Friday, September 26, 2008

Farmpark BGF - Denton, NC - Thursday


Denton Farmpark

One of the Best Music Sheds Available


Thursday was chilly, windy, and threatened rain all day. Relatively few people showed up, but the small crowd hung in well and was rewarded with some great music. While the air was chilled, the crowd warmly enthusiastic. The day opened with a solid performance by a local bluegrass band called Movin' on Bluegrass.

Movin' On Bluegrass

J.C. Rowland
Howard Honeycutt
Rick Blackwelder

Charles Honeycutt

This band is a solid and competent cover band, read - it plays mostly bluegrass standards. Musicianship is good and harmony singing pleasant to listen to. Bass player Blackwelder is a high quality picker who plays more bass solos than is common in many bluegrass bands. They were a good opening act.

The Circuit Riders


Greg Corbett
Jaret Carter
Billy Gee

Greg Luck
Darin Aldridge

The Circuit Riders are the remnants of the last band that traveled with Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen. Their program performs a number of Country Gentlemen songs, but does not rely up it for their sound or their core. They play classic bluegrass standards and lots of Gospel bluegrass with enthusiasm and very high skill. Greg Luck has a fine lead voice and plays both rhythm and lead guitar very well. Aldridge is one of the rising young mandolin stars, a master of traditional bluegrass mandolin. Jaret Carter's Dobro work is tasteful and restrained while providing power and depth to the band's overall sound. Billy Gee lays down a powerful bass line and his bass solos are wonderful. This is a rising band deserving greater national attention.

The Grass Cats


Steven Martin

Lloyd Herring

Chris Hill

Russell Johnson

Tim Woodall

The last time I saw the Grass Cats I thought they were a bit flat and not well positioned in the lineup. On Thursday at Denton they were at the top of their game - energetic, musical, lively, and very entertaining. This is an experienced band that shows it in every element of their performance.

Lost & Found


Scott Napier
Ronald Smith

Scottie Johnson
Alan Mills

When Dempsey Young, a storied mandolinist and singer, died in 2006, many thought it would be impossible to continue without him. Under the leadership of Allan Mills, the band has continued to tour and offers good value playing bluegrass music mostly from their huge catalog of songs dating back to the early 1970's. A highly traditional band that emphasizes their connection to the Crooked Road in southern Virginia, Lost & Found, with new mandolinist Scott Napier doing a fine job, keeps on keeping on.

Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers


Carl Berggren
Josh MacMurray

D. Sparks

Mike Fagin

Larry Sparks

After nearly fifty years on the road as a performing bluegrass musician, Larry Sparks still has one of the great voices in bluegrass music and a huge catalog of recorded music to draw upon. On Thursday evening he played a high proportion of Gospel music in line with his most recent recording being a Gospel collection. He also spent a good deal of time giving testimony to his faith. His band is well suited to supporting his fine voice with all solid musicians none of whom seems to feel a need to out shine their leader. Sparks provides a link to the earliest days of bluegrass. An accomplished flat picker as well as a great singer, his show is one that everyone interested in both the past and the present of bluegrass should appreciate.

It's hard to write extensive notes on the bands and their music as I sit in our snug trailer looking out on a raw rain and listening to members of both political parties seemingly place the election and their own posturing opinions above trying to find a solution for the good of the country. Perhaps, going back to good music and the people who appreciate their work will help lift my spirits this afternoon.