Saturday, January 28, 2012

YeeHaw Junction Bluegrass Festival - Thurs & Friday - Review

YeeHaw Junction fits a traditional bluegrass fan like an old glove. You know, when you attend this Keith and Darlene Bass production that you'll hear familiar music played, mostly, by bands you've heard before or by bands you may not have heard but who will play music with which you're deeply familiar. Names like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers, Carter & Ralph Stanley, and classic country singer Merle Haggard will be sure to be heard and their music played. With luck, like we've experienced so far this week, the weather will be warm. There'll be plenty of jamming, lots of vendors serving a variety of food, and a professionally run, fan-friendly event just right for sno-birds coming south for some warm weather and Floridians wishing to hear more of their favorite music. The first two days were filled with good cheer and good music.

Hwy 41 South

Hwy 41 South is a regional band coming from southwestern Florida. They specialize in playing classic bluegrass covers and old country music, both of which they accomplish with skill. The band has recently opened for Claire Lynch and served as James King's backup band, a good opportunity for them.  Since their debut here at YeeHaw Junction two years ago, they have worked hard and continued to improve under the leadership of Mark Horn, mandolinist and lead singer. The addition of Steve Durrwachter on fiddle helps this band create a fuller, more complete sound. They appeared on Thursday.

Mark Horn

Robert Feathers
Steve Durrwachter
Donnie Harvey

 JR Davis

Dave Beaumont
Hwy 41 South - Perfume, Powder, & Lead - Video



Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers returned to the bluegrass trail a few years ago with a strongly traditional program heavily influenced by Flatt & Scruggs and the Osborne Brothers. The band also offers a good deal of original gospel material.  Joe Mullins is one of the very best traditional three finger pickers around, eschewing melodic, Reno, and clawhammer styles for Scruggs style, of which he is an acknowledged master. He's surrounded himself with a very able and personable young band of singers and players and created a highly recognizable sound, a difficult task for traditional bands to accomplish. The outcome has resulted in a flurry of nominations for awards, which will soon follow. The band's progress from their regional bass in Southwestern Ohio to national recognition has been quick and well-deserved.

Joe Mullins

Tim Kidd

Adam Macintoch

Evan MacGregor

Mike  Terry

Madison Gibson - Sound

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers - Boston Jail - Video


Alicia Nugent

Alicia Nugent unavoidably arrived late on Thursday as her plane had been cancelled due to weather coming from her home in Louisiana.  She arrived tired and hastled with a scratchy throat. Despite the difficult circumstances and playing with a band, many of whom had not even before stepping on stage. She soldiered through Thursday evening performing a long set. On Saturday she came out a paid back the audience with a high level, enthusiastic, professional, and entertaining pair of sets enjoyed by everyone.  Nugents voice is solid and pleasant. Many bluegrass people are critical of singers who don't play instruments. The voice is one of the most difficult of all instruments to play well, and Alicia Nugent plays hers very well indeed. Not allowing singers to be singers is a prejudice that no longer has any validity except to save money for a traveling band. As recording and performing technology have become ever more accurate, the possibility of a musician's excelling on more than one instrument diminishes.  That may be why there's so much recognition for Ron Stewart, who's truly world class on two. In addition to fine singing, Alicia Nugent is a likeable performer who draws the best from her band and provides plenty of lightness between her many songs of sad longing.  

Rusty Breedlove

Ryan Blevins
Beth Lawrence

 Colby Laney

Alecia Nugent - Hillbilly Goddess - Video


Alicia Nugent

The Travelers

The Travelers toured as a band back in the 1990's and then disbanded for other bands and pursuits. They've recently reassembled and begun to tour again. It's rare a band appears to have as much fun as this very entertaining and musically proficient band does.  Norman Wright and Kevin Church have had major band touring experience with the Country Gentlemen and the Bluegrass Cardinals. John Miller on guitar is a first rate flat picker and tenor singer who also produces from his studio. Mike Connor on base beings a solid bass as well as humor to the mix. This band has been, for us, the surprise band of this festival. They're well worth hearing and their sheer joy in performing together is infectious.

Kevin Church

Norman Wright
John Miller
Mike Connor

The Travelers - A Rose in a Spanish Garden - Video

Remington Ryde

Remington Ryde comes from the bluegrass hotbed of Pennsylvania. Featuring strong instrumental and vocal work along with good dollops of corny humor, the band is entertaining and enjoyable. They have continued to extend their reach, and this is their first appearance in Florida. They also were returning for the first cruise sponsored by the band, which, from all reports, was highly successful.

Danny Stewart
Billy Lee Cox
Ryan Frankhauser

Wally Yoder
Remington Ryde - Leaving - Video


Keith Bass - Promoter

 Evan Carl - Emcee

More Monday.....