Guitar player Drew Matulich performs with the festival’s headliner, The Grass is Dead, a bluegrass Grateful Dead tribute band. JACQUELINE HALE/Keys Weekly

By Jacqueline Hale

Rich harmonies and high-energy rhythms poured from the Florida Keys Brewing Company’s beer garden as over 1,000 attended the ninth annual Baygrass Bluegrass Festival produced by Islamorada Community Engagement. Three nights of concerts, Jan. 13-15, featured Grandpa’s Cough Medicine on Jan. 13, The Knotty G’s and Micah & the Barstool Sailors on Jan. 14, and the Low Ground Band and The Grass is Dead on Jan. 15.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.