Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Chester River Runoff Plays Annapolis

Apr 19, 2011 08:42PM ● By Anonymous

Inspired by life on the Eastern Shore, “Chester River Runoff ain’t your grandfather’s bluegrass band.” So says Gail Buchalter in Chesapeake Life Magazine. “These four hard-working finger-flying musicians are not only creating an innovative sound by blending bluegrass, ‘newgrass,’ country and rock; they’re enlightening audiences from Maryland to Maine.”

Chester River Runoff plays music that is continuously evolving from their inception in the fall of 2004 when four young musicians from divergent musical backgrounds decided to master the driving bluegrass that they all loved. Together they have established a country bluegrass sound that echoes in the wide open spaces of the Chesapeake, carrying it to venues and radio airwaves across the region and along the Atlantic seaboard.

Ben Armiger (guitar, lead vocals) grew up surrounded by all kinds of country music. One uncle was an original member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and another aunt and uncle toured the country with the western swing group Cowboy Jazz. He took up banjo and guitar about the same time he started walking. A prolific songwriter, his direct and sincere lyrics capture the flavor of the disappearing Eastern Shore landscape he clearly loves.

Marc Dykeman (bass, harmony vocals) is the “musical bedrock” of the group, being the only one who actually earned a degree in music. When he isn’t backing up the Runoff boys, he’s composing music for the Baltimore-based experimental band Pläns Pläns.

Nate Grower (fiddle, harmony vocals), the youngest member of the group, surprises audiences with his fiery and stunning fiddle solos. He plays with David Bromberg’s Angel band, has appeared on the Mountain Stage radio program, and has released his first solo album for Patuxent Records.

Samuel Miles Guthridge (banjo, lead vocals) has been performing his whole life, whether he’s tapping out a tune on empty wineglasses or sitting in with his banjo at contra dances. His songwriting ranges from heartbreaking to zany, and has elicited comparisons to artists like John Hartford.

Together they have grown from a small-town string band that relied more on humor than prowess, to a dynamic highly skilled bluegrass band. With a confluence of styles and interests that flow together, they continue to develop a style that is all their own. High energy shows and their ability to connect with an audience through sincere originals and unique takes on traditional music make a “Runoff” concert a memorable experience.

For seat reservations and details go to or call 410-295-0104. The museum is located at 723 Second Street. For directions and parking, see the Museum website at Beer and wine are available for a nominal donation.