Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seminole Wind 2013 - Review

Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival, located on the Seminole Indian Reservation outside Okeechobee,
FL, had its second run this weekend with much improved attendance, good enthusiasm, and excellent music. The festival is kocated in the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena, capable of providing more than adequate seating for several thousand bluegrass fans without being stretched and surrounded by palm trees and additional shade provided by traditional chickee huts. The vast fields of well-tended grass surround the area provide room for almost unlimited rough camping along with roughly twenty-five full hookup sites and a few water and electric sites. There's a snack bar operated by the tribe (try the grilled all-beef Hebrew National hot dogs) as well as booths and other spaces for both food and craft vendors. It's a wonderful site for a bluegrass festival and also used for Indian rodeos, a field day weekend, concerts, and so on. The tribe provides friendly hospitality for a fine weekend.

Pedro Zapeda - Craftsman & Cultural Interpreter

 Seminole tribal officials make sure to provide opportunities for visitors to experience and understand the Seminole tribe and life on the reservation. Pedro Zapeda was building a dugout canoe under a traditional chickee hut behind the Fred Smith Arena. He took time to explain to an interested group of early arrivals to the festival his work on the reservation, the process of building the canoe, and other elements of reservation life and history.

Dugout Canoe

Traditional Chickee Hut

Inside the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena

 Highway 41 South

Established only a few years ago, Highway 41 South has worked hard and established itself as one of the foremost bands playing traditional bluegrass and classic country in Florida. They play a busy schedule which has led to their becoming increasingly tight musically and to extending their repertoire.  They have been opening for major national bands when they appear in the region and appearing at bluegrass festivals and other venues across the state.

Mark Horn

 J.R. Davis

Donnie Harvey

Robert Feathers

 Dave Beaumont

Robert Feathers Sings

Bluegrass Babes
April Rogers & Shauna Horn

John & Sue Schellhass from Michigan

Special Concensus

Special Consensus has been touring for nearly forty years under the leadership of Greg Cahill, a superb banjo player and band leader. They play classic bluegrass and more contemporary arrangements and creations. The combination is one which remains interesting, always paying homage to the founders while forging into today.  The band is a classic four instrument group which makes plenty of sound. They're always a pleasure to see and hear.

Greg Cahill

 Dustin Benson

Rick Farris

David Thomas

Special C. on the Jumbotron

More Bluegrass Babes
Sue Schellhass, Irene Lehmann, Dottie Joyce 

Nonie Hale, LaRon Rogers, Keith Bass

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Michael Cleveland has been nine time IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, an award he richly deserves for the quality of his play and his accomplishment.  His work is exciting and hard edged, reflecting his nature and commitment to traditional bluegrass in various styles. His version of Bill Monroe's "Jerusalem Ridge" is a must hear.  His current band has solid people at each instrument supporting him and contributing their own unique work, too. New singer Josh Richards brings a pleasant voice to the mix.

 Michael Cleveland

Glenn Gibson

 Nathan Livers

 Josh Richards

Tyler Griffith

Mike Robinson - Emcee

Darlene Bass - Promoter

The Sound Crew
Phillip Smith, George & Kathy Wells 

Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express

Keith Bass has been a busy man as promoter of two bluegrass festivals in two successive weekends and leader of a band performing in each one. Nevertheless, Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express presents a range of traditional bluegrass ranging into the second and third generation performed with skill.  

 Keith Bass

Jason Baker

Shane Stuart

Clint Dockery

Katie Stuart

Little Roy Makes a Guest Appearance

Lizzy Long

The Little Roy & Lizzy Show

Little Roy Lewis has been a fixture on the bluegrass scene for about sixty years. From childhood he toured with the fable Lewis Family Band, a gospel music band based in Lincolnton, GA with a national base, a radio show, and a fittingly large bus to travel in.  Lizzy Long came into his family as a young foster child and learned all the bluegrass instruments, a sense of comedy timing, promotion, and showmanship. Since age and illness made it impossible for the three Lewis sisters to travel any longer, Little Roy has toured with Lizzy and what has settled into a band which ably supports their hijinks.  Little Roy is the last of the baggy pants comedians, nurtured in minstrel shows and vaudeville and once a feature of every touring bluegrass band. His physical comedy complements his fine instrumental work to help make the whole show work, but Lizzy's instrumental versatility and singing is the perfect complement for Roy's comedy. Their show is always entertaining and they have a large fan base which appears to see them. The "feud" and friendship between Lizzy and Rhonda Vincent has become a staple of Facebook and provides a model of publicity for other bluegrass artists.

Little Roy Lewis

Al Hoyle

Nathan Stewart

Lisa Hoyle

 Lizzy Long

Little Roy & Lizzy

Don Rigsby & Midnight Call

Don Rigsby has one of the finest tenor voices in bluegrass, plays excellent mandolin and more than acceptable fiddle and guitar, and has been a member of great bluegrass bands like The Lonesome River Band and the super band Longview. He has a deep commitment to early bluegrass, particularly Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, making him a sought-after feature of bands put together for special reunions and showcase programs. His own band is strong, supporting his voice and making effective contributions to their show. They were near the top of their game at Seminole Wind. Rigsby's selections of gospel music, reflecting his deep faith, and Ralph Stanley covers are particularly strong, while the rest of his program contains originals and songs from the early days of bluegrass music.

 Don Rigsby

Clyde Marshall

 Matt Hooper

Lloyd Herring

 Bobby Davis

Don Rigsby

Jed Marum & Rickey Pitman

The Seminole Tribe has a long, varied, and interesting place in both U.S. history and Florida culture which visitors are welcomed to learn about and share in.  As part of their commitment to exposing visitors to this rich vein, the tribe invited Jed Marum and Rickey Pitman who appear as re-enactors, folk singers, and cultural interpreters at events around the country, to close the Saturday show. They have produced a new CD called "Osceola & Foster" which explores some of the musical interactions between fabled Seminole general Osceola and nineteenth century song writer Stephen Foster. 

Rickey Pittman

Jed Marum

 The second Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival held and sponsored on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation and promoted by Keith & Darlene Bass, a few miles west of Okeechobee, FL was an artistic success and attracted a crowd roughly three times the size of last year's event. Under the leadership of Fred Smith Arena Director Amos Tiger and the Tribal Elders, the festival is well-supported in a venue holding huge potential to host a much larger event. It represents a fine opportunity for bluegrass fans to congregate on the weekend following YeeHaw Junction.

Amos Tiger