All-women’s band features at FirstGrass with Peter Rowan and Greensky Bluegrass in Sunset Plaza, Mountain Village, and throughout weekend.

Here’s a short story about Robert “Bobby” Van Osborne, Jr.

Bobby was born in Kentucky in 1931. His instrument was the mandolin and he came to fame with The Osborne Brothers. Today most bluegrass mandolin players play breaks like the ones Bobby pioneered in the 1950s. He also wrote or co-wrote over 75 songs and instrumentals, including – and yes we are getting to the punch line – the classic “Big Spike Hammer,” whose refrain goes like this:

  Hey hey Della Mae
  Why do you treat me this way
  Hey hey Della Mae
  I’ll get even some day

I doubt it’s about getting even. But for sure for the all-woman string bluegrass band, Della Mae, it is about getting lots of well-deserved attention from the crowds attending Telluride Bluegrass at all its venues.

“Della Mae is a ridiculously polished all-grrrl nouveau bluegrass band based out of Boston. Each woman in the band is a lead player on her instrument and their vocals and harmonies are tighter than the hangman’s noose. This is bluegrass music played with a love for its roots and great hope for its future…,”

“The picking’ was stout and the singing was sweet,” Stephen Mougin, Sam Bush Band

Della Mae first started making waves just a few years back in their hometown of Boston. Now they are scheduled to kick off the kick off of the 39th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival collaborating with the legendary Peter Rowan at FirstGrass in Mountain Village, Wednesday, June 20, starting at 5 p.m. (After that show, stick around  Mountain Village for the 11th Annual Bluegrass Kickoff Party as Yonder Mountain String Band plays to a sold-out crowd at the Telluride Conference Center. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show begins at 9 p.m. All ages welcome.)

Della Mae also  performs on the Main (Fred Shellman) Stage in Town Park opening day, Thursday, June 21, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. and in the evening with Dan Mangen at NightGrass, 11 p.m. Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. Saturday, June 23, 1 p.m, find the ladies in Elks Park.

Della Mae is Celia Woodsmith, vocals, rhythm guitar; Jenni Lyn Gardner, mandolin; Courtney Hartman, guitar; Shelby Means, bass; and two-time National Fiddle Champion, Kimber Ludiker, talented young pickers who have shared the limelight with iconic music makers such as Willie Nelson, Del McCoury, Leon Russell, and Laurie Lewis. The first release of this song-driven band, I Built This Heart, adroitly straddles the line between bluegrass grit and singer-songwriter sensibilities. The group’s new album, a work in process, is being produced by flat picked acoustic guitar phenomenon and Telluride Bluegrass regular Bryan Sutton.

Planet Bluegrass marketing director (musician and critic) Bryan Eyster is high on the ladies:

“All-girl bluegrass band that can sing and pick alongside any all-male bluegrass band, even the best of the best, like Peter Rowan. They’re based in Boston, but guitar player Courtney Hartman is a longtime festivarian from Loveland, CO, who has been picking in Planet Bluegrass campgrounds with her musical family since she was little. We’ve scheduled Della Mae at three separate gigs over the weekend to give them maximum exposure so everyone can enjoy them as we at Planet Bluegrass do.”

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to what Kimber has to add about her group.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For Telluride Bluegrass Festival parking information, please refer the Town of Mountain Village’s parking regulations by clicking here.


  • Tridecheese
    Posted at 00:43h, 19 June

    Don’t miss Della Mae. Saw them at Delfest and they kicked grass!

  • admin
    Posted at 12:41h, 21 June

    Just heard Della Mae’s set at Telluride Bluegrass. Great! Song list, instrumental virtuosity, great voices and harmony, stage presence: these ladies have it all.