Saturday, June 1, 2013

Strawberry Park 2013: Friday - Review

Friday at Strawberry Park dawned clear and warm and, while it became pretty hot in mid-afternoon, stayed wonderful right into the rousing Gibson Brothers close lasting well over ninety minutes beginning at 9:00 PM. It was a wonderful day a music, friendship, sunshine, time around the pool, jamming and gabbing around the campsite, or anything else you wished to do. The musical day opened with another fine set by Grasstowne, a band I covered at some length yesterday, and just kept on being good all day.

Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters
Amy Gallatin

 Amy Gallatin has always been a reliable and pleasant voice and vibe at festivals in and around New England. Her partnership, both musical and personal with dobro master Roger Williams has deepened her singing and focused increasingly and effectively on songs, both serious and amusing, about relationships. Roger's son J.D.'s growth in confidence and skill is nothing short of amazing as his contribution to the band becomes increasingly central. Eric Levinson, a fixture in New England since Joe Val days, is always solid on bass. This a band worth arriving early for and staying to hear.

Roger Williams

J.D. Williams

Eric Levinson

Chad Graves (Hillbenders) - Workshop

The Hillbenders

Perhaps Jim Beaver said it best when he suggested that the Hillbenders are rooted in bluegrass, which they play with skill and excitement while also being inventive and creative enough to be "way out there." The Hillbenders continue with their interesting combination of melody, instrumental skill, and vocal pyrotechnics to create an exciting sound and elicit a real standing ovation. Mark Cassidy's work, on banjo, is reminiscent of both his mentor Alan Munde and Mike Munford, not bad musical antecedents. Chad Graves on Dobro is superb. Jimmy Rea and Nolan Lawrence have terrific, and contrasting, voices. As Roger Moss commented, they mix bluegrassed versions of familiar rock and roll standards with first rate renditions of bluegrass classics.

Chad Graves

Nolan Lawrence & Gary Rea

Chad Graves & Jimmy Rea

Mark Cassidy

Nolan Lawrence

Jimmy Rea

John & Joe Joe Saroyan

Gibson Brothers Song Writing Workshop

The Bouncer

 The Strawberry Park Pools

The Stray Birds

Sierra Hull

Sierra Hull seems like she's been around for a long time, yet she's just barely over twenty years old. Her music combines a deep respect for traditional bluegrass while moving towards more modern and creatively far-ranging musical ideas. She's surrounded herself with a very strong band of young, hot pickers who are questing musical spirits themselves. Her performances are increasingly interesting musical events.

 Sierra Hull
 Jake Stargell

Jake Eller

Justin Moses

Cory Walker

 Eric Gibson & Mary Robinson

The Gibson Brothers

The Gibson Brothers closed out the evening with a delightful set of their best material from their new masterpiece "The Called It Music" and fan favorites from through the years. The audience wouldn't allow them off the stage, and they returned twice to thunderous applause from the large crowd who happily remained until the very end.  Kym Warner more than ably filled in at the mandolin position while we all wait with baited breath for the announcement of the new member. We've seen both Jesse's (Cobb and Brock), and Warner, and understand that Adam Steffey was unbelievable, while Sierra Hull will fill in on their Alaska tour. The truth is, the Gibson Brothers material lifts fine musicians to greater heights. 

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson
Clayton Campbell

Kym Warner

Leigh Gibson & Mike Barber

 Mike Barber

Clayton Campbell

The Last Dance