Q&A with local bluegrass musician Dean Sapp
— Few people in this area have musical roots as deep as Dean Sapp. The 66-year-old comes from a long line of musically-inclined folks, and this year marks his 60th studying the craft (he began when he was 6, he said).
On Saturday, he’ll play a family-friendly show at Gracie’s Cafe in Elkton, 213 North St., with his fourpiece band Harford Express, which he started in 1986. Blades of Grass will open.
Tickets cost $12 and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Each act will play about 45 minutes. No drinking, no smoking.
The following interview was condensed for clarity and space.
Cecil Whig: Is this the first time you’ve played at Gracie’s?
Dean Sapp: No, I’ve actually been going there quite a bit for the Friday open mic thing — I get up and sing a couple songs. But having a bluegrass show, yes.
CW: Some may know your name from your music store along Route 40 in Elkton, but not much about you beyond that. How long have you been playing?
DS: Oh, since I was about 6 years old.
CW: So a solid 60 years of music then?
DS: Yeah, and I’ve got about 16 CD projects out.
CW: And how did you get started with music?
DS: My whole family on my mother’s side were all professional and semi-professional musicians. Back in
the day, in the 40s, the family band was called the Ridge Runners. I’m just carrying the torch.
CW: Was there ever a question, as a young man, that you would be playing music your whole life?
DS: No. No. None whatsoever. I used to sit in school and dream about being on stage. [laughs] I had it bad.
CW: How long have you been playing with Harford Express, and how many people are in it?
DS: There’s four people in it [including Sapp], and I’ve had the band since, let’s see — ‘86. Of course, faces change over the years. The first group I had together is nothing compared to what today’s group is, but it’s always remained the same
In the foreground, a 7 oz. medium-rare filet mignon; in the background, a bowl of green beans topped with pig belly and onions. Brandon Gentry, executive chef at Chesapeake City’s Prime 225, is given free rein to order the finest, most expensive ingredients he can find.