Live Music Lou’s Weekly Preview: ROMP Fest Special with The 23 String Band!

ROMP ROMP ROMP ROMP! I’ve missed the last 3 festivals with coaching obligations but I am free this weekend and ecstatic about a picturesque (be it hot and sweaty) couple of days with bluegrass in the Bluegrass.

One of the bands that initially caught our ears 4 years ago at our very first ROMP was The 23 String Band. This Louisville band subsequently kickstarted our intrigue with the local scene here. Read between the lines and we’ve been pretty big fans of these guys since our first encounter. When they announced a hiatus we were devastated, to be honest, but utterly gleeful when we saw them popping up at some of our favorite summer time fests this season.

We asked the 23SB fellas some typical LML style inquiries and we think you will all love what they have to say. Scott (fiddle), Curt (banjo) and Marty (upright base) gave us some telling answer to our hard-hitting journalistic questions.

23SB jump

Live Music Lou: What has everyone been up to since we last saw you? (i.e. Brittany is pretty sure she saw Marty on HGTV?)

Scott: I’ve been busier than ever playing and writing music. I’ve gotten to wear the classical hat, touring as concertmaster of a couple orchestras, on top of performing and recording as a soloist with the Louisville Orchestra. I’ve also nearly finished two records with my newish roots rock band, Niles Foley. It’s been a fun and rewarding challenge taking on new roles, and I’ve met and worked with a bunch of interesting people, some of whom have become great friends.

Oh yeah—I’ve also been teaching group fiddle classes at the Louisville Folk School, which Dave started right after the band stopped playing. Can’t speak for Dave (Dave’s not here, man) but it’s been really cool to see that take off. Been a ton of fun being a part of that.

Curt: You did see Marty on HGTV!

Marty: Yeah, Marty was on that show. His brother is actually on the tree house show. And the band was (briefly) featured in a movie called The Song. I think one day we’re gonna make our own movie. It’ll be called Bro Country…or No Strings Attached.

LML: We first saw you all at this very festival in 2012 and fell for ROMP and your band. What is it like to be back? Does the weekend have any significance for you all?

Curt: Such a fun, friendly, and laid back festival that we always look forward to. Former director Gabrielle Gray has been a great mentor to our band, and the staff, crew, and volunteers are always amazing.

Scott: It’s awesome to be playing some 23SB shows this summer—from Festival of the Bluegrass, to a Forecastle official afterparty, and more. But none is more exciting than ROMP. I always feel so welcome and comfortable rolling up to the festival, and always look forward to seeing so many great people and having a blast. It always feels kinda like home.

LML: One of our yearly ROMP traditions has been to make a bomb bloody mary. What’s your favorite ingredient?

Curt: Pickled okra and bacon

Scott: Oysters, plus what Curt said, plus freshly ground black pepper, and lemon.

LML: Festival food is always on point (especially at ROMP), but in our opinion, the condiments make the meal, no matter what it is. Top 3 condiments: Go.

Curt: Horseradish, remoulade, garlic aioli

Scott: Can I put those in my bloody mary, too? Plus Sriracha, cause you only live once. I do also love guacamole. Is that a condiment? What about olive and sesame oils, balsamic, honey, and a dash of soy? Plus maybe goat cheese if you have it, and thyme and maybe some tarragon or basil? Ketchup, mustard, mayo—who am I kidding, I celebrate the entire collection.

LML: Obviously the Derby is a huge deal around Lou. What would 23SB’s Derby horse be named?

Marty: Our Kentucky Derby horse’s name would definitely be a before-and-after. Like Steve Martin Lawrence, or Kenny Rogers and Hart.

Curt: Bigger than Corbin

Scott: Steve Martin Lawrence of Arabia. Stewball would be an excellent choice, since that’s the title of the horse-racing song on our most recent album. But what about Fat Frankie, Catch 23, Banging and Clanging, or Where’s The Goat?

LML: What is next for 23SB?

Curt: Hopefully a new record soon!

Marty: We feel really blessed and thankful for what has happened with this band. You never know what direction we might take next. Maybe the west coast next summer? Maybe Japan? Marty enjoys his band teacher job, and also looks forward to pursuing his goal of becoming Ironman World Champion, in Kona, Kauai, Hawaii.

Scott: Forecastle official afterparty with The Pass and Niles Foley, Saturday July 16 at Headliners Louisville! Want to see all of you there!

SO. 23SB + bluegrass + KY + music fans, hope that you’ll join us this weekend at ROMP. It’s part of the reason that we (LML chicas) became bffs and an experience that you won’t want to miss out on, at least once. Check out the daily schedule at and the full lineup below!


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