Bluegrass Underground

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.