Jeff Blanchard is a singer-guitarist in Mr. Baber’s Neighbors, performing at 9 p.m. Friday at The Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave.
Q: What initially attracted you to bluegrass?
The organic feel and the stripped-down nature of it. I was in a jam band and was always carrying all the equipment into shows. Bluegrass was just wood and strings. The whole idea is that you can do it in a parking lot or on stage. I also like the stories told in bluegrass, how they’re about everyday things and not always about the prettiest girl having the best things happen to her.
Q: Earl Scruggs passed away last month. Do you see any bluegrass musicians blazing new trails the way he did?
Noam Pikelny, who plays with the Punch Brothers right now and was in Leftover Salmon, and Chris Pandolfi with The Infamous Stringdusters. Then there are banjo players like Bela Fleck, who make the style seem danceable and melodic.
Q: You also host “Iowa Homegrown” on KFMG 99.1. What local bands have been standing out to you?
The Workshy’s new album is one everyone has been excited to hear. And the new Euforquestra is one people have been waiting for. I’m always looking for other music. If people have something they want played, we’ll take it.
— Joe Lawler