Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jenny Brook - Saturday

Overcast and warm, mist drifting over the mountains, leaves upside down, great music, enthusiastic audience, then drizzle becoming downpour, and rain, rain, rain. Throughout it all, the bands kept playing, people danced in the rain, huddled in the tents, and sat under ponchos and umbrellas in their seats. And the bands played on.

Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters continued the high quality country-bluegrass mix with Amy’s sweet voice perfectly complemented by Roger Williams on the Dobro. Hazel and Mac Magee and their White Mountain Bluegrass Band brought more than fifty years experience of old time country and bluegrass with grace and even elegance. Smokey Greene, seventy-eight years old and sounding like a well seasoned piece of old spruce, sang his own special brand of tunes accompanied by son Scott on bass. Dan Paisley and Southern Grass completed two sets of their hard driving bluegrass, which, after years of regional acclaim but not enough national notice is finally getting the attention they deserve. Acoustic Blue had another fine set. The Old Time Bluegrass Singers sang. The schedule was rejiggered because of a late arrival, but it didn’t really matter. The Gibson Brothers completed their first set as the deluge began. The Seth Sawyer Band, deserving more than to be a host band and play to nearly empty seats, gave its all, which is really quite good. More White Mountain Bluegrass and Dan Paisley. The Gibson Brothers returned to close and in the pouring rain played a five song encore which still wasn’t enough for the fans they own, who sat in the rain and cheered. And the rains continued.

Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters

Amy Gallatin

John Urbanek

Ben Pearce

Amy Gallatin

White Mountain Bluegrass
Hazel McGee
Mac McGee
Jackie Greenwood
Herman McGee
Gary Pomerleau
Smokey and Scott Greene
Kids Academy Rehersal

Leigh Gibson and Family
Lyn Hayes, Corinna Gibson, Allie Gibson, Andrea Rockwood
The Gibson Girls

Leigh and Eric Gibson

Rick Hayes

Clayton Campbell

Mike Barber

The Gibson Cr0wd

Bill Knowlton


The sun's breaking through as I post this at 9:45 Sunday morning, but the weather forecast suggests it won't last. I'll post a final set of pictures and an overall assessment of this fine event on Monday or Tuesday. Gotta run.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jenny Brook Festival - Friday

Friday at Jenny Brook featured great music, large and enthusiastic crowds, a little rain that cleared just in time, and a perfect festival day. I won’t write much today, because time and computer access are limited, and I want to put a bunch of pictures up. A few highlights are worth mentioning. First, for me, Acoustic Blue turns out to be one of those regional bands professional in every way. Their sound is traditional, their on stage personality delightful, and their musicianship exemplary. I’ll have more to say about this fine group in my wrap up next week.

Acoustic Blue

Shawn Batho (Acoustic Blue)

Bear Acker (Acoustic Blue)

Cory Zinc and Mike Van Alstine (Acoustic Blue)

Smokey Greene

Bill Knowlton (Emcee)

Almost exactly two months ago we saw the Dan Tyminski Band close Merlefest on a dreary, wet Sunday afternoon after most of the crowd had gone home. They came on stage to see a huge field of empty reserved seats. I thought they were as drab as the weather, but decided to hold my fire, knowing I’d be seeing them on Friday at Jenny Brook. Dan Tyminski is a native of West Rutland, VT, a home town boy in this small state. Many of the people who play bluegrass in the region picked with him as he was growing up. His father Stosh came over as well as many people attracted by his reputation and name. No one left disappointed. Tyminski is supported, perhaps joined is a better word as this is truly a group effort, by a band including four musicians who have won IBMA best musician awards themselves. In two sets, the Tyminski band fired up an enthusiastic, raucous musical gourmet collection of the tastiest bluegrass anyone could wish for. Never have I seen Adam Steffey enjoying himself so much on the stage. He was always grinning, except when he was throwing his head back in full bore laughter. His communication with Tyminski was electric as they shared the moments. Ron Stewart was animated and lively as his banjo rang out great breaks and wonderfully tasteful backup work. Barry Bales, often seeming to be in his own world, served up wonderfully intricate bass work while always supporting with his beat. Justin Moses, quiet and unassuming on fiddle, contributed high tenor and wonderful instrumental work. When the band invited Dan Paisley on stage for a song, it was hard to tell whether the band or the crowd was more excited. The Tyminski Band is one of those not to be missed groups. Since no one knows whether the core of this band will be returning to Alison Krause after her tour with Robert Plant ends, you’d better see them while you can.

Dan Tyminski

Adam Steffey

Ron Stewart

Barry Bales

Justin Moses

Steffey and Tyminski

Dan Paisley with Tyminski Band

The Dan Paisley Band always offers the best in straight ahead, hard driving traditional bluegrass. Their two sets on Friday showed they can always be relied on. Rounder Records has released an album “The Room Over Mine” by the Paisley band and their well-deserved reputation is growing nationally. Paisley has one of the most powerful voices in bluegrass music. His band has been together for years and their tight work shows it. More about them tomorrow. Meanwhile, David Parmley and Continental Divide had two sets. Parmley, recently returned from heart surgery, has a wonderful baritone voice and is supported by a fine group. Their sets were very well received. In many other settings they’d be a top headliner. Smokey Greene, one of the few solo acts who can hold a crowd, had two fine sets. His mellow baritone and combination of classic country and humorous novelty songs is a favorite with bluegrass audiences up and down the east coast. Dan Tyminski had played in Smokey’s band as a youngster, and Greene’s introduction of him was heartfelt and touching. Not enough people heard the Seth Sawyer band on Friday, but they’ll be performing on Saturday. Sawyer’s fine tenor voice is one of the too little recognized treasures of the music.
Dan Paisley

Bob Lundy (Dan Paisley)

Donnie Eldreth (Dan Paisley)

David Parmley and Continental Divide

Ron Spears (David Parmley)

Dale Perry (David Parmley)

Mike Parker (David Parmley)

Billy Hurt (David Parmley)

Seth Sawyer Band

Faces of Bluegrass


Alice Waters
Brenda Mathews, Stosh Tyminski, Candi Sawyer
Clyde and Scott
Stosh and Dan Tyminski