Sunday, January 25, 2009

YeeHaw Junction - Saturday

The day dawned bright and sunny and proceeded to become nothing short of delightful - warm enough for a solid drive-in crowd to arrive and enjoy itself. When the sun set it became chilly quite quickly, but many people stayed to the very end, despite the chill air.

Fiddle Championship Nerves
The day began with the YeeHaw Junction fiddle championships. Click here to view the entire fiddle championship lineup. Tomorrow I'll post another album with pictures of the winners. Feel free to download individual pictures for your own pleasure. They should be good enough quality for you to print sizes up to 8x10. I usually leave such albums up for at least 30 days. Don't link to them, as the link will fail after about a month.

Al Batten & the Bluegrass Reunion

As I've watched this excellent North Carolina mainstay, I've become convinced they're one of the very best traditional bands anywhere. For more than three decades they've exemplified all that's good about bluegrass music. working full-time jobs and performing when and where they can. Their repertoire is mostly covers of classic greats, their musicians superb. They'll never garner enough attention to contend for national awards, but they should be heard and treasured by those who enjoy the best.

Al Batten

Johnny Ridge

Mike Aldridge

Jeff Huffman

Phil Patterson

Dry Branch Fire Squad

Dry Branch Fire squad also has a history going back to the early days of bluegrass music. Ron Thomason attended the first bluegrass festival in Virginia and has been touring with this legendary band since the mid-seventies. He brings humorous and piercing satirical comedy to the bluegrass wrapped in a band singing style of primitive power that presents both gospel music and traditional songs in powerful and meaning infused ways. His rendition of "Echo Mountain" evokes the shared destiny of humans and their "animals of a different species" friends in a tragic tale of enormous power. The resulting mix is not always to everyone's taste, but careful listening to his stories and anecdotes as well as the band's singing and musicality provides a deeply meaningful experience beyond mere entertainment. Their "Live from Newburyport Fire House" album offers very fine examples of the huge strengths of this band. A new CD hits the streets in a few days.
Ron Thomason
Brian Aldridge

Tom Boyd

Dan Russell

The rest of the day's bands were repeats from the very good Friday lineup. What follows is a collection of band and crowd pictures that I hope captures the spirit of YeeHaw Junction.

Hundred Year Old Fan

Steve & Donald Dowdy (Bluegrass Brothers)

Billy Hurt, Jr. (Bluegrass Brothers)

Bass Workshop

Gary Waldrep

Dry Branch Fire Squad

Mike Andes (Nothin' Fancy)

Chris Sexton & Mitchell Davis (Nothin' Fancy)

The Moron Brothers

Ron Thomason