ANDERSON, Ind. — The music band Abl Gry stands out with a contemporary sound that smooths the rough edges of bluegrass and adds a country kick to the traditional American roots style.
It’s less free and folky and more recognizable to the occasional listener.
Also a little contemporary is the name — Abl Gry.
“It’s like a text with some of the letters missing,” said band member Danny Wert. “We also don’t have to worry about which way to spell gray. Also the guys are getting older (gray hair), but we can still cut it.”
The band will be among the musicians set to perform at the Anderson Bluegrass Festival on Saturday. Music runs from noon to 5 p.m. at Shadyside Park, 1112 Broadway. Set to appear are Mountain Laurel Acoustic Band, Jeremy Morris Harvest Road Band, Cumberland Gap, Lifeboat Quartet and Abl Gry. The festival is presented by the White River Folk and Bluegrass Club.
Wert, 53, plays mandolin for Abl Gry; however, his musical ability doesn’t stop there.
“I was exposed to the guitar in 1976 by a neighbor and friend,” he said. “He was in a garage band two years later and played bluegrass too.”
Wert also plays the bass and sings. He has recently been dabbling in playing the banjo. His range of instruments allows Wert to pick up and play in almost any jam band gathering, a common happening at bluegrass festivals.
“I went to my first bluegrass festival and noticed everyone was playing guitar and banjo so I wanted to do something different and decided to play the mandolin,” Wert said. “Now I can fit in and give services to other bands.”
Wert’s love of bluegrass music runs deep. He can throw out facts and history as if reading straight from a book.
“I love all music and listen to everything. The draw of bluegrass is that it’s a roots music,” he said. “It was all started by one guy — Bill Monroe. No other music genre in America can claim that it was started by a single person.”