When it comes to music, there may be a lot of deviation in the style, except bluegrass, which has a certain authenticity says members of Cedar Run, a local group that is a mainstay of Tiffanys Tavern on King Street.
Their variety of instruments combined with the vocals tells a story just like it did in the southwest hills of Virginia’s Piedmont one hundred years ago. It feels real authentic to people, said Freddi Schlagi, an expert on the mandolin, fiddle and vocals. Its the folk music of our country, it has an old world feel to it, he said.
Bluegrass music always tells a story that a lot of people can relate to, added Al Wilson, the old pro in the band. Wilsons been around, hammering out country and bluegrass and there is a difference to audiences all over the east. Weve had congressmen, lawyers, blue collar workers, everybody, he said.
Cedar Run is a staple on the menu at Tiffanys Tavern, with Al Wilson on lead guitar, Alex Hannula on rhythm guitar and vocals, Nancy Lisi on lead guitar and vocals, Joe Fiander on the Greek Bazouki, Freddi Schlagi on the mandolin, fiddle and vocals, and Dave Brunson on the bass and vocals. The stage area in the front at Tiffanys gets a bit crowded.
The common thread is everyone has vocals on everyones dossier because they all sing and take ownership of certain songs. Schlagi likes to take the lead on Love of the Arts, which he calls a good story song, while Hannula takes the microphone on Raining in L.A. I make it my own, Hannula said. Dave Brunson likes to hammer out a few John Denver tunes, just to get things fired up, lots of sing alongs, he said.
And sing along they did, especially when Country Roads was played, with over half of the over 40s audience singing the 70s favorite. Other familiar tunes they played were Friend of the Devil, by the Grateful Dead, and another song by the Marshall Tucker band. A majority of the song list was bluegrass staples though. Some by the Stanley Brothers, which they referred to as the upper echelon of bluegrass, Schlagi said.
Cedar Run is a staple at Tiffanys Tavern every few weeks, and owner Ted Karanikolas likes the fact that its not too loud, like rock and roll tends to be. People like the idea that they can listen to music and still talk, he said.
Retired Falls Church resident Bob Beirmann makes it to Tiffanys every weekend, singing along with most of the songs. Its a nice kind of whole some kind of thing, he said.
Across from Biermann, sat Dave Collyer of Fairfax, who likes the melody and different instruments, he said.
Nobody in the band can call it a career though. Hannula works at Fort Belvoir, Fiander is working with the Virginia Health Department, Brunson is a manager for Anderson Windows and Nancy Lisi is a horse trainer at Rosecroft Raceway. We definitely wouldnt quit our day job, Lisi said.
In between their shows at Tiffanys, Cedar Run sets up shop under the roof at Union and King Streets, half way practicing and putting on an impromptu show. When the weathers nice, weve had over 100 people watching us, Wilson said.