Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival - Okeechobee, FL - Feb. 10 - 12
The first annual Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival will be presented by KD Bass Productions and the Seminole Tribe of Florida at the Fred Smith Arena in Okeechobee, FL from Friday, February 10 - Sunday February 12th. Weekend tickets at the gate are $60. For information about tickets and camping, which has already opened, call the rervation at 863-467-6039. National bluegrass bands will be the Grasstowne, Alecia Nugent, and Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad. A special performance by Brulé, a Native American fusion band described as providing a "unique blend of contemporary Native American sounds and rhythms in a powerfully stunning performance," will be the featured event on Friday and Saturday evenings. Convenient to music fans throughout southern Florida, this festival will present first rate bluegrass as well as an exciting, engaging cross cultural experience.
Under the leadership of mandolin master Alan Bibey, Grasstowne has continued to grow and develop as the needs and health of the founding members have forced changes in personnel. All people familiar with this band wish Phil Leadbetter, courageously and with wonderful spirit fighting cancer, and Steve Gulley, who's joined his lifetime friend Dale Ann Bradley's band, the best. Meanwhile, Grasstowne has recently been joined by Dustin Pyrtle on guitar and singing lead vocals. He joins Adam Haynes on fiddle, Justin Jenkins on banjo, and Kameron Keller on bass to continue the tradition of fine picking and excellent presentation of new material along with classic bluegrass and country songs. We're eager to see and hear this new configuration.
Alecia Nugent returns to Florida for the second time in two weeks, bringing her fine singing voice along with her engaging personality along with her. Look for her to offer fine singing supported by a band well-chosen to help showcase her talents.
Kickin' Grass Band (NC)
We haven't seen Kickin' Grass in several years, and are eager to hear and see them again. Jamie Dawson and his wife Lynda have been building this band in the intensely competitive bluegrass environment of North Carolina for nearly ten years. 2011 was something of a breakout year for them as they've continued to develop.
Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad
Strong gospel music and hard driving bluegrass characterize this veteran band.
Still-House, recently formed from the former Carrie Hassler and Second Wind band, is a new one to me. If the performances of the Kevin and Keith McKinnon are any indication of the rest of the hot young pickers who've joined them, bluegrass fans can expect a hard driving intense bluegrass band which claims its roots in traditional bluegrass leavened by the great bands of the nineties like J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Lonesome River Band, and IIIrd Tyme Out. Look for a lively and musical good time with this band.
Hwy 41 South
Hwy 41 South is a regional band from southwest Florida which has shown constant improvement since its first festival appearance two years ago. Adding Steve Durrwachter on fiddle to their mix was a good idea, supplementing Robert Feathers' excellent work on guitar. JR Davis brings years of singing in country bands to the bluegrass mix while Donnie Harvey on banjo and leader Mark Horn on mandolin and lead vocals are strong. Dave Beaumont has joined the band on bass. Good stuff.
Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express
Promoter Keith Bass along with a crew of fine bluegrass pickers play mostly traditional covers with a solid mix of excellent material from the Country Gentlemen. The band is solidly enjoyable.
The story of Brulé provides more than a little of what makes them unique and attractive. Leader Paul LaRoche was adopted as an infant and only connected with his Native American roots when into his thirties. He traveled to the Lower Brulé Sioux Reservation where he met his birth parents and felt strongly drawn to his traditional roots. Out of this, he and his wife Kathy developed the AIRO (American Indian Rock Opera) and have traveled the world with it. More about the Brulé story as well as pictures and videos can be found on their web site. Irene and I are both excited about seeing and hearing this group in an appropriate environment. The band should provide a great show along with an interesting change of pace.
How to Get to the Fred Smith Arena
For further information about the festival, you can look at both sides of the festival flyer here and here. With only two weeks between their successful event at YeeHaw Junction and Seminole Wind this weekend, Keith and Darlene Bass are creating a bluegrass power center in southern Florida.
Keith and Darlene Bass