Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Park 2012 - Sunday & Final Assessment

After Saturday's rain and then humid warmth into the evening, Sunday was a pleasant surprise filled with sunshine and the feel of a lazy Sunday of listening to a first rate gospel set and then lots of good bluegrass music for those who had the time and inclination to treat themselves with one more day of music. For some the day began with Mike and Mary Robinson's Gospel Sing and Jam as it does at many bluegrass festivals along the eastern seaboard.  Although there were relatively few jammers, people at Strawberry Park will learn about this institution as it continues in future years;

Mike & Mary Robinson
Gospel Sing & Jam

Morning Gospel Set
Lou Reid & Carolina

Veteran bluegrass singer and mandolin player brought his own band to Strawberry Park for the first time this weekend with a set featuring their most recent CD on Saturday night and a fine gospel set on Sunday morning just as his hit single "Carolina Moonshine Man" hit the top of the Bluegrass Today chart. Reid's fine tenor voice along with Shannon Slaughter's bass and Christy Reid's harmony creates a terrific sound and the instrumental effect of this very good four piece band is just right. Trevor Watson on banjo adds to the harmony and contributes drive on the banjo.

Lou Reid

Christy Reid 

Shannon Slaughter

Trevor Watson

Christy Reid's New England Look

Irene Watching

Brian Fitzgerald & Glenn Huffner
30 Years + at Strawberry Park 

The Boxcars

The Boxcars appeared on Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning with their tuneful blend on traditional bluegrass and fine instrumental work. Individually, the members of The Boxcars constitute one of the strongest combinations of versatility to be found. Each member is a master at his own instrument(s) and good band sound. The group never fails to deliver.

Ron Stewart

Keith Garrett

Adam Steffey

John Bowman
Harold Nixon

Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters

Amy Gallatin combines with partner Roger Williams to provide a tuneful and lively show that is well-known in New England and deserves broader national attention. Gallatin has a pleasant voice and sprightly manner. Williams is one of the best Dobro players around, although he is best known in New England, except by other Dobro players who respect his work and innovations on the instrument. Eric Levinson has been a fixture in the regional bluegrass scene for more than a generation. The emergence of J.D. Williams on mandolin and vocal harmonies as well as his backup on guitar has been remarkable during the past year.

Amy Gallatin

Roger Williams & Eric Levenson

J.D. Williams
Roger Williams

Danny Paisely & Southern Grass

Danny Paisley is busy building the third generation of his family's traditional sound coming out of the region north of Baltimore where Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware come together. Danny's twelve year old son Ryan has moved from enthusiastic backup boy in the back of the band to being an accomplished instrumentalist whose work stands on its own. It's always interesting to see which musicians other musicians come out front to watch. Paisley's fans always include this knowledgeable group.

Mark Delaney

Doug Meek

Ryan Paisley

 Eric Troutman

Danny Paisley

Musicians Watching

Cobra Sound

NewFound Road

NewFound Road made their Strawberry Park debut to a small but enthusiastic Sunday crowd. The highly accomplished musicians supporting the Tim Shelton's marvelous bluesy pop voice combines to deliver an attractive combination of bluegrass, country, and acoustic versions of pop hits that satisfies as it entertains.  Joe Booher on mandolin and Josh Miller on banjo and guitar are tops. Jamey Booher is excellent on bass and harmony vocals. 

Tim Shelton

 The Booher Brothers
Joe & Jayme 

Tim Shelton & Joe Booher

Josh Miller

Jayme Booher

Strawberry Park, despite one day of questionable weather was an artistic success. The crowd had a fine time as band after band presented their best work. It was a good opening of the New England festival season. Just as NewFound Road took the stage for the final set of the weekend, the clouds returned and, as they concluded the rains and thunder returned, but it has been a good weekend.