was really only the style of music they objected to..the straight up Bluegrass was NOT their jam, but the North Mississippi Allstars with their bluesy rock got them a little more engaged. They did love the caves.

  4. ModFruGal Post author

    I should also note that bringing a seat cushion can go a long way for comfort. We noticed all the old pros had them. The folding chairs start to make you ache after 4 hours!

  5. rae

    i’ve always wanted to see live music there! a friend of mine rented it out for his halloween party one year and it was amazing!

  6. ModernSauce

    Always wanted to go there – it looks so cool! I might email you later for details whenever I do decide to make a trip.

    And I’d love to hear the Creationism talk but probably for a different reason than they intended… ; )


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