Local musician Kyle Ussery hosts an open bluegrass pick every Wednesday at Conor O’Neill’s Irish bar in Boulder. We spoke to him to find out what it’s all about.L
Yellow Scene: When did the bluegrass nights at Conor O’Neill’s start, and why?
Kyle Ussery: It started in March of 2011. I was asked by Danny Schaefer, who books music at Conor O’Neill’s if I wanted to host a bluegrass night. They were looking to do something different with Wednesdays. I think they were having a down night so they wanted to try out the bluegrass jam. I happily took it, and it’s been going ever since. It was really their idea to start the night.
YS: How has it grown in those four years?
KU: It ebbs and flows. It has people come in from out of town, there’ll be some regulars there for a few months before they move on – it’s consistent and the quality level has always stayed high. It grows in the summer when people are out later.
YS: What had you done before?
KU: I had done a lot of small bluegrass gigs that Danny booked. He just knew me as a musician that was available.
YS: What can the newbie expect if he shows up on the night?
KU: He can expect people hanging out, watching the music and a medium sized group of musicians. It’s a pretty casual atmosphere. A lot of good beers, and open to different skill levels. If you’re newer, you might pick up a thing or two about how bluegrass circles work. Conor O’Neill’s is a good venue. It’s an Irish pub and they have a lot of good music. It’s a really good environment for acoustic music. We don’t plug in.
YS: What else do you have going on?
KU: The other main band that I do is playing in a swing/jazz group called the Boulder Swing Collective and we play Thursday nights at Waterloo in Louisville.
The Open Bluegrass Pick is every Wednesday at Conor O’Neill’s; 1922 13th St., Boulder; 303-449-1922.