Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival 2013 - Friday Review

Friday at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival was one of the glorious late Spring days you can only wish for when you know you'll be outside in the elements. The sun shone with just enough haze to take its edge off and hold the warmth in as evening approached. The music ranged from hard core traditional to cutting edge progressive and the crowd, perhaps somewhat changing in composition as the bands changed, was large and enthusiastic. The vendors vended and a festive environment prevailed. The sand pit was crowded with running, jumping, sand-throwing kids being kids. It was a really good day.

Bob Perilla & Big Hillbilly Bluegrass

A Washington, D.C. area band that seemed to be pretty much a pick-up affair, this band still was bolstered by the presence of the prodigious Mike Mumford, who adds flair and excitement whenever his pics touch strings. Tadd Marks was strong on fiddle, while Ira Gitlin's contribution on bass is always welcome.

Bob Perilla

 Ira Gitlin

Tadd Marks

Mike Munford

The Grass Cats

 The Grass Cats is a North Carolina based band which has been around for nearly twenty years, mostly staying pretty close to home, while often flirting with national notice because of their quality musicianship, song choice, a enjoyable personality. In addition to remarkably good covers of first generation classics, they add their own more recently crafted songs written within the band to their mix. It's always a pleasure to see them, and they'll be a major presence at IBMA's World of Bluegrass in September.

Russell Johnson

Rick Lafleur

Allen Mullen

Chris Hill

Tim Woodall

Andrew Rigsby Really Digs It

Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers

 Larry Sparks has been a road warrior for over fifty years, establishing a reputation for fine singing of songs that reach into the heart and memory.  Many people who might have otherwise stayed up in the campground jamming and visiting found their way down to the stage to give Sparks a warm and well-deserved welcome and hearing.

 Larry Sparks

 Tyler Mullins

D Sparks

Jackie Kincaid

D & Larry Sparks

How to Enjoy a Bluegrass Festival

 Vendors Row - Crafts

Vendors Row - Food

The Rambling Rooks

Individually, each member of this group is well-known, no...renowned, for his contribution to bluegrass music. Ronnie Bowman, Kenny Smith, and Don Rigsby served parts of their early careers in one of the best remembered iterations of the Lonesome River Band, and each has gone on to further acclaim with their own bands, song writers, and in other fusion bands. Scott Vestal has toured with Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and David Parmley & Continental Divide. He now is a member of the Sam Bush Band, while establishing himself as a ground breaker on the banjo. It remains to be seen whether this band will find the time to create the kind of unique band style and sound of which it is capable. Meanwhile, its ability for each member to present his own hits and cover great traditional material is more than enough for many fans.

Ronnie Bowman
 Scott Vestal

Kenny Smith

Don Rigsby

Ronnie Bowman, Jason Moore, Aaron Ramsey

Lonesome River Band

 We've been lucky enough to see LRB several times in the past few weeks, and they never seem to grow old. I want to focus here on the important and maybe sometimes overlooked contributions of veteran Mike Hartgrove on fiddle and Barry Reed on bass. Each makes a substantial contribution to keeping the unique sound of the Lonesome River Band alive and helping to maintain the vision of leader Sammy Shelor. The bands extended jam on Hobo Blues gives each of them an opportunity to strut his stuff, and each does so in spades. Great fun!

 Mike Hartgrove

 Barry Reed

Randy Jones

Brandon Rickman

Sammy Shelor

Scott Vestal, Seth Taylor, Josh Shilling

 Mountain Heart
 Josh Shilling, Jason Moore, Jim Van Cleve

Mountain Heart continues its record of opening doors to new ideas and sounds in bluegrass music while always maintaining a high level of instrumental and vocal strength. With founding member Barry Abernathy sidelined by injury, Scott Vestal filled in effectively. As they mature (age?) Mountain Heart's music is becoming, once again, more accessible without losing its sense of innovation. 

 Scott Vestal

 Josh Shilling

Jim Van Cleve

Jason Moore

Jason Moore & Jim Van Cleve

Seth Taylor & Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey

Mountain Heart Fan

The Hillbenders

This Missouri-based band is on the cutting edge of bluegrass music featuring instrumentalists schooled in Alan Munde's program in Texas and influenced by rock music and grand opera. The result is an interesting bluegrass mix which surprises as it pleases. Here at Gettysburg they had unfortunate program placements that meant too few people heard them. They'll be at Strawberry Park in two weeks, and I hope to give them fuller coverage there.

 Mark Cassidy

Chad Graves

Nolan Lawrence

Chad Graves

 Nolan Lawrence

Gary & Jimmy Rea

Nolan Lawrence, Mark Cassidy, Gary & Jimmy Rea

 Jimmy Rea

The Workshop Tent

Sammy Shelor's All-Star Jam

 Kenny & Amanda Smith - Looking On

Hot Rize tomorrow and More.....