“Dean Sapp & Harfordd Express.”
CW: Can you talk about your roots in bluegrass music?
DS: My uncles on my mother’s side of the family — her brothers were professional musicians. They played for people like Bill Monroe, and different ones over the years. My one uncle that’s now deceased, Sonny Miller, played for Del McCoury of The Del McCoury Band, when they were Del McCoury and the Dixie Partners, if I recall. Years ago. That’s just what we do. That’s what the family does. We play music.
CW: And would you say that bluegrass is your primary influence?
DS: Oh yes, absolutely. Bluegrass music and mountain style music.
CW: How did this gig with Gracie’s come about?
DS: They contacted me, Dean Sapp picks his banjo on stage at the Elkton library in 2013.
and we came to an agreement about how we would do the show. It’s been in the works for about a year, ‘ til we got this finalized and I felt comfortable doing the show there. It’s the type of atmosphere I’m looking for. It’s no alcohol, no smoking, a good, clean, family atmosphere. Back
when I did my shows at the Knights of Columbus Hall, that’s what I insisted upon: no alcohol, no smoking. If you come to my show, you better be in an orderly fashion. A place where a man can feel good bringing his wife and kids to and not worry about some drunk or a fight breaking
out or something like that.
CW: This isn’t exactly the usual stance for a musician. Why do you feel so strongly about it?
DS: Because I’m a Christian. When I was coming up in the music business, you had to take what you could get. Sometimes it was a club or a bar, and I’ve seen the drunks, and I’ve seen the fights, and I always said that if I put on my own shows there’d be none of that.
CW: So then you don’t drink at all? DS: Oh, absolutely not. CW: Any new projects you’re working on with the band?
DS: We have a new CD project that we’re working on. We’re six songs into it. We’ve had some sickness in the band, so we kind of laid that on the back burner, because we want a good product when it’s out, something we can be proud of.
Instead of having to explain why it doesn’t sound right. [laughs] Luckily, everybody’s in pretty good shape for Saturday night.
At this point, Sapp brought up how for 20 years he played monthly shows at the nowtorn down Knights of Columbus Hall along Route 40 in Elkton. Wawa built a gas station and convenience store on top of it this year. He mentioned an editorial he wrote about how the building was like an old friend to him.
DS: An old, dingy building like that is perfect for bluegrass music. [laughs]
CW: Is this the first time you’re playing live since then?
DS: Well, we have a tour bus, because we travel all over the country. But for local events, this is the first one back since the closing of the Knights of Columbus Hall. I’m going to bring bluegrass back to Elkton.