Sunday, January 31, 2010
YeeHaw Junction 2010 - Saturday
Saturday at YeeHaw Junction provided another day of warm weather and fine music. I'm going to focus on the two new bands that appeared here on Saturday as well as taking some time to look around the grounds a bit. The forecast called for thunderstorms and high winds, and we did get the wind early on, but the rain never came, and late into the evening it remained warm enough to permit jammers to pick and others to listen dressed in t-shirts or light fleeces. Two new bands arrived to inject added energy into the mix. Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, familiar to this audience, returned from their Caribbean cruise with a new configuration and renewed energy to lay down two extremely entertaining and enjoyable sets. Hard Ryde, a Canadian band which had been on Smith's cruise, was new to the audience and to me. This is a very strong band which was well received and deserves to be heard more frequently here in the States.
As readers of this blog know, I like to highlight a group we've never heard that surprises me for its quality and sound at a festival. Here at YeeHaw Junction, the Canadian band Hard Ryde takes that distinction hands down. Billing themselves as Canada's premiere bluegrass band, their music encompasses a variety of styles and genres, including bluegrass, old-time, country, and jazz. From their first few chords, I knew their performance would be interesting and enjoyable. Combining traditional covers with plenty of new and band originated songs, Hard Ryde offers a diverse and easily accessible program of first rate music. I look forward to seeing them more frequently south of the border.
Promoters Victor Hall and Keith Bass
Emcee Evan Carl
Promoters Bass and Hall
Valerie Smith brings and unusual background and style to her band and her work at bluegrass festivals. With a degree in Musical Theater, she sings, dances, moves, and sell her songs like a Broadway show stopper. Along with that, she brings a winsome and pleasant stage personality and a range of musical choices to the performance. All this comes together to make Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike a very enjoyable package providing a change of pace and elevating the energy level whereever they perform. Singer/Songwriter and talented mult-instrumentalist Becky Buller melds perfectly with smith. Her striking red hair and lithe movement on stage complement Smith's look and sound while blending personalities and sound. Ernie Evans has brought strong instrumental work on three instruments, at least, as well as good vocals to the band. The recent addition of Rebekah Long on bass is a welcome addition. She's a first rate bass player and fits into the animated and lively performance this group offers. Liberty Pike delivers a huge sound for a four piece band and presents a show that goes far beyond a simple performance of songs. They use a range of material that maintains high interest and generates genuine enthusiasm from the audience.
Valerie, Becky and Ernie
Around the Festival
Marty - The 50/50 Lady
Mike and Mary Robinson - Bluegrass Evangelists