ELKTON — Live music and a history lesson are coming to Elkton Central Library next weekend.
Musician and music historian Dean Sapp, his band the Harford Express and bluegrass band Blades of Grass will play and talk about the county’s music traditions at Cecil County Public Library’s Bluegrass Heritage Concert on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.
The program is supported by Maryland Traditions through a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and by the National Endowment for the Arts.
For Sapp, 63, talking about bluegrass history is personal.
He comes from a line of bluegrass musicians and learned how to play bluegrass music from family members. Talking about bluegrass music is a way to carry on his family’s heritage.
“I was given all this talent and I feel like I was given it to pass on,” he said.
Sapp has owned Dean Sapp’s Music Store off Route 40 in Elkton for more than 20 years and traveled throughout the states and internationally playing bluegrass music. He has 16 bluegrass recordings.
The event next weekend is a way for people to understand more about music and how it is made. Sapp said most people underestimate the time put into writing and recording a song. Sapp said he is currently working on a song that is taking about a year to come together.
There’s also the opportunity to take in some live bluegrass music. Listening to music live or learning how to play it feels more personal than listening to a recording, Sapp said.
“Traditional music played onstage or out in somebody’s home is much more to the heart and warm than the studio-produced, slick music that you buy nowadays,” Sapp said.
Today, music is changing, Sapp said. Country music is sounding more like Top 40 radio hits, said Sapp, who thinks there is pressure for popular artists to fit into a mold.
But Sapp said he’s also seeing some younger generations become interested in bluegrass music and bring their own ideas into newer bluegrass songs. Traditional bluegrass music is still his favorite, though.
The library hopes to see a large community turnout, said Frazier Walker, community relations specialist for the library. The event is free, but space is limited to 275 people. As of late this week, Walker said about half of the spaces had filled up.
To register, call 410-996-5600 x.481. The library will be closed to patrons during the event.