Friday, February 20, 2015

Palatka Bluegrass Festival 2015: Thursday - Review

After stopping for some repairs at Gauthier's RV Repair, located just south of Ruskin, FL, where the crew did a remarkable job quickly and efficiently at a very fair price, we drove up to the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch in Palatka by a new route, escaping the misery of I-75 as quickly as possible in order to be able to enjoy the Florida countryside. We checked in and got settled.

Jamming on Monday Afternoon
with Johnny Adams

Norman & Judy Adams Getting Started
Before their Office is Set Up

Reserved Seating Has Eliminated the
Crush to Place Seats

Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers

Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers are a Mississippi band making one of their first appearances on a major national stage. Primarily a bluegrass gospel band, they sing a broader range of traditional bluegrass material, too. Sibley has a clear, true voice that he projects with intensity and conviction. His band backs him well. He can be seen on RFD-TV's Cumberland Highlanders program. 

Alan Sibley

Larry Wallace

Butch Hodgins (?)

(Please Help)

Alan Sibley

The Main Drive

 The Spinney Brothers

Nova Scotia's gift to bluegrass put on one of the best shows of theirs I've seen. They were animated, funny, and solid in their presentation of bluegrass and country standards as well as new songs they themselves have written and others they have chosen carefully. They're here for two days, which will give them an added audience as new people continue to arrive today. Good show!

Rick Spinney

Alan Spinney

Clay Dalrymple

Terry Poirier

Rick & Alan Enjoying the Weather

Protected Warm Corner

 Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out is one of the most reliable and musical of the top touring bands. They can be relied on for a good show. After a year of settling in to a new lineup after years of stability, the band has successfully re-established its sound with changes taking advantage of Blake Johnson's fine, supple voice and excellent bass play and Keith McKinnon's excellent banjo along with his baritone singing. Russell has become increasingly skilled at emceeing his own show, interacting playfully with folks he recognizes in the audience. Wayne Benson talking and singing more. They will be going back into the studio this spring with a new recording due out during the summer or early autumn. 

Russell Moore

Wayne Benson

Justen Haynes

Keith McKinnon

Blake Johnson

Russell Moore

Warming Up Against the Wall

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

As I watched Doyle Lawson with his band today, I realized that not a single member of the band we first saw at Merlefest more than a dozen years ago remains, but the sound and style continue virtually unchanged. This is a testimony to Doyle's consistency and excellence as a teacher and bandmaster. Meanwhile, the training he provides continues to enrich other bands. The latest addition of Stephen Burwell is excellent. Burwell is a fine fiddler as well as complimenting the band with a useful and flexible voice. Eli Johnston on bass stands at Doyle's left shoulder, driving the band with his beat while filling the "bad boy" comic role with subtlety and humor. Doyle appears to have happily settled into his Hall of Fame stature while still providing heart and soul to his band.

Doyle Lawson

Dustin Pyrtle

Josh Swift

Joe Dean

Stephen Burwell

Eli Johnston

Doyle Lawson

 Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

The busiest band in bluegrass arrives after long drives, through bad weather, and chilled to the bone. And then there seems to be no hurry, as Rhonda settles into a show, almost always different in many ways from what it was the last time we saw her, which was less than a month ago. She provides musical and personal surprises. What's never a surprise is the high quality of her singing and her management of the very talented crew she brings. The development of latest son-in-law Brent Burke, whose dobro play has recently been augmented with his singing and song-writing is a good example. Hunter Berry's sly humor and Josh Williams' singing and flat picking are always strong. Aaron McDaris is completely reliable anchoring the left end of the line with his distinctive, yet clearly Scruggsian banjo. Mickey Harris' harmony, singing, and strong beat are always fine. Rhonda Vincent & the Rage  are just a pleasure to watch.

Rhonda Vincent

Brent Burke

Aaron McDaris

Josh Williams

Mickey Harris

Hunter Berry

Josh Playing Willie Nelson's Notes

Rhonda, Caroline (Mom) & Darren Vincent
A Surprise Guest Appearence
Photo by Deb Miller