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.

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