What: Emmitt-Nershi Band.
When: 10 p.m. Monday.
Where: JJ's Bohemia, 231 M.L. King Blvd. (changed from Rhythm & Brews).
Websites: www.myspace.com/jjsboheima, www.emmittnershiband.com
They were known as the linchpins of two jam bands, but Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon) and Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident) found their true calling in bluegrass.
The newgrass ensemble that resulted from their collaboration, the Emmitt-Nershi Band, will play JJ's Bohemia on Monday night. The band's namesakes are backed by Tyler Grant and Andy Thorn.
Emmitt and Nershi started touring together in fall 2007, but both had been dabbling in bluegrass.
For Nershi, the impetus was a memorable Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early 1980s and the inescapable influence of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," the genre-expanding album his father bought in 1972.
Emmitt said that, for him, it was a combination of receiving a mandolin from his mother (he was already playing guitar) and seeing the legendary progressive bluegrass band Hot Rize.
On its latest release, the band takes the music in unexpected directions.
"We're coming at it from a different angle than a lot of bluegrass musicians do," Nershi said.
"There's fewer boundaries in this band than in our big bands and more room for experimentation," Emmitt added.
The Bluegrass Underground concert series begins Saturday with performances by the Emmitt-Nershi Band and Frank Farfield. The all-ages show starts at 1 p.m. CDT. Tickets are $20.
Bluegrass Underground shows are held in the Volcano Room inside Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tenn. Groups are taken into the cavern every 15 minutes, beginning one hour before the show. Half of the walk is a gravel path, the remainder a path through the cavern. The hike features a very steep incline and is considered semi-strenuous. It is not handicap-accessible, nor recommended for anyone with knee, leg, feet, heart, breathing or other conditions that will not allow for overexertion. For details, call 931-668-4396 or visit http://bluegrassunderground.com.
Remaining artists are:
May 14: Alecia Nugent and Greensky Bluegrass
June 4: Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper with Newfound Road
July 23: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver with Becky Schlegel