Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival 2014 - Friday: Review

Thursday night's rainfall, according to WGAL-TV was 4.72 inches, the most of any place in central Pennsylvania. Friday morning dawned clearing, and by kickoff at 11:30, the sun was out and the air was warming. Nevertheless, the grounds were a quagmire which became stickier and deeper as the day progressed, despite efforts by Granite Hill's crew to spread hay in strategic places. Despite the mess, though, spirits were high and the audience eagerly looked forward to a fine day of wonderful music, with which they were amply rewarded.

Country Current - The U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band

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.

Kenny Ray Horton

Keith Arneson

Pat White

Joe Friedman

Pat Gulley

WAMU's Lisa Kay Howard - Emcee

 Circle Jam at the Workshop Tent

One of the Excellent Food Vendors
Uncle Moe's Soul Foods

The Spinney Brothers

The Spinney Brothers are a reliable band with engaging members who come from Nova Scotia. They play traditional bluegrass covers and new bluegrass music emulating the traditional style as well as covers of traditional country songs. They have built a strong fan base around this country and been responsible for introducing and spreading bluegrass music to places in Canada where it hasn't previously been well known.

Rick Spinney

Alan Spinney

 Gary Dalrymple

 Terry Poirier

The Spinney Brothers

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Rhonda Vincent works harder than any queen should be required to labor in the fields. She's justly called "The Queen of Bluegrass," but she's the hardest working royalty since Victoria. Her band has superb musicians in every position, and her leadership is strong while each band member gets lots of opportunity to strut his stuff, demonstrating his own particular skill set. Her mixture of bluegrass and country, secular and gospel is balanced and always seems fresh, even when you see her regularly. Her appeal is clearly shown by the crowds which assemble at her bus, the Martha White Express, after each show.

Rhonda Vincent

Josh Williams

Mickey Harris

Aaron McDaris

Hunter Berry

Brent Burke

Rhonda Vincent

The Sons-in-Law
Hunter and Brent

How Convenient Can It Get?

The Lonesome River 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.

Sammy Shelor

Something Interesting Off the Mike
Sammy Shelor and Brandon Rickman

Mike Hartgrove

Barry Reed

Brandon Rickman & Randy Jones

Sammy Shelor

IBMA Executive Director
Nancy Cardwell

The SteelDrivers

I resisted the SteelDrivers for quite a long time...then Gary Nichols and Brent Truitt came along and, quite quickly, I became a fan of their performances. Many of their classic songs are still the great work written for the original configuration by Chris Stapleton, but this band really communicates, and what it says is that the blues and elements of rock and roll really do belong in bluegrass music. It's been a delight watching Nichols find his place in the band and then assume a posture of leadership as more of his personality and his song writing enter into the mix. They're a single unit again, and they appear to be having a ball. Tammy Rogers on fiddle and vocals is incomparable. They generate excitement wherever they go.

Gary Nichols

Brent Truitt

Mike Fleming

Tammy Rogers

Richard Bailey

Gary Nichols

Tammy Rogers


Joe Cornett - Promoter Emeritus

Standing Ovation for the SteelDrivers

The Howlin' Brothers

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.

Jared Green

Ian Craft

Ben Plasse

More Coming...Maybe tomorrow.