A New Band that Came to Louisville Because of the Music Scene

Sep 6, 2019 | Community, Explore Louisville

A new local band is breaking stereotypes and adding its own distinctly different brand of music to Louisville’s music scene. Influenced by a combination of classic musical styles like bluegrass, folk, and Americana, these musicians have banded together to deliver a message that’s uncommonly modern and all their own. They call themselves Mama Said String Band

Breaking traditional bluegrass band stereotypes, this five-piece group is comprised of four women and one man, all of whom grew up in Kentucky. Their distinctive set-up gives way to intricate vocal harmonies and inventive instrumentations that add up to a fresh sound all their own. With melodies ranging from haunting to toe-tapping, each song builds on the next, creating a varied and innovative catalog. 

The Bluegrass state inspired their love of music early on. “I grew up in Southeast Kentucky, and there’s a lot of traditional music going on there,” says bass player Katie Didit. “I came to Louisville because there are numerous opportunities to do music here.” It was their love of music and their love of the Louisville music scene that brought them together. They started playing local venues and music festivals where they were finalists for Bluegrass Artist of the Year at the Louisville Music Awards.

These days, all five band members call Louisville home. The support they’ve found here keeps them inspired. “There’s no sense of competition,” Katie says. “It’s always a sense of ‘Let’s climb this ladder together.’ We can all really come together and do it all. That’s my favorite part.” 

It’s this sense of support that comes full circle for this band of talented musicians. Mama Said String Band has found a fan base here like no other, and giving back to the music community is an aspect they love to bring to their performances. “Everyone is so open and accepting,” says Adlai Filiatreau, one of the two guitar and banjo players. “There’s such a diversity of it all…where everybody can be in this one world and coexist.”

Bringing out a sense of inclusiveness is as inherent to this group as their tight harmonies. This is why Mama Said String Band invites audience members to let go of their preconceived stereotypes and remember it’s not about what good music looks like, but what good music sounds like. With four women and one man, their sound creates a one-of-a-kind live experience. “I feel like we give them a sense of something brand new,” says Kaitlen Farmer (guitar/banjo). 

Mama Said String Band is creating an all-embracing Louisville music scene with every song they play. Adlai says, “It’s a good thing to think outside the box and not feel like you have to fit into any social or cultural guidelines, because that’s something we pride ourselves on. We try to live that in our lives, too.” Their shows create a safe place for everyone to come as they are, and as fiddler David O’Neal says when he looks out into the audience, “It’s beautiful out there.” 

 P.S. Mama Said String Band will be playing in Louisville on September 8, 13, and 21. Also, this woman discovered her love for strings at an early age. 

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