Monday, March 11, 2013

Newell Lodge: Spring 2013 - Review

Newell Lodge is one of the loveliest music parks anywhere. Located in a grove of mature live oak trees dripping spanish moss on a sandy floor, there are wagons and farm implements scattered around the grounds, an attractive stage, the Hold Your Horses Café serving wholesome, homecooked and baked goods, trail rides, cottages to rent for non-campers, well-maintained flush toilets and hot showers, and more. Located on a hammock within the piney woods of south Georgia just north of the small town of Folkston, Newell Lodge is within an hours drive of the coastal resorts of Saint Mary's and St. Simon's Island and just north of Jacksonville, FL. It's a wonderful place to stop for a festival or to hold a special event. Hosts Harvin & Kay Carter along with their daughter Ashley with the help of a willing, friendly, and helpful staff create a welcoming environment that allows the trials and tribulations of the outside world to slip away for a few days of rest and relaxation.

Jamming in the Hold Your Horses Café

Sunrise at Newell Lodge

The Wilson Family Band

 The Wilson family has been friends of ours since we first saw them at Live Oak seven years ago. We've watched Clint and Katie grow up at festivals and at home. Now, with Clint married to Kalyn Hall Wilson and about ready to graduate from Valdosta State and move, perhaps to Nashville, on to some role in the music industry and Katie pursuing other interests while Robert and Melissa have added goat ranching to their business and personal lives, the band performs seldom.  They remain, however, a favorite of the local crowd despite being a little rusty. I'll cover Clint's new band later.

 Clint Wilson

Robert Wilson

Katie Wilson

Kalyn Wilson

Melissa Wilson

Harvey & Maude Pickle

The Gary Waldrep Band

The Gary Waldrep Band, from northeastern Alabama, has been a reliable and entertaining band for many years, now.  His mix of gospel and bluegrass music along with a little clawhammer banjo seasoning makes him a regional favorite.  The chilly weather and a new person on the mandolin affected their performance this year, but Waldrep is a fan favorite. They know his repertoire and call for favorites even as he continues to add new material to his show.
 Gary Waldrep
 Mindy Rakestraw

Donna Tinsell

Kenny Tinsell

Mike Smitherman

 Trinity River

 Trinity River, a family band from nearby Callahan, FL, is seeking to make the leap from local gospel band to national bluegrass band. They continue to make progress.

Sarah Harris

 Joshua Harris

Mike Harris

Lisa Harris

Volume V

Glenn Harrell has molded Volume V (that's roman numeral five) into a musically satisfying and entertaining band singing a strong mixture of contemporary materials, with a strong bow to Shawn Camp and others, along with well chosen traditional material and gospel music. Harrell is a strong singer and able fiddler who's surrounded himself with some wonderful musicians who have personality, too.  Harry Clark, recently added on mandolin, is still new to the band, but is an excellent musician who will soon fit in well. His curly locks have earned him the moniker "Sasquatch." Jeff Partin, new on guitar and Dobro since we last saw this band, is excellent on both instruments, but superb on Dobro. Patton Wages continues his strong performance on banjo, as does Chris Williamson on bass. This band, mostly from Mississippi is well deserving of broader national attention.

Glenn Harrell

Patton Wages

Jeff Partin

 Chris Williamson

Harry Clark
 Sasquatch Gets a Ribbing from the Old Pros

Logan Meets a New Friend
with Ashley Carter Merser

Montgomery Belle

Montgomery Belle made it's world debut at Newell Lodge. Clint Wilson has formed his own band with his wife Kalyn, friend and business partner Brandon Bostic, and the fine banjo player Thomas Wyrot.  Clint, who at age twenty has already had several songs recorded by national bands, including the new American Drive, has drawn together a band which will be both versatile and professional. They feature a mixture of his own compositons, as well as those by Brandon and Thomas. Their music, thus far, is a pleasing mixture of bluegrass standards, bluegrassed country hits by the likes of Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley, and really touching songs about love and loss by Clint. Bostic and Wyrot bring broad experience performing with national bands, despite their relatively young age.  There's really no telling how far this band can go, but their first appearance bodes well for the future. Videos coming on our YouTube channel.

Clint Wilson

 Kalyn Wilson

 Brandon Bostic

Thomas Wyrot

Clint & Kalyn Wilson

Some Day

 Some Day is the youth band of the North Florida Bluegrass Association. Such bands are an important effort that deserves support at every bluegrass festival in the country. Where else will our young pickers be helped and encouraged to continue the tradition and add to it?

 Melissa Brady

Kaylie ?

Anna Albers
 Buddy Crump

John Davis

Jane Boyd

Promoter Harvin Carter with Jordan

The Snyder Family

 It's been a delight to see the brother-sister duo of Zeb and Samantha Snyder move from being a novelty for their youth and relative accomplishment to a level of absolute excellence which many much more experienced and mature musicians can only aspire to. They are not cute or "good for kids" any more. They're just plain excellent. Beyond that, they're just plain great kids, too, unassuming, thoughtful, hard working, and fun to be around. Their parents, Bud and Laine have kept their musicianship in perspective, while nurturing their ability and helping prepare them for a larger and more complicated world. Meanwhile, precocious young Owen, age 7, is delighting audiences with his smile and his observations on the world he inhabits.

 Laine & Bud Snyder

Samantha Snyder

Owen Snyder

Zeb Snyder


Brand New Strings

Brand New Strings provided Saturday's highlight performances with its combination of contemporary material that nevertheless retains a sound and feel of classic bluegrass combined with the judicious use of classic bluegrass standards delivered with impeccable timing and tone.  They stand as one of the very good bands that plays new while sounding old.  It's the ensemble that counts with this band and it shows its stuff through its very able use of the single mic with two instrumental side mics. The choreography  required for effective use of single mic approaches is not easy, but it pays off in improved coordination of sound and interest in watching the band because it is not static. They offered two very satisfying sets, despite the chilly evening and diminishing audience.

 Randall Massengill

 Mike Ramsay

Stuart Wyrick

Preston Smith

 Tony Mowell

The Trio - Ramsey, Wyrick, & Massengall

Jacob Crews & Katie Wilson

Tim Shelton & NewFound Road

Tim Shelton is in the midst of removing himself from bluegrass and charting a new career in music which heads in other directions. His lack of interest in continuing with bluegrass was evident on Saturday as he pretty much mailed it in despite the backing of a capable band in support of his wonderful singing voice.

 Austin Ward

Brandon Bostic

 Bryan Lawrence

Josh Miller

Maude Pickle

 The Snyders Jam with the Andrews Brothers