Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dumplin Valley 2013 - Friday - Review

Dumplin Valley Performance Area

Friday at Dumplin Valley was very warm, both in terms of the weather and the spirit pervading the grounds. The day crowd came early and stayed late into the very comfortable evening. The music established a high standard that might prove hard to equal on Saturday, or any other day at a good festival. The ice cream vendor was especially popular today, although lemonade seemed to be much sought after, too.  The sense of excitement accelerated, as all who were here knew that Friday was going to be GOOD!

 The Dismembered Tennesseans
Fletcher Bright

 Fletcher Bright has been the leader of The Dismembered Tennesseans for over sixty of his eighty-three years. He gives fiddle workshops throughout the country and around the world. In his spare time, he's the principle of one of the country's largest real estate companies, on the side, while piloting the plane that transports the band to distant gigs.  The Dismembered Tennesseans present a pleasant blend of traditional bluegrass with grace, humor, and competence. 

Brian Blaylock

Don Castle

Bobby Martin

Ed "Doc" Culliss

Laura Walker

Barry & Geraldine Hurst from the UK

The Spinney Brothers

 The Spinney Brothers come from Nova Scotia, where they have been a bluegrass fixture for about twenty years. In the past four years or so, they have mounted a major effort to become a national band south of the border with great success. This year they have been nominated for IBMA Emerging Band of the Year and stand a good chance to win, although no non-American band has done so in the past. They are a high energy band which presents itself with slick patter and a traditional cast to their music, combining classic bluegrass and country songs with their own traditional sounding fare. The brothers contrast physically, vocally, and in their personalities, always creating a unified and enjoyable sense of the warmth of their relationship.

Allan Spinney

Rick Spinney

Gary Dalrymple

Adam Pye
Rick & Allan Spinney

 PaPaw Soward Takes a Break

The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Theater Made an Appearance

The Little Roy and Lizzy Show

When it became impossible for the Lewis Family sisters to tour any longer, Lizzy Long was ready to join her mentor and foster father Little Roy Lewis on the road and continue her education as a bluegrass performer. She is now in graduate school, not only accomplished on a number of instruments (banjo, guitar, fiddle, auto-harp, slide guitar) but providing leadership to the band with authority and skill. She still hasn't managed to control Little Roy, but then, who has?  New bass player David Heavner is a nice addition, although Lisa Hoyle will be missed. The band is always entertaining and Little Roy is the last remaining link to the minstrel roots bluegrass music. 

Little Roy Lewis

Lizzy Long

Nathan Stewart Changes Strings on the Fly

Al Hoyle

David Heavner

 Little Roy & Lizzy

Tim Surrett, Clifton Posey, Ted Lehmann

Freddy Smith and the WDVX Chicken

Balsam Range

Balsam Range is riding the crest of a wave that may propel them to multiple awards at the upcoming IBMA awards show next week. Their tight harmonies and wide variety of songs moves audiences as their drive propels them forward. Together only seven years as a band, their accomplishments are remarkable. With all members still employed, they nevertheless look forward to developing further outreach to the parts of the country they haven't yet penetrated. They are a personable bunch as well as being musically outstanding. If you get a chance to see them, take it, meanwhile, purchase enough of their music to sense of their range and vibe. 

Marc Pruett

Tim Surrett

Buddy Melton

Darren Nicholson

 Caleb Smith

Emcee Freddy Smith of WDVX-FM

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Widely recognized as the hardest working band in bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage draws crowds to bluegrass venues wherever she appears, adding to her dollar value and well as the entertainment value of the places she's on the bill. She combines a fine voice, superb band leadership, strong musicianship, with a generous spirit which makes sure that every member of her band is showcased effectively at every performance.  Underneath the tents of the Martha White Boutique, she stays out signing and posing for pictures until the last fan is satisfied. When she's with a fan, she gives that person her whole attention, assuring their loyalty and support. Her sisterly "feud" with Lizzy Long assures amusing and musical interventions in each of their shows whenever they appear together. They have taken their friendly rivalry to FB, where they can be counted on to provide fans with more good fun. Here's an example:

 Hunter Berry

Aaron McDaris

Rhonda & Guest Joe Soward

Mickey Harris

 Josh Williams

Rhonda & Fletcher Bright

Daughter Sally Berry & Rhonda

Rhonda & Lizzy Long

Hunter with Rhonda's Twin Brother - Ralph Vincent (?)

It was a terrific day at Dumplin Valley with one more coming.  Looks to me as if the rain will let up in a couple of hours, and Saturday's lineup is strong, too.