Either a group on their away up that outgrew their hometown or too quirky for a smaller area or they just flat like being on the road alot.. Nearly every big-time musician has been one, one time or another, and have great stories to tell (what they can remember, anyway). At the mid-tier, you don't survive unless you are mostly sober and pretty focused (not big enough to have somebody clean up the mess). They either play the biggest roadhouse in your area or flesh out the bill for a Bigger Name's concert thingie. Anyway here's 4 different bands that qualify; I'll leave the verbiage to the Skipper's Smokehouse link--quite incisive on the bands.
Town Mountain Imagine a band that holds the attention of both traditional bluegrass fans AND jam band fans. Quite a trick but each guy in this quintet brings so much to the table, it groans with goodness. 4 CDs/1 live; please read on the 1st one: http://www.allmusic.com/album/steady...r-mw0002125248 Their Site: http://www.townmountain.net/ << Their stuff at the Usual Suspect is pricey--either buy from them directly or stay with YT stuff.
Tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNZHKuZ2OuU << This will snap you in, quickly: Making covers their own.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2242K2oz750 << a trucker's lament, taken a different way << great soloing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE_hztVjer4 << From that same session. << Giving a woman a good reason or two to stay the night...
BONUS: 40 minutes at a fest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAntWDQDv1M
Applebutter Express Unusual instrumental line-up but it sure works. 1 album (digital-only) but a bright future awaits them. Their site: http://applebutterexpress.com/ << The videos of fest appearances are OK but do not miss those 6 Podcast episodes--1-2 hours of them and specially-selected guests. Whee, Daddy!
Tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzZ_vpBZeAY <<"Wannee" is Suwannee, the river and the fest--where all the hippies and their spiritual progeny wound up.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQWp2VphTJI << Not a trace of irony here--this couple believes...and brings it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmHZB99vKXg << Thisn's just a natural hoot...but again no mockery of the source material--just taking it their way.