Thursday, March 3, 2011

LRB & Grasstowne Headline Benefit - March 19 - Conway, SC

The Rivertown Bluegrass Society and the Omar Shriners are sponsoring a benefit bluegrass concert at Conway High School in Conway, SC on March 19th.  The Lonesome River Band, Grasstowne, The Wilson Family, and local favorite Red White & Bluegrass are scheduled to perform.  These four bands present four distinct styles of bluegrass, each excellent in its own right and together presenting a feast of almost-spring music for the Grand Strand area and those wishing to drive in for the day.  The concert is a benefit sub-titled "Improving the Lives of Children Benefit."  In addition to gate receipts, there will be a fine Terry Holt F-style mandolin offered in a drawing and vendors all making contributions to the Shriners.  (According to Charity Navigator, 87% of Shrine contributions go to program expenses) Doors open at 1:00 PM. The show starts at 2:00 and runs until 10:00 PM. Tickets cost $25.00 for general admission and $30.00 for reserved seats. For tickets, call:  Donna Llewellyn at 843-902-3748 or Jim Blevins at 843-385-1649.

The Lonesome River Band
The Lonesome River Band has had a storied career with many greats of bluegrass having cycled through the band as the years have passed.  The current band is accorded by many to be one of the best LRB aggregations ever.  Last year, band front man and driving force Sammy Shelor was nominated again for IBMA banjo player of the year.  Singer/songwriter Brandon Rickman continues to shine with many of his songs in the band's set list.  It has been announced that tenor singer Andy Ball is returning to school full time, so I can't say whether he'll be in Conway or who might be in that slot.  Mike Hartgrove on fiddle brings solid backup and solo work to the band.  Barry Reed on bass is the newest member of the band, returning the sound of acoustic bass to it with a strong bass beat.  LRB's music has been described as bluegrass music with a rock sensibility. Rickman's acclaim as a country song writer means this band fills the musical needs of many, while always staying a bluegrass band.

Sammy Shelor

Brandon Rickman

Mike Hargrove

Andy Ball

Barry Reed

Lonesome River Band - Record Time Machine


Grasstowne recently made some personnel changes that added depth to its lineup and increased its range. Founders Steve Gulley, fabled tenor vocalist, and Alan Bibey, one of the best mandolin players you can find, bring traditional bluegrass credentials, a love for classic country music, and open minds about how to write and interpret their songs to the stage.  Each can sing lead and write songs. Gulley is much sought after for his harmony vocals, which can be heard on many recordings, too.  Bibey, a marvelous stylist on the mandolin makes his work seem effortless, a result of his many years of constant practice.   Adam Haynes, on fiddle, has played with some of the best bands in bluegrass, always adding his own sound as well as strond baritone hamonies.  Justin Jenkins on banjo, fresh from some very good work with Blue Moon Rising, brings strength without excessive flash.  Kameran Keller on bass, a student at East Tennessee State University, is very solid on bass.  The band has found new energy and generates a level of excitement they haven't shown since their earliest days as a band.  With their first CD set for release on March 8th, there's a good chance it will be available for people attending this concert.

Alan Bibey

Steve Gulley

Adam Haynes

Dustin Jenkins

 Kameron Keller

Grasstowne - Little Cabin Home on the Hill - Video

The Wilson Family Band
The Wilson Family have been friends of ours for four or five years and we've enjoyed watching the kids grow from late childhood into adolescence and onto cusp of adulthood.  Musically and as people they represent everything you'd want a family band to stand for. While dedicated to their music, the family never loses track of living and functioning in the world, with both Clint and Katie continuing in public school and engaging in school-related activities.  While beginning their band work as primarily a gospel band and continuing to sing in churches regularly, the Wilsons have added an interesting range of secular bluegrass and country music to their repertoire as the musical tastes of Clint on banjo and Katie, a fiddler, have broadened and become more complex.  Clint is a talented song writer, who has a song on the new Blue Moon Rising CD.  He keeps busy writing songs and traveling to Florida to visit his girl-friend while continuing to progress on his degree at Valdosta State University. Bruce Sheriden, from St. Mary's Georgia, is known as the fifth Wilson. He plays bass and provides a hint of sanity.  In the past couple of years, The Wilson Family has spread its wings from southeast Georgia and North Florida to South Carolina, Kentucky, and Nashville, where they showcased at IBMA last September.  This band will warm your heart while pleasing your ear.

Katy Wilson

Clint Wilson

Bruce Sheriden
Melissa Wilson

 Robert Wilson

Red White & Bluegrass

Red White & Bluegrass is primarily a gospel bluegrass band following in the footsteps of the father of two of the members, the late Red White, who hosted a popular gospel program on the radio out of Wilmington, NC.  This group continues to be a local favorite, and last year made their first appearance at IBMA.  Featuring the singing of two sisters, Gwen White Johnson and Barbara White Olds along with Chris Holmes creating a family sound are joined by other members to make a lively, close knit band worth hearing. Josh Greene has joined the band on fiddle.

Gwen White Johnson

Barbara White Olds

 Chris Holmes

Josh Greene

How to Get to Conway High School

This will be an exciting and enjoyable day in Conway.  I understand that tickets are already in short supply, so call to make your reservations. If you come, please be sure to take a moment to say "Hey" to Irene and me.