Friday, August 3, 2012

Podunk 2012 - Thursday

Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival opened its seventeenth season in its new home at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT with a fine evening of varied styles of bluegrass from three contrasting bands. The new venue, according to the people we talked to, will take a little getting used to, but by the end of the evening the response was generally positive. Clean and spacious restrooms, varied vendors offering typical ballpark food including a variety of high quality craft beers at reasonable prices, and a ball field with soft, real grass all contributed to an enjoyable opening day.  By nightfall the campground, on an open field, was beginning to fill and the crowd was enjoying the music to its fullest.  Two camping areas, one reserved for quiet camping, provide plenty of space.

5:00 PM Rush to Seating

 Emcee Kim Cyr

 Promoter Roger Moss

The Roys
Elaine & Lee Roy w/their Dad

Elaine Roy

Eighteen months of hard road work and lots of woodshedding along with a corps of young, strong sidemen has yielded impressive results.  The Roys have done their homework and now are beginning to reap the rewards. Their new songs are strong and they have a new release hitting the market now with more in the can. They were appreciatively received by the Podunk crowd.

Lee Roy

Clint White

Royal Masat

Harry Clark

 Sterling Masat

 Elaine Roy

LRB at the Workshop Stage

 Sammy Shelor

 The Hillbenders
Nolan Lawrence

The Hillbenders, showing the influence of Alan Munde's work at South Plains College in Texas, hit the stage with commitment, energy, and range. Their instrumental dynamics are controlled and most interesting, moving from quiet and controlled to a rock infused melee of strength and musicality. Song writing by Jimmy Rea is always interesting. Much of their work is singer/songwriter material from leader Nolan Lawrence and Rea. Mark Cassidy on banjo combines melodic and Scruggs styles reminiscent of Munde but with his own interpretation. Chad Graves on Dobro has developed a style which adds a percussive quality to the slide tones, creating new and innovative sounds with the instrument. This is very much a band to watch and enjoy as they continue to develop and mature.

Mark Cassidy

 Gary Rea

Chad Graves

Jimmy Rea

The Lonesome River Band

The Lonesome River Band is celebrating thirty years of touring and recording with three "Chronology" CD's including songs re-recorded from their history with number three on the way. This latest edition of LRB is more than well-equipped to reprise its entire history with one of its strongest bands ever. From one end of the line to the other, they exude strength, commitment, and integrity. Sammy Shelor's banjo work is spare and strong, never calling attention to itself at the expense of the entire band sound. Brandon Rickman is one of the top vocalists in bluegrass today and underestimated as a flat pickers. The addition of Randy Jones on tenor vocals and mandolin has proven itself to be inspired. Mike Hartgrove and Barry Reed both look as if they're having more fun than we've ever seen in this band. 

Sammy Shelor

 Randy Jones

Mike Hartgrove

Barry Reed
Brandon Rickman

More tomorrow!