Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tennessee Fall Homecoming 2012 - Sunday & Assessment

Walton View Farm Provided All Stage Settings

Sunday morning at the Tennessee Fall Homecoming dawned overcast and threatening, but the weather brightened as the day progressed. Nevertheless, the backstage fire in the huge fireplace provided welcome warmth. All festival promoters are plagued with the spectre of Sunday. Attendees, whether they're camping on the premises (not available at the Museum of Appalachia), staying nearby, or driving from homes in the area, often reach the end of the weekend with other priorities which draw them away from the event, no matter how powerful the lineup or attractive the surroundings. While headliners drew large crowds to the main stage and stage 2, the parking lot told the tale of reduced Sunday attendance. This was too bad, because Sunday offered lots of prime music as well as continued excellence from the vendors and demonstrators in the museum buildings.

Master Peace BG Band

 The Pinnacle Mountain Boys

Steve Gulley, Alan Collins, Don Gulley

Leroy Troy
The always entertaining Leroy Troy, with his Uncle Dave Macon style clawhammer banjo, performed as a solo for all three days at every stage.

Leroy Troy

A Good Day to be Working Over the Forge

Paul Williams & the Victory Trio

Paul Williams' long career began with a stint with Jimmy Martin and now is totally devoted to singing gospel music in a clear, strong tenor voice with deep conviction. His fans love to hear him and anyone with an ear to hear can perceive his excellence, whether they share his faith or not. 

 Paul Wiliams, Adam Winstead & Dan Moneyhun

Jerry Keys

Susie Keys

Audience at Stage Two for Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Broom Maker

Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier

 I often hear from people that they know local bands or, better still, jam bands out in the field that are better than the bands they hear on stage. This is a nice legend, which generally doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier is an excellent band which, perhaps, proves the rule. Led by the dynamic Jimbo Whaley and the more phlegmatic, but equally excellent banjo player Kipper Stitt, both founding members of Pine Mountain Railroad, the band also features the superb multi-instrumentalist Roger Helton and talented Dobro player Matt Leadbetter as well as Scott Carris on bass, this band has it all - fast pace, entertaining patter, excellent musicianship, and first rate original songs.  If you get a chance to see them, take advantage of it, because they don't travel far from their base in Pigeon Forge, TN.

 Jimbo Whaley
Kipper Stitt

Roger Helton

Scott Carris & Matt Leadbetter

Scott Carris

Hammered Dulcimer Sound Drew Me 
Into this Humble Cottage

Lonesome Meadow

This Ohio-based family band is impressive on a number of fronts. Their instrumental work is exceptional while their vocals improve as they age. They take chances with their musical choices, including covers of contemporary bands as well as classic bluegrass. Two of the kids (John on Guitar and Ann Marie on mandolin and fiddle) are currently enrolled in demanding engineering programs at Ohio State while they continue to pursue musical excellence.  The youngest member, Gary, is a fine banjo player who also is continuing in public school. Father Mark Jackson wisely stays in the background. The kids are engaging and inventive.

 Anne Marie Jackson

John Jackson

Gary Jackson
Mark Jackson

Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain
Melvin Goins

Melvin Goins is an oldtimer who's been around and remains lively and engaging as he presents bluegrass standards and familiar classic country material from his own long history. It was reassuring to see young Kyle Ramey as a working sideman in this group. Kyle, only ten years old, has been featured as a child prodigy for several years, taking guest turns with various bands. Here he functioned as a highly capable member of the band, contributing both fine solos and first rate fills, licks, and an improving chop. This is the kind of experience more young players need to have as they seek to move into professional ranks. Playing next to the deeply experienced Jack Hicks provided him with strong support.
Kyle Ramey

Jack Hicks

 Brian Goins

 David Bolling

Toy Soldier Dealer/Hobbyist

Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers

Larry Sparks has been performing for about fifty years. His vocal quality remains undiminished and his band supports him superbly well. Sparks seems to be a shy man with a wonderful and well-cared for voiced, which he has relied on for many years.. Songs from his long career are recognizable to any reasonably aware bluegrass audience, yet he continues to add new material. His flat picking is excellent, too, a quality not all singers of high repute share.  

Mike Feagan

Jackie Kinkaid

Tyler Mullins

 Dee Sparks

 Larry Sparks

 Elaine Irwin Meyer Thanks the Staff

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore was just named IBMA's Male Vocalist of the Year for the third consecutive years after his earlier two awards. This re-recognition mirrors the fortunes of IIIrd Tyme Out, which was for years a highly decorated band, descended from its renown and has now recovered in a way that seldom happens anywhere. This version of IIIrd Tyme Out is recognized, by those much more knowledgeable than I, as perhaps the best version in its history making the best music it ever has. Not only do the continue to play their great songs of the past, going all the way back to their first album with "Erase the Miles," but they continue to forge into new ground. With the addition of Edgar Loudermilk on bass several years ago, they've entered middle age with dignity and strength.

Russell Moore

Wayne Benson 

Steve Dilling

Justen Haynes

Edgar Loudermilk  

The Tennessee Fall Homecoming is a celebration of largely the music, culture, and history of East Tennessee. It more than accomplishes its goal, with a fine selection of vendors, craftspeople, and musicians. It takes few chances with its music, often relying upon familiar favorites who have performed at the Homecoming for years. At the same time, bands new to the event such at Larry Sparks and IIIrd Tyme Out make it attractive to old timers as well as people who are just discovering it. Attracting people from forty-eight U.S. states and a dozen foreign countries, the Homecoming spreads its net wide, yet people from the region attend regularly, keeping in touch with their homespun traditions. It's really a "Don't Miss" event.


Irene & Phil Leadbetter