Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dumplin Valley 2013 - Preview

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival will run at the Dumplin Valley Campground in Kodak, TN from September 19 - 21, 2013.   Located conveniently just off I-40 at the exit for Sevierville, it combines a convenient setting, indoor stage in what was once a milking parlor for the dairy farm that once produced on the property, full hookup sites as  well as water and electric, and plenty of rough camping. Festival promoters Joe and Mitzi Soward are warm and welcoming hosts. Coming back to Dumplin Valley each year feels a lot like a family reunion. With the move of IBMA's World of Bluegrass to Raleigh, Dumplin Valley still a worthwhile trip across the mountains for us.

New to Dumplin Valley
Donna Ulisse

In the last five or six years, Donna Ulisse has emerged from a twenty year career as a contract song writer and singer of demos for herself and others to establish a catalog of fine recordings of her own songs and an increasingly high profile at festivals around the country.  Her mellow, warm voice and pleasing personality, backed by a high quality band of Nashville musicians have led to higher demand. If you haven't seen her yet, you'll enjoy her as a performer and a person. Donna Ulisse has been nominated as Song Writer of the Year at IBMA.

The Spinney Brothers

Rick and Alan Spinney have expanded their range and their repertoire well beyond their home in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where they grew up singing traditional bluegrass and classic country music.  They have toured hard and worked to develop a unique and solid sound as their reputation has grown throughout the country. This year they are nominees for Emerging Artist of the Year at the upcoming IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC.

 The Roys
Elaine Roy

Lee Roy

Lee and Elaine Roy are from Fitchburg, MA but spent much of their formative years with their grandparents in New Brunswick, where they learned to love and play bluegrass music. During the past three years, supported by a series of young, capable side men, anchored by Clint White on fiddle, they have released three CD's and toured hard to develop a loyal fan base. They perform country tinged bluegrass as well as generous selections from the standard traditional repertoire in pleasant and polished performances. At the Doyle Lawson Festival in Denton, NC they showed the effects of their hard work when their response to a loss of electricity was to come down from the stage and present an all acoustic performance moving up and down the center aisle. This act of professionalism and courage successfully won over much of the audience, who left as fans.

Flatt Lonesome

Flatt Lonesome come from Callahan, FL, just south of the Georgia line, where they began as a family band singing gospel music in churches.  Consisting of twins Charli and Buddy and their older sister Kelsi as well as a corps of young, skilled, and enthusiastic musicians, they have quickly risen in the bluegrass world. They are nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year at IBMA this year.

  Wednesday, September 18
Potluck Supper - 6pm

 Thursday, September 19
Paul Williams & The Victory Trio - 1:30 & 5:30
Paul Williams
A favorite wherever he appears, Paul Williams sang tenor in Jimmy Martin's band and married his sister. Now committed to singing gospel music and proclaiming his faith, Williams brings a pure tenor voice and fervent belief to every performance.
Donna Ulisse & The Poor Mountain Boys - 2:30 & 6:30

Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier - 3:30 & 7:30

Founder of Pine Mountain Railroad, Jimbo has mostly left the road for a position at Dollywood in nearby Pigeon Forge, but continues to perform his driving bluegrass music and to display his fine songs. His "Kings of Orbank" has become a classic.

 Cordle, Jackson & Salley - 8:30 (90 min.)

Three award winning singer/song writers accompanied by one of the great voices in bluegrass and gospel music have developed a road show singing and playing their huge catalog of songs as well as a regular don't miss gig at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville. 
-Supper Break - 4:30-5:30 

Friday, September 20

The Dismembered Tennesseans - Noon & 7:00

Fletcher Bright

I've heard it said the Fletcher Bright knows more songs than anyone. With his Dismembered Tennesseans, he brings the best of local and regional bands to this festival.

The Spinney Brothers - 1:00 & 6:00

The Little Roy & Lizzy Show - 2:00 & 8:00

Entertaining, energetic, and full of surprises. That's what Little Roy Lewis, after more than sixty years of touring, and his young partner Lizzy Long bring to every performance. There will be some surprises and some favorites every time.

 Balsam Range - 3:00 & 9:00
Caleb Smith

Darren Nicholson

Buddy Melton

In the past five years, this band has emerged from the mountains of Haywood County in rural western North Carolina to national prominence. Their hard driving sound anchored by Marc Pruett's banjo along with beautiful singing from Buddy Melton and song writing from Caleb Smith bring excitement to everywhere they appear. This year they are nominated for seven IBMA awards. Because they have only recently begun to tour widely, Balsam Range is less well-known than they deserve. That's about to end. 

 Rhonda Vincent & The Rage - 4:00 & 10:00
Rhonda Vincent

Josh Williams

Rhonda Vincent remains the epitome of hard work, fine leadership, and entertaining performances she has been for over twenty years. Josh Williams is on the verge of attaining a level of stardom as a singer and flat picker known by very few musicians. Together with one of the best ensemble bands to be found, they always give and keep on giving. Rhonda, one of the great troopers in all entertainment, remains at The Martha White Boutique to sign and pose for pictures with her legion of fans until the last fan leaves.

 Supper Break- 5:00-6:00

Saturday, September 21
The Roys - Noon & 7:00
Flatt Lonesome - 1:00 & 6:00

The Crowe Brothers - 2:00 & 8:00
Josh Crowe

Wayne Crowe

The Crowe Brothers, featuring a traditional mountain sound along with close brother harmonies, bring their unique style and singing from Maggie Valley, deep in the hills and hollers of western North Carolina, a region that has produced bluegrass stars and great side men beyond counting.  The Crowe Brothers help constitute a link to the traditions from which bluegrass springs.

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice - 3:00 & 9:00

 Junior Sisk, long one of the foremost tenor singers in bluegrass as well as one of the finest rhythm guitar players around, has accomplished one of the most difficult tricks around. He manages to impart a deeply traditional sound, based largely on the work of the Stanley Brothers and the more recent Johnson Mountain Boys, with contemporary songs written by his Dad, his cousin, and selected other modern song writers. He often effectively sings "she done him wrong songs" that work.

Lonesome River Band - 4:00 & 10:00
Sammy Shelor & Brandon Rickman

Randy Jones

While no original members of the Lonesome River Band, founded in 1982, are still with the band, it continues to present much of it's well-loved catalog, while constantly adding new material to its repertoire. A look at its alumni list shows how influential LRB has been and remains in the world of bluegrass music. A reliable closing band, it often winds up a Saturday night playing deep into the evening for its eager and vocal fans. Sammy Shelor,the third winner of the Steve Martin prize for contributions to bluegrass and banjo, is the current IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, having won the coveted title five times. 

-Supper Break- 5:00-6:00

The Environment
 Lizzy Long & Rhonda Vincent

 Look for interesting things to happen when these two appear at the same festival on the same day. You never know what's coming.

Vendors Row

There's always a good supply of food, craft, and instrument vendors at Dumplin Valley.

Jamming Under the Silos

 The silo jam is a regular morning event for those who may not have stayed up the night before.

Meanwhile, in campsites and around the grounds, there are plenty of high quality jams for people of all ability levels.

An Exuberant Joe Soward
Must Be a Good Day Crowd 

Thoughtful Mitzi Soward

The expansive campground has plenty of water and electric sites as well as still untapped rough camping. The full hook-up sites are usually gone unless you reserve well ahead of time, but it's always worth a try. Call the campground at 865-397-7942 or email at  

The Details

Dumplin Valley is held on a former dairy farm near exit 407 of I-40, just a few miles from the popular Smokey Mountain destination resorts of Seveirville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg not far from Knoxville, Tennessee.  Those planning on coming to this festival, should plan on arriving early enough or staying over to enjoy the delights of these resorts. Joe and Mitzi ask that you keep and deposit your receipts from local attractions in order to demonstrate to potential sponsors the impact of this festival on the region. They hold a drawing for two four day tickets and camping at next year's festival as an incentive to participate. The more sponsors a festival has, the better the lineup can be and the lower the price. For information about camping reservations, click HERE. To purchase tickets, click HERE. For more information about local and regional attractions, check HERE. There's a large Bass Pro Shop within a mile of the Dumplin Valley as well as a very nice food market nearby. 

How To Get to Dumplin Valley
click the link at the bottom of the map
then input your location in A for directions 

Joe and Mitzi Soward are thoughtful, concerned hosts always seeking to continue building and improving their festival by providing the best of what their customers request along with opportunities to be surprised and entertained by new bands that have not appeared to Dumplin Valley before. Located on a former dairy farm in Kodak, TN, the seemingly rural setting is close to all the amenities a camper or tourist could want. Noted for the high quality of its lineup, vendors, sound, and jamming, this is an excellent event. See you there!

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