Grand Sass
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Grand Sass

Band Folk Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Grand Sass at the Creek"

"Only at Ross Creek can you be sitting at your desk drafting an important document to deadline and suddenly hear the sweet sounds of Bluegrass playing in the lobby below you! What a special treat to ­­be serenaded by Grand Sass, an “old-timey” band based out of Halifax. Grand Sass participated in a work exchange here at Ross Creek, and stayed in the farmhouse for four days in order to create their music, while also getting the chance to execute another of their passions; gardening.

I must admit that I was taken aback when I received the phone call from Louise. “You wanna do what?” I thought, but I politely fielded her query to Chris. The Bluegrass trio wanted to come to the farm and offer their gardening services, while potentially getting the opportunity to work on their music in tandem. As I have quickly learned since beginning my summer internship here at the Creek, you never know what quirky, exciting things will happen next!

The band consists of Tanya Groundwater (Vocals, Bass,) Jessica Herdman (Vocals, Fiddle,) and Louise Hanavan (Vocals, Banjo.) After hearing them perform, you would never know that they had only been together for a little over a year. They love to sing traditional music, but each contributes to writing original material, as well.

The girls arrived on a Sunday evening ready to work, but their plans were quickly thwarted when Lucy, their mischievous hound, instigated an encounter with a porcupine! Both Lucy and another of their dogs were covered with quills and had to be rushed to the veterinarian’s office in Wolfville.

The next morning the dogs were a little lethargic, but feeling better. The sun was shining and Grand Sass could not wait to get their hands dirty but, alas, the stubborn dogs got into it again!!! And this time, it was all three. Our property manager Mike kindly assisted in removing some of the quills with pliers, but the dogs had to be brought to the vet again. Rumba and Luna were not amused, but I laughed to myself as Lucy sat there like a triumphant soldier returning from battle.

Once the animals were taken care of, the girls planted marigolds, harvested and re-planted strawberries, and harvested and cut rhubarb. I’m no expert, but the garden looks great to me.

The girls planted lots of seeds while they were here, but not only in our garden. Jess, the last gal to join the group, said that creating music is like planting a seed. It takes time; you nurture it, water it, and watch it grow.

The band felt so grateful to have this time together on the farm. Louise told me that they only get to rehearse for a few hours a couple of evenings a week, so it’s great to have a chunk of time to create. She also said that the farmhouse created a “family” atmosphere.

We were sad to see them go, but they said that four days was way too short. If they were to do it again, they would love to stay for two weeks. AND, they've agreed to perform here for our Canada Day Celebration. It's going to be such an amazing day and they will be such an exciting addition to the festivities!

They are currently preparing for the Full Circle Festival, a Bluegrass festival they created in collaboration with The Smokin’ Contraband and The Strange Boys. According to Louise there are lots of young string bands “poppin’ up,” and they hope to build a community within Nova Scotia. I’m sure we will be seeing lots more of Grand Sass in the near future!"
-Leah Forsey, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts
- Ross Creek Centre for the Arts





Grand Sass started at a Kim Barlow show in Halifax. Louise waved a hankie from the balcony, luring Tanya up to meet her. From the moment they left the theatre, they couldn't stop singing together. One day, Jessica walked into their kitchen with a fiddle on her back and the recipe was complete.

How to cook up some Grand Sass: Toss old-timey banjo, fiddle and bass with an occasional dash of guitar, mandolin or glockenspiel on a bed of sumptuous three part harmonies. Kick off your dirty boots and enjoy the old-timey goodness with a nice cup of tea.

These women bring a variety of skills to their music, which include oxen-driving, wood chopping, bread baking, dream interpretation, outdoor-survival and dog training.