Fireside Collective

As long as there are groups pressing the boundaries of bluegrass music, the genre will continue to evolve. Groups like Fireside Collective bring their own interpretation to the mix with their unique blend, which is part bluegrass, part roots rock, and a good dose of funk-influenced danceable rhythms.

This Ashville, North Carolina ensemble doesn’t mind blurring the lines while still holding true to their Carolina style bluegrass underpinnings. Their latest release, Elements, brings front and center, their tight harmonies and original material, along with their infectious energy moving their audiences to a since of instant familiarity and the desire to get up dance.

The band, formed by Tommy Maher (resonator guitar), and Jesse Iaquinto (mandolin), is celebrating its sixth year anniversary this year. The two met while in college at East Carolina University. Jesse said they were “just two buddies who bonded over roots music and jam bands.” They moved together to the mountains of North Carolina (Ashville) in 2009 and began recording music together. “We actually went our separate ways for a few years,” Jesse recalled.

“I was traveling with another bluegrass band and really having a good time on the road. I called Tommy one day and said, ‘we’ve got to find a way to do this together.”

Jesse, soon after, recorded a solo project called Shadows and Dreams that featured a bunch of his Ashville music friends. To release the record, he put together what became the beginnings of what would become Fireside Collective.

Part of the appeal for many of the bands fans is the rhythm of their music, which Tommy says is influenced by their earlier days in Ashville. “We spent most of our early days there going out to the funk jams,” he laughed. “While we’re a bluegrass band, a lot of our music is influenced by the musical diversity you find on a nightly basis in Ashville.”

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