When bluegrass band Mama Corn formed in Nov. 2006, its members expected to be playing for "elderly men in overalls," band vocalist and dobroist John Stevens said. But once they got on the road, they were surprised to find many young people attending their shows.
"There's a vibrant bluegrass scene," he said. "Especially among young people. We tend to draw fans from college age to roughly mid-forties ... we've noticed that that seems to be the crowd that takes to us best."
The band often reflects upon why this generation of music fans seems to love bluegrass.
"We've talked about this at length," Stevens said. "I think there's so much homogenized pop that they're being force-fed that they look for something a little deeper, a little more real. I think bluegrass provides a connection to their past, to their parents and grandparents."
Stevens noted that the banjo seems to be the instrument of the moment.
"Mumford and Sons is out-selling Green Day," he said. "Isn't that something?"
But he was also quick to say that the appeal of Mama Corn isn't limited to the young crowd.
"We don't exclude anyone," he said. "Everyone's invited to this party."
The band, which also features Jeremy Nelson on banjo and vocals, Bruce Forr on guitar and vocals, Kelly Montgomery on bass and Chuck Cox on mandolin and fiddle, released its first album in 2011 and is working on a new one with a yet-to-be-announced release date.
"We're in the planning stages of our second album," Stevens said. "I really don't have a time on it. We're shooting for next summer, but I'd hate to make any promises. If I would say a date on record, our fans would never leave me alone," he said with a laugh.
The group has accumulated a substantial following over the last six years.
"We work for our fan base," Stevens said. "We started the Facebook page not too long after Facebook became popular. That's one way we do it and probably the main way we do it. Social networking has been very kind to us."
The traditional method of getting the word out also has helped.
"It's going out and beating the bushes," Stevens said. "We usually say that if we can get people to come to one show, we've got them for life."
For Williamsport music fans, that one show could be Mama Corn's Saturday night performance at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., which will be held from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Stevens said that this particular show was scheduled due to fans' demands.
"We simply asked fans, 'Where would you like to see us come play?' And that venue [The Bullfrog Brewery] had several responses. We've been told many times that we should play there, so we figured that we better at least try. The management was very open to the idea because of the [demand]."
First time listeners shouldn't "expect anything pretentious or exclusive," Stevens said.
"There always tends to be a line between the band and the audience," he said. "We blur that line more than we really should ... if we could have fans onstage, we would."
The band takes requests and Stevens said that even if they played "for 10,000 people," they'd still take requests.
"I'm very proud that people relate to what we're doing," he said. "I hope people look at us and think, 'I wanna do that.' "
The show at the Bullfrog is free. For more information about the performance, visit www.bullfrogbrewery.com and click "Events and Entertainment." For more information about Mama Corn, search for "Mama Corn bluegrass band" on Facebook.