Friday, September 14, 2012
Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival - Thursday
Dumplin Valley opened to sunshine, an excellent crowd, as well varied, tuneful, and even exciting musical performances. Each band was distinctively different, showing strength in programming, too.
Paul Williams & the Victory Trio
At age seventy-seven Paul Williams' voice remains clear and pure, piercing through to the heart with his deeply held conviction. Having retired from the road for many years, he re-dedicated his life and has toured, spreading the gospel in song and testimony for many years. He combines the fervor of his faith with an impish smile and humor, lightening his message while never reducing his conviction.
Father & Son
Paul and Richie Williams
Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
Jimbo Whaley, along with Kipper Stitt founding members of Pine Mountain Railroad, has assembled an entertaining and talented band which appears with gusto and enthusiasm, maintaining its energy throughout their performance. The band represents the dilemma faced by so many bluegrass musicians. When the lure of the road is counterbalanced by the demands of home, family, and responsibility, reality often overcomes romance. Often denigrated by people who are eager to see touring national bands, groups like these are fine performers worthy of attention and recognition. While constant performance on the road can serve to sharpen and strengthen a band's performance, there are many bands across the nation deserving serious attention. This is certainly one of them. Whaley is a talented song writer along with being a strong singer. The other members of the band are strong, too.
Joe Soward on Channel 10
Joe Soward & Norman Adams
Lou Reid & Carolina
Lou Reid celebrated his 58th birthday performing at Dumplin Valley with his own band, Carolina. Touring now for twenty years, Lou Reid & Carolina has a deep catalog of its own songs in addition to material from the Seldom Scene, with which Reid has also toured for many years. The interaction between Reid and his wife of ten years, Christie, is loving and funny, both engaging in the kind of couple's banter that's amusing without ever becoming edgy. Kevin Richardson's rejoining the band. with which he had toured for six years previously. allows no loss in the transition. Trevor Watson is always reliable on banjo as well as singing baritone harmony in the gospel. This band always provides reliable bluegrass from Monroe to today. Reid's distinctive tenor voice and first rate mandolin is a huge asset to the genre.
The Soward Family
Mitzi, Julie Winter, Joe & Eliza
Guys & Trucks
Cordle, Jackson & Salley w/Val Storey
When three of the most prolific and awarded singer/songwriters in bluegrass (and Country) music combine with a singer whose voice is of unsurpassed beauty and color merge to showcase each other's work, a magical evening is sure to ensue. As the first line of so many of the songs hits home there's a moment of realization where members of the audience say "I didn't know he wrote that song. But he did, and its another great one. Each of these people - Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley - likes and respects the other. They write together frequently, produce each others' work, and have a low keyed stage presence that communicates these qualities along with fine musicianship and singing. Val Storey, a great gospel singer and much in demand back-up singer and voice on demo recordings, complements the three writers perfectly. It all provided a wonderful extended session of nearly two hours of magical music for an entranced audience who didn't want to let it end.
At the Merch Table
Cordle, Salley, Storey, & Jackson
with Promoter Joe Soward & Emcee Freddy Smith