I like the Navy band a lot. They look good, they sound good, and they communicate an excitement about what they're doing that's palpable. Their recognition of active and former service people accompanied by the playing of the Service Hymns is the only such demonstration performed at bluegrass festivals that actually moves me. I wish other bands wishing to show their appreciation of people's service to our country would give serious through to finding more suitable sorts of recognition showing appreciation without either cynicism or pandering. Meanwhile, Country Current's musical heritage, including their own backgrounds and the continuing influence of Bill Emerson and Wayne Taylor on their music and deportment is truly admirable. Their musicians achieve a level of excellence rarely reached in any bluegrass band.
The band is so well-recognized it only needs to be referred to by its initials, LRB. Sammy Shelor won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass a couple of years ago....richly deserved. How many banjo players have a distinctly recognizable style that's named after them? Hobo Blues this afternoon was a masterpiece of bluegrass and blues improvisation. LRB is always a pleasure to hear and see.
The Howlin' Brothers are a Nashville-based trio playing bluegrass, cajun, old-time, blues, with a little rock mixed in. They're highly entertaining and represent a breath of fresh air. Really a good time.