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Friday, February 17, 2012
Palatka Bluegrass Festival 2012 - Thursday
Sunrise at Palatka - Wednesday
When the leadership at Rodeheaver Boys Ranch decided to use a bluegrass festival as one of their prime fund raising efforts they decided to do it the right way, just as they approach running the ranch generally. They've put in over 500 water and electric camping sites, built a wonderful performance shed with an associated snack bar/shop, and laid out the ground for the convenience of campers who come to this fine event in good numbers now twice a year. They hired Norman Anderson and Tony Anderson to produce the show for them and have involved the boys living on the ranch in ways that keep them present without placing too much focus on them. The result has become the largest traditional bluegrass festival held each year in Florida. Even with new seating arrangements lessening the pressure to arrive early, the community begins to arrive on the Sunday before the festival begins to enjoy the fellowship of being together as a bluegrass community and the ambiance of the ranch itself.
Steve & Suzanne Host an Ice Cream Social
Jeff King - Rodeheaver Development Director
Festival Ramrod for the Ranch
New Concrete Floor and Reserved Seating Matrix
The Ranch Dining Room
Serving Breakfast & Dinner Dailey
The Dining Hall
One of the Boy's Family Houses
A new wrinkle at Palatka this year is Gilbert Nelson teaching a Wernick Style bluegrass jamming class during the festival, each morning from 10:00 until noon. Pete Wernick's Jam Camps have long been well-known to festival goers. In the past year he has certified a group of bluegrass musicians and teachers around the country to teach jamming using his non-threatening, group-centered approach. Gilbert Nelson is conducting the first one of these at an Adams & Anderson event here at Palatka.
Gil Nelson - Wernick Style Jam Teacher
Jack Jackson - Open Mic
Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys
Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys are the successor group to The Wildwood Valley Boys and descended from the Boys from Indiana. Holt, now fronting the band, has assembled a solid group of pickers and singers, including noted singer-songwriter Aubrey Holt, the only remaining member of the Boys from Indiana. The band presented two lively and solid sets of traditional bluegrass music.
The Future of Bluegrass
Audie Blaylock & Redline
Audie Blaylock & Redline continues to develop and improve as a traditional band using increasing amounts of original material. His hard driving sound and work ethic have helped develop the band into an exciting and enjoyable group to watch. Patrick McAvinue is the only remaining member of the original band and continues to do a great job at fiddle, having become increasingly poised and comfortable on the stage. Young Russ Carson on banjo is solid and personable. This weekend he was joined by mandolin master Jesse Brock, whose fast, accurate picking and infectious enthusiasm added mightily to the group. Mountain Heart's Jason Moore filled in on bass...always a treat. Excellent work all around.
Marty Raybon & Full circle
Veteran Mary Raybon was in good voice and a good mood as he and his young band laid down a strong couple of sets on Thursday. Singing songs from his career in country music with Shenendoah as well as classic bluegrass material, he delivered a solid performance.
Sherry Boyd - Emcee par Excellance
Ned Luberecki Prepares Sirius/XM Show
Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys
Jesse McReynolds, at something over age 80, still picks with speed and skill and sings well. He's surrounded himself with a strong group of performers, including two of his grandchildren, who together put on a varied, interesting and high energy show. A regular feature of Adams & Anderson productions is that they feature legends of bluegrass in the lineup. It's always a genuine treat to hear and see these people, despite their being past their prime, as well as to be exposed to newer bands just coming onto the circuit and the established headliners of today. It's a formula that makes this partnership's festivals work. Meanwhile the band played standards from the Jim & Jesse days, classic bluegrass, gypsy fiddle music, and a couple of Grateful Dead songs Jesse's tribute album to this band. McReynolds still maintains his experimental spirit and willing to fit new music to his bluegrass style.
Ranch Boys at Work
Chris Jones & the Night Drivers
Chris Jones & the Night Drivers are an always entertaining band to hear and watch. Composed of three of bluegrass Nashville's most visible, or at least hearable, media personalities, the band featurs excellent original material presented with passion, and where appropriate, humor. Chris Jones leads the band with a light hand, giving plenty of room for byplay. Ned Luberecki, perhaps an under-appreciated banjo player whose versatility and tone are among the very best, manages to be serious and a clown simultaneously. Jon Weisberger has written many of the band's songs as has leader Jones. Mark Stoffel, who comes from Germany, contributes wondeful tone and good humor to the band on mandolin. The band has been seen more widely in the past couple of years, at least partly because they can continue to prepare their broadcasts from remote locations, but also because they deserve the wider attention they're receiving.
Carlton Spence Palatka Grand Marshall - 2012
Dailey & Vincent
Dailey & Vincent made their fist festival appearance here at Palatka four years ago. The story of these two able and committed sidemen deciding to form their own band after years of fruitful apprenticeship with Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs, respectively, is one of careful planning, saving, building a business plan, and working hard and faithfully to fulfill their plans. The result has been huge success in bluegrass as well as an increasingly wide crossover audience in southern gospel and country music. Their two Cracker Barrel CD's as well as their performances in arts centers and football stadiums have shown their broad appeal and brought new audiences to bluegrass. Dailey & Vincent's 2012 touring show provides another example of a carefully crafted melange of traditional bluegrass, deeply faithful gospel music, humorous clowning, and musical excellence. The new show contains sufficient new material to allow people who see them more-or-less frequently not to become enured to their material and enough selections from their hits from previous years to keep fans screaming for more. The addition to fiery fiddler B.J. Cherryholmes to the band has raised the level of drive and contributed well to the band's overall effect. Careful choreography and stage changes keep their ninety minute show interesting and lively. Look for Dailey & Vincent at your local festival or other music venue. They're a don't miss attraction.
Parker Does His Thing
The eighth edition of the Palatka Bluegrass Festival got off to a fine start with wonderful weather on Thursday. More great bands will be here for the next couple of days and, while rain is forecast, it should be warm and the showers intermittent. Regardless, if you come on out, you'll have a fine time.