Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival 2013: Friday - Review

It rained on Thursday night, in fact it poured just a little while after the show ended. On Friday morning we woke up to puddles on the ground and the chairs wet and soggy. Despite the fact that the forecast was for several inches of rain and possibly severe thundershowers, we didn't see rain during the day again until a slight sprinkle on Sunday afternoon, late. People started moving around, the Sugar Shack began serving breakfast, and Monadnock took the stage at 10:00 A.M. as scheduled.


Monadnock is a New Hampshire based band which first appeared at Blistered Fingers in an open stage event in 2003 and have appeared regionally since then. They offered a pleasant opening set of traditional bluegrass covers starting off the day in fine fettle.

 Craig Engle

Bob Pope

Keith Hillyard

Elise LaFlamme

Roland Young

 The Seth Sawyer Band

The Seth Sawyer Band is the host band at Jenny Brook as well as being available to play around the region. The band has had a revolving corps of pickers play with it over the years, but this year appeared as the original Seth Sawyer band along with his wife Candi, promoter of Jenny Brook and two strong, well-known utility players, Dave Shaw and Dave "Tex" Orlomoski. This combination provides a familiar and enjoyable four piece bluegrass band. Seth has a strong tenor voice and is a song writer whose material has been recorded by the Gibson Brothers and David Davis.
Candi Sawyer

Dave Orlomoski

 Dave Shaw

 Seth Sawyer

Grace Van't Hof & friend 

Banjo Leigh

Donna Dances and Smiles All Day

Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys

 Tracing its lineage back to the fabled "Boys from Indiana," the Tony Holt and the Wildwood Valley boys today keeps it enough in the family to have a strong sense of history while continuing to present traditional material as well as a number of familiar songs written by Tony's father, Aubrey Holt. 

Tony Holt

 Aubrey Holt

Jeremy Blankenship

 Daniel Martin

Mark Poe

Tony Holt

Nothin' Fancy Showed Up a Day Early
to Just Hang Around

On Friday the Tour Buses Pile Up

 Audie Blaylock & Redline

Audie Blaylock's hard driving style of traditional bluegrass shows the influence of the great band's he's played with (Jimmy Martin, Michael Cleveland) while never becoming derivative. His heartfelt singing can carry a gentle love song along with his driving guitar playing. He's surrounded himself with a corps of like-minded pickers who create a unified sound identified with Blaylock's voice.   Patrick McAvinue on fiddle has been with Audie since he formed Redline playing old favorites in his own unique style. Russ Carson, from the great bluegrass town of Mechanicsburg, PA, is emerging as one of the fine young Scruggs style banjo players. Reed Jones on bass, with a unique stance that says "rock solid" all over it, is outstanding. We learned this weekend that Jesse Brock, a standout regular guest with the Redline, would be taking a permanent gig with another band. Their band drew an enthusiastic, energized audience to all four of their performances this weekend.

 Audie Blaylock

Patrick McAvinue

Russ Carson

Reed Jones

Jesse Brock

Tight Trio Singing

 Audie Blaylock

The Jenny Brook Community

Each year the bluegrass community at Jenny Brook re-assembles for four or even five days of making music together, visiting, listening to great professional bands, perhaps hoisting a few cold ones, and enjoying family time together in an interestingly diverse group brought together by their shared love of bluegrass music. There are committed pickers who jam late into the night while others listen or enjoy quiet time with friends at their rigs or a rousing large group jam with one of the bands at the Sugar Shack.  The Bluegrass University was getting ready for its Saturday classes, children's activities were going strong, band members held workshops for those seeking a deeper understanding of an instrument or band, and more was going on. Here's a brief portfolio on some of the activities on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Clayton Campbell (The Gibson Brothers) - Fiddle Workshop

Mike Andes Making Friends

Tom Fitzgerald & Linda Fitzpatrick Jenny Brook Store

Sammy Shelor's Banjo Workshop

Jam at Lillian & Robert Fraker's Campsite

Kids Activities Were a Huge Hit!

Bluegrass University Compound

 The White River Provides a Cool Dip

A Quiet Moment Together


Aaron Foster & John Saroyan

Brandon Rickman Looks On

 The Lonesome River Band

The Lonesome River Band has a uniquely identifiable sound and characteristic vibe that's nearly unmistakable. Driven by banjo master Sammy Shelor's strong and tasteful picking, the band has toured hard for over thirty years with Shelor at its head for twenty-two. Influenced by rock & roll while still clearly remaining well under the bluegrass umbrella, they're always a welcome band at festivals and often a good band to end the night on a Friday or Saturday.  Brandon Rickman brings one of the best country voices in bluegrass along with his very fine song writing to the band. Randy Jones on mandolin has a strong tenor voice to go with his good mandolin work. Barry Reed's solos on the bass are as strong as any bass player in the business, while Mike Hartgrove brings taste and experience to his just right fiddle. When a band is known by its initials, you know they're doing something right.

Sammy Shelor

 Brandon Rickman

 Mike Hartgrove

Randy Jones

Barry Reed

Sammy Shelor

The James King Band Led the Sugar Shack Jam
While the Fraker's Jam Went On and On

For those of you who don't see bands you saw on Friday, they'll be on Saturday's review. As a matter of both space and policy, I only write about a band one time at a festival. Besides, I don't have enough to say....