Friday, May 10, 2013

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver at Denton Farmpark - 2013: Thursday

Our Home on the Road


Spring has been slow in coming in the mid-South, but it edged into early summer as the opening of the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass Festival dawned bright and clear, becoming warm, then hot and staying comfortable into the evening. A large Thursday crowd came to greet a very strong Thursday lineup.

The Roys

The brother-sister duo The Roys have been touring hard several seasons now, doing their homework and improving steadily. On Thursday morning they had a stroke of good luck. The power failed, providing the band with a play or not. They made the right choice, coming out into the aisle moving up and down to play before groups of fans in a fully acoustic set. Working in difficult circumstances, they turned the situation into a triumph of skill while building huge good will and connecting with the audience in ways that working from the stage usually doesn't allow.

The Roys at Work in the Crowd

 Lee Roy

Elaine Roy

Royal Massat

 Matt Downing

Clint White

Lee & Elaine Roy

How to Enjoy a Bluegrass Festival

 The Boxcars

The Boxcars are a superior instrumental group with strong vocals. Adam Steffey on mandolin and Ron Steward on banjo and fiddle are multi award winners. John Bowman fine fiddling and clear, passionate voice are genuine and affecting. Keith Garrett contributes good lead singing and superior song writing skills. Harold Nixon is a bass player's bass player who has received too little attention in award considerations. The band has a new CD out showing that it has gelled into a coherent whole whose work places it near the top of traditional bluegrass bands while adding significantly to the traditional sounding catalog of newer sounds. 

Adam Steffey

 Ron Stewart

John Bowman

Keith Garrett

Harold Nixon

John Bowman and Daughter (?)

The Isaacs

The Isaacs are a renowned gospel band whose musical versatility moves easily into the bluegrass side of gospel while remaining firmly rooted in the Southern Gospel tradition. Proving fully that they don't need canned music to create an enormous emotional impact as well as communicating a genuine spirituality, they're just plain the best at what they do, as far as I've seen and heard.  Their singing is tight, melodious, fervant, and compelling. Their drive and enthusiasm is infectious. Great band with a message that reaches out.

 Sonya Isaacs

 Ben Isaacs

Rebecca Isaacs

Lilli Isaacs


Sheila Maness, Shelley & Bill Huckabee

Jim Fraley, Fairly Guest & Don Bryant

Blue Highway

 After twenty years on the road, Blue Highway continues to set a standard for contemporary bluegrass bands with their combination of fine instrumentals, singing, and song writing. Most of their work is written within the band and their arrangements are always interesting.

 Wayne Taylor

Jason Burleson

Tim Stafford

Rob Ickes

Shawn Lane

 Vernon McClendon - Chef to the Stars

Chicken Div

with Jason Burleson

Mountain Heart

Mountain Heart continues to go its own way, creating exciting music while ignoring the demands of genre and concentrating on excellence. We were relieved to see Jim Van Cleve back on stage with nearly his accustomed energy after a life threatening bout with dengue fever. Aaron Ramsey and Seth Taylor continue to be riveting musicians on mandolin and guitar, while Jason Moore is one of the best bass men around. Barry Abernathy's voice is strong and dusky, particularly with his Darrell Scott covers. Almost always in the closing spot for a long set, Mountain Heart can really cut it.

Aaron Ramsey

 Barry Abernathy

Jim Van Cleve

Seth Taylor

Jason Moore

 Mountain Heart started late an clearly was going to go later.  We headed for bed with their sound drifting up the hill while the distance overcame their volume, allowing us easily to slip into a sound sleep. More tomorrow!