Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Special 2010 - Spring

As our 2010 season wended its way north, following warm weather as it spread, we first stopped in Cherryville, NC for the Darren and Brooke Aldridge Festival before going to Wilkesboro, NC for Pete Wernick's Jam Camp and our annual end of April event, Merlefest.  During the month of April, we moved from a very small festival presenting up-and-coming bands as well as showcasing young people not known outside their region to one of the largest and most important music festivals in the country.  We ended our trip by attending Bluegrass On the Waccamaw, a one day, free-to-the-public festival in Conway, SC.  The richness of the bluegrass experience is encompassed in this month-long series of festivals.  Come along, visit the people, and enjoy the experience. Some of the people will be familiar to you, while others might be new.  The pictures are in chronological order.

The Darin & Brooke Aldridge Festival
Cherryville, NC

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Darin & Brooke had a breakout year in 2010. Their self-titled CD received critical approval and extensive air play as they moved, by dint of talent and hard work, from being a local gospel band to being a national band playing bluegrass and gospel with a tinge of country music thrown in.  Audiences responded positively to their warmth, genuineness, and spot-on harmonies.  In the coming year look for them to extend their popularity still further.

Dennis Jones - WNCW-FM

The Harris Brothers, Reggie and Ryan, are best known in their home area of Lenoir, NC as well as Asheville, as a fine vocal duo playing blues, country, rock, jazz, and bluegrass.  Their versatility has made the extremely popular in the region, and they deserve a wider audience.
Reggie Harris

 Ryan Harris

The Harris Brothers with Darren Nicholson (Balsam Range)
and Darin Aldridge for a Jam

The Legendary J.D. Crowe

 Dr. Tom Bibey - Author
The Mandolin Case

Pete Wernick's Jam Camp

For the past several years, Irene and I have been attending Pete's Jam Camp before Merlefest.  Pete's approach to teaching jamming has been wildly successful at bringing closet pickers out of the closet and into jam circles.  He has recently developed a corps of Wernick Certified teachers to spread his approach still further.  For us, Jam Camp has always been fun, instructive, and beneficial. 

Steve Lewis, Jens Kruger, Pete Wernick

 Pete Teaching the Art of  Home Made Ear Plugs

Pete and Joan Wernick Singing Together

Merlefest - Wilkesboro, NC
Wilkes Community College

Each year, during the last full weekend in April,  music fans of almost all stripes come to Wilkesboro for this musical feast of "traditional - plus."  That means that almost any kind of acoustic or plugged in music with some kind of connection to traditional roots music can be found here.  If you're looking for bluegrass, you'll find it here, and you'll find just about anything else that's grown out of America's musical heritage, too.  During the eight years we've attended, we've been stimulated, wowed, and, sometimes, turned off, but usually entertained and sometimes challenged.  

Rhonda Vincent

The Gibson Brothers

The Gibson Brothers found instant success after twenty years on the road and five CD's which had climbed to number one in the bluegrass charts.  This year people who had never heard them before were captivated by their singing, songwriting, and stage magic.  It was, indeed, a magical year for them.

Eric & Leigh Gibson

Taj Mahal

Doc Watson at the Traditional Stage

Missy Raines - The New Hip has two meanings

The Gibson Brothers at Walker Center

Eric & Leigh Gibson

Tut Taylor

A pioneer of his instrument, the Dobro, as well as in acoustic music, Tut played on John Hartford's genre busting Steam Powered Aereo Plane recording.  Still active at age 87 with a new CD produced by Jerry Douglas and contributed to by many current major Dobro players, Tut is a true giant in acourstic music.

Tut Taylor

Jeff Parker - Dailey & Vincent

Jerry Douglas, Terry Baucom, Scott Vestal

Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley

Sam Bush

Dierks Bentley & Brian Simpson watching Sam

Gabrielle Gray (Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum
Looks on as Dr. Tom Bibey starts the People's Mandolin on its jouurney.
Irene Lehmann took it on its first leg.

Sam Bush at Mando Mania

Carol Young (The Greencards) and Fan

Tut Taylor with the People's Mandolin

Doc Watson Receives Honorary Doctorate
Berklee School of Music

Steve Martin
Breaking New Ground in Bluegrass

Elvis Costello - Legendary Rocker
Check out the Bluegrassers in his Band

Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys)
Ronnie McCoury (The Del McCoury Band)

Maura Shawn Scanlin - Celtic Fiddler
Our Long Time Seat Mate

Sunday Afternoon Crowd for the Avett Brothers

Joe Kwon and Bob Crawford

Seth Avett

Bluegrass on the Waccamaw - Conway, SC

Red White and Bluegrass

Red White was a pioneering bluegrass band leader and radio personality in the lowlands of North and South Carolina.  His family still follows in his tradition.

Barbara White Old

Gwen White Johnson

Samantha Snyder - Ten Year Old Fiddle Wizard

Zeb Snyder - Guitar Virtuoso

Darin Aldridge

Brooke Aldridge

Lizzie Long

Little Roy Lewis - Still Touring after 50+ Years


After several major band changes a revived Grasstowne has added new energy and commitment to the very strong singing and playing of Steve Gulley and Alan Bibey.

Adam Haynes

Ron Stewart

Steve Gulley

Alan Bibey

Our spring season ended in Conway as we headed north for the New England season.  More to come next week.