Friday, September 20, 2013

Dumplin Valley 2013 - Thursday - Review

Early morning at a bluegrass festival is usually a quiet time. The jammers were up late last night, enjoying themselves before the festivities began this morning. Dawn came, and along with it a slight fog, which would lift within an hour or so to reveal the peaceful surroundings. 

 Morning Jam at the Silos

At Dumplin Valley, as at many other festivals, Johnny Adams and his sidekick Lamar Moss lead an open jam which is popular to experienced as well as novice musicians.  The grand element of this jam is that it's truly open. Adams is an experienced and high quality bluegrasser with several CD's to his credit. Yet everyone is welcome and made to feel a real part of the event. No one ever turns their back on someone coming into this jam, wherever it's held. The true spirit of bluegrass jamming is certainly represented here. 

Johnny Adams & Lamar Moss

Hosts Mitzi & Joe Soward

Paul Williams & the Victory Trio

In 1995 Paul Williams returned to bluegrass music after some years pursuing other directions. He had been a valued member of Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, His wife, Erda, is Jimmy Martin's sister. On returning, however, he determined that his voice would be devoted to his Christian ministry, and he has preserved that commitment, with the exception of some guest appearances in reunion bands with Doyle Lawson, since then. With each appearance, he brings his fervent faith and commitment along with a still pure tenor voice to following his leading, ministering through song and some preaching to audiences appreciative of his message. 

 Paul Williams

Jerry Keys

Dan Moneyhun

Adam Winstead

 The Trio
Paul Williams, Dan Moneyhun, Adam Winstead

 Mitzi Soward and Granddaughter Eliza

Julie & Eliza with the Swanns & Mitzi Soward

 Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys

Several years ago Donna Ulisse, after a long period spent as a contract song writer and demo singer, decided, with the encouragement of Keith Sewell, to return to performing. There was never any question about her singing, but her background in country music and her limited experience raised a few eyebrows. No questions remain today about Donna's bluegrass credentials or power as a performer. We've watched her almost since the beginning of her performance career. She has now emerged, with several years of on-the-job training and woodshedding, as a polished performer, comfortable with herself on stage and in her relationship to her audience, as a first rate singer songwriter who contributes significantly to any festival or room where she appears.

Rick Stanley

 John Martin

Greg Davis

Tony King

Bill Baldock

Donna Ulisse

The best lemonade I ever none!
Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier

Jimbo Whaley and Kipper Stitt founded Pine Mountain Railroad some years ago and toured with great success. There comes a time, however, for many bluegrass people when family and home begin to pose a greater allure than the road. Pine Mountain Railroad was sold and Greenbrier, a regional band performing fairly seldom and always to appreciative audiences emerged. The band features first rate performers at every position and loads of personality to boot. Whaley is a talented and evocative singer and songwriter whose songs tug at the heart and often make a person think, too. Roger Helton plays both guitar and fiddle with verve and humor, while Stitt is a first rate banjo player. It's a joy to see Matt Leadbetter playing with them regularly, following ably in his father's footsteps. Scott Caris is solid and reliable on the bass, the way a bass player should be. 
Jimbo Whaley

Kipper Stitt

Roger Helton

Matt Leadbetter

Scott Caris

Turner Whaley with Dad Looking On

The Festival Table

Rehearsal Backstage 
Val, Cord, Jerry, Carl 

Irene & Donna at the Merch Table

Cordle, Jackson & Salley
with Val Story

Several years ago at the MACC (Musicians Against Childhood Cancer) Darrel Adkins asked Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, and Jerry Salley to perform at a MACC Opry as a songwriters trio playing their own works. It was a great success, and has continued there. Moreover, the Cordle, Jackson, & Salley show has morphed into an act appearing at festivals from New England to Mississippi as well as a group playing classic country music at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville. Val Story joins them, bringing her clear, pure voice to the already good singing of the other three. This is a terrific show, often prompting people seeing to say, "I didn't know he wrote that," and then staying to enjoy the fun. It's an informal romp through two decades or more of wonderful hit songs from bluegrass and country music.

 Carl Jackson

Larry Cordle

Jerry Salley

Moonrise over the Silos