Lawson Creek reprised their successful performance of last year with two good sets featuring singer Starlet Austin on bass. They do a good job covering bluegrass standards and with Starlet's traditional sounding newer songs. Nice job opening.
The Spinney Brothers are becoming increasingly popular as they are introduced to increasing numbers of festival and concert audiences across the United States. They bring a particularly eastern Canadian tone and style to presenting traditional bluegrass and country music. Their singing and picking is precise, their preparation impeccable.
The Po' Ramblin' Boys (as they call themselves when not on tour as James King's backup band), opened and performed until James appeared. They are: Josh Rinkel on guitar, Jereme Brown on banjo, Jasper Lotentzen on bass, and C.J. Lewandowski on mandolin. I look forward to seeing them on the bill as themselves in the not-to-distant future. They acquitted themselves well in their fill-in and back-up roles.
Karl Shiflett & the Big Country Show evoke an older age in the history of country and bluegrass music. They seek to bring back to life the days of the live radio shows of the forties and fifties when bands traveled from one small, low powered radio station to another presenting live shows on air to publicize a performance at a school, a barn, or a small church later that evening. It was a grueling existence that spread the music to rural America. Using a single, radio style microphone, the band pulls it off with surprising authenticity, presenting a combination of western swing music, forties and fifties pop variations, and bluegrass/country. With his long, hound dog face and low keyed leadership, Shiflett moves the songs around providing each member of the band plenty of latitude to play and sing. When guest musicians are available to play, he calls them onstage, too. I had not particularly enjoyed Shiflett's show last time I saw them, but found myself falling under the spell of the illusion he creates, and the effectiveness of it.
In the Campground
The Malpass Brothers
Chris Malpass, Sr.
Mike Wilson Contemplating the Weather
Randy Cook and The Commonwealth Bluegrass Band
Nick Nixon & Jason Davis
Justen Haynes & Keith McKinnon
Michelle Nixon & Drive
Michelle & Nick Nixon
The Darrell Webb Band
Nick & Michelle Nixon
Famous Knitter Marta Jones