Mountains, beer, and bluegrass? Honey, you had me at mountains. Only a little over a month away until we will be romping and stomping around in the heart of the Vail Valley for WINTER WONDERGRASS FESTIVAL. Since some of us are relatively new to the bluegrass game, or might not be familiar with the entirety of the lineup, we took the time to listen and hand pick a few smaller acts that are simply too good to miss. 1. SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS First up is SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS! If you’re looking for musical variety at this festival, you do not want to miss this hard soul collective. This group was formed eight years ago when singer and songwriter Arleigh Kincheloe left her home in the Catskill Mountains to go start a band in New York City. Elements of rock n’ roll, soul, gospel, and dirty funk are all complimented by Arleigh’s wonderfully powerful voice and electrifying stage presence. No wonder this feel good band has slowly but surely made their way up the festival circuit! Who doesn’t love watching a bad ass chick holding it down with a half dozen dudes on stage? Don’t get me wrong, I love my banjo and fiddle shredders, but it will be nice to trade those in for a set of brass and rock n’ roll. 2.HORSESHOES & HAND GRENADES HORSESHOES & HAND GRENADES is made up of five fine young gents from Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, who enjoy spending time by the river, the company of good friends, and fermented beverages. They’ve been building a reputation in the midwest as a progressive high-energy old-time folk band. While their music a primarily rooted in bluegrass, the band keeps their style unique by incorporating all of their own personal music backgrounds. 3. THE LIL’ SMOKIES Hot off their big win at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass festival band competition, THE LIL’ SMOKIES will make a triumphant return to Colorado at this year’s WWG festival. We love this Montana based band’s unique blend of traditional bluegrass, newgrass, innumerable unique originals, sheer raw energy, and exquisite musicianship. Join them during their set next month for a seamless journey through genres, that will leave you humming their melodies long after their set! 4. DAVE SIMONETT & DAVE CAROLL (of Leftover Salmon) SIDE PROJECT ALERT: Coming off of two consecutive years of headlining and selling out Red Rocks Amphitheater in our back yard, TRAMPLED BY TURTLES members DAVE SIMONETT and Dave Carroll are bringing their banjo/guitar duo back to Avon this year. If you caught one of their sets this past fall in a local front range venue you know this is a special acoustic set that you don’t want to miss! We hope you’ll catch all of these amazing sets plus all of the other incredibly talented artists who will be taking Avon by storm next month. It sure was tough to only highlight a few! If you still need your tickets to the 2016 WinterWonderGrass, click HERE and if you’re feeling extra lucky ENTER TO WIN a pair of tickets in Souls In Action’s Giveaway!