Thursday, March 1, 2012

Top of Georgia Bluegrass Jamboree - Dillard, GA - Preview

 The third annual Top of Georgia Bluegrass Jamboree will take place at the Dillard House Convention Center & Resort in Dillard, Georgia on March 16 & 17, 2012. While only three years old, The Top of Georgia has already established itself as a premier late winter indoor bluegrass festival held in a lovely spot featuring some of the best, and most varied, bluegrass bands in the business.  Top national bands and well established regional ones present the finest in contemporary and traditional bluegrass music in the welcoming confines of the James Room & Ball Room. Meanwhile, the hotel and dining room are well-recognized for their comfort and quality. I'm told that a few rooms remain in the Dillard House while other accommodations at a variety of prices are available nearby, including a campground.

The Lineup
The Gibson Brothers

Arguably the hottest band in bluegrass today, the Gibson Brothers took home major awards at both IBMA and SPBGMA this year. Album of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year (IBMA) and Song Writer of the Year, Song of the Year (SPBGMA) attest to the broad appeal of this exciting band. Intricate brother harmonies combine with wonderful musicality of a first rate band present the story songs and ballads of this able duo.  Twenty years of touring and hard work have made this band an "overnight" success. Their most recent CD "Help My Brother" headed the Bluegrass Unlimited chart for most of 2011.

Eric & Leigh Gibson Accept
Album of the Year (IBMA)
Claire Lynch Band

Claire Lynch's music is noted for its versatility and virtuosity. Her supple voice ranges from hard core bluegrass standards to swing and jazz. Her band has undergone several recent changes while continuing its standard of excellence. Mark Schatz on bass and dance is also a multiple IBMA award winner.  

Blue Highway

A hallmark of great bluegrass bands is the ability to retain the same personnel for sufficient periods of time to grow a distinctive sound.  Blue Highway has been together for seventeen years and released ten albums to critical and fan acclaim.  Dobro master Rob Ickes has won the IBMA Dobro Player of the Year award thirteen times during that period. Their current CD "Sounds of Home" is currently #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts.

Rob Ickes

 Wayne Taylor

Balsam Range
This relatively new bluegrass band coming from rural Haywood County, NC has hit the circuit with energy and conviction over the past several years. This year they were rewarded with their release of "Trains I've Missed" winning IBMA's Song of the Year award.  Their exceptional drive combines with a well-blended tunefulness to create great traditional sounding contemporary bluegrass.

 Marc Pruett

 Darin Nicholson

Audie Blaylock & Redline

Audie Blaylock successfully integrates his experience with Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys with his own unique bluegrass stylings and an increasingly strong band. Jesse Brock, former IBMA  mandolin player of the year, is currently touring with Blaylock.  We heard them a couple of weeks ago at Palatka, and they were the best they've ever been.
Audie Blaylock

Newfound Road
Tim Shelton

Newfound Road has transitioned from a primarily gospel bluegrass band to a contemporary band presenting a wide range of material while never forgetting its roots. Lead singer Tim Shelton has one of the finest, most soulful bluegrass voices around, while Joe Booher and Josh Miller are instrumental wizards on mandolin and banjo/guitar.  
Joe Booher

The Crowe Brothers

Coming from Maggie Valley, deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, the Crowe Brothers continue to reaffirm the traditional sounds of bluegrass music from its geographic origins. 

Curtis Blackwell & the Dixie Bluegrass Boys

The Foxfire Boys

We look forward to hearing these two experienced regional bands we've never heard before, too.  They help round out a superb lineup for this exciting two day event. You can find the schedule and ticket information on the festival web site

The Dillard House
Conference Center & Restaurant

Dillard, Georgia lies nestled in the southern end of the Appalachian chain of mountains just a few miles south of the North Carolina border. It's a convenient driving distance for a weekend getaway from Knoxville, Chattanooga, Charlotte, and Atlanta. The Top of Georgia Bluegrass Jamboree promises to be a weekend of inspired bluegrass music from some of the very best bands in the genre.

How to Get to the Dillard House Conference Center

View Larger Map

This will be our first visit to this corner of Georgia, and we're looking forward to getting there early, exploring, and then enjoying seeing new people and hearing great music. Please stop us to say hello when you see us there.