Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival in Roxboro, NC April 23 - 25: Preview

The Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival will run at Willow Oak Park near Roxboro, NC from April 23 - April 25, 2015 featuring a strong and familiar lineup of excellent bluegrass bands with some classic country added as a change of pace. Willow Oak Park has been constantly improved as promoter Mike Wilson has increased the number of campsites with electric hookups, built a convenient shower facility with clean hot showers, and built the lineup to include excellent national headliners, as well as local and regional favorites. Willow Oak Park offers a pleasant getaway convenient to the Raleigh/Durham metropolitan area as well as North Carolina's and Virginia's rural areas. It continues to develop as a fine bluegrass festival.

The Lineup
Feller & Hill - Tom Feller

Tom Feller & Chris Hill grow out of the rich bluegrass tradition of Indiana, where both of them have close relationships to the well-remembered Boys from Indiana.  They first came together as a band at The MACC in Ohio about four years ago, and have been steadily building their band and their fan base. Their show is tuneful and energetic.

Christopher Hill

Lawson Creek Band

The Lawson Creek Band comes from Southern Virginia and North Carolina. They return to Willow Oak after a successful turn last year which was well-received by the crowd. 

Danny Fitts & Joe Dawson

 Spinney Brothers

The Spinney Brothers have been bringing their high paced bluegrass and soulful classic country to a national audience in the U.S. from the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia for several years. Their songs are increasingly reaching the bluegrass charts, and they've been nominated as Emerging Artist at IBMA. They have a strong and loyal fan base. 

 Little Roy & Lizzy

Little Roy Lewis has been a powerhouse entertainer in bluegrass and gospel music for over sixty years, first with his family band and now with the Little Roy & Lizzy Show. A member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame with the Lewis Family, he helps us remember the baggy pants comedic roots which are an important element in bluegrass history. Lizzy Long is a multi-instrumentalist of power and conviction.

Marty Raybon & Full Circle

Marty Raybon's great voice and high energy combine with a strong band, including his brother Tim on bass. to bring a top notch show to the Willow Oak stage. Weather he's singing bluegrass, gospel, or country music, Raybon is one of the finest singers and best entertainers around. 

 Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show

Karl Shifflet & Big Country's show is described on his web page as retro, a good word for a show that hearkens back to the early radio days of bluegrass music. Placing an old-timey radio microphone at center stage and dressed in period clothes, Shifflet and his band help remind us of the early days. We haven't seen Shifflett in several years, so I'm eager to reacquaint myself with his work.

James King Band

James King has been ill. Nevertheless, he says he plans to be at Willow Oak with Kevin "Waldo" Prater and Adam Poindexter as well as other members of his early band to do a "reunion" show. Should be an emotional time.

 Nothin’ Fancy

We saw Nothin Fancy three times during the winter season. They never repeated a show. This Virginia band has performed nearly everywhere, bringing its combination of music and comedy to fans and newbie alike. They're also the best interpreter on The Country Gentlemen touring today. Fiddler Chris Sexton injects serious and comic bits of classical repertoire into his bluegrass fiddling, providing a unique insight. If you haven't seen Nothin Fancy, you can look forward to a real treat.

Chris Sexton

Malpass Brothers 
Taylor Malpass

The Malpass Brothers offer a welcome change of pace to bluegrass audiences, interpreting a collection of classic country artists with eerie accuracy. Since a significant portion of the bluegrass audience is composed of disgruntled country music fans whose favorite music no longer seems to exist, this band has come on the scene at just the right time. If you're a hard-core bluegrasser, stay to listen anyway. Don't let the drum kit scare you away, and see whether you don't become a convert.

Chris Malpass

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

It's hard to find something new to say about this band, which has won so many awards and been so popular for many years. Russell Moore's voice and leadership are the core of it's their quality and sound. Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out remain regulars at Willow Oak.

Russell Moore

Randy Cook & Commonwealth Bluegrass Band

This Virginia-based bluegrass band says it plays traditional and contemporary music in a lively and enjoyable way. I look forward to seeing them for the first time.

Darrell Webb Band

Darrell Webb's long career belies his youth. He's played with some of the best bands in the country and is a sought out session musician. His voice can accommodate the high lonesome sound of traditional bluegrass and capture the excitement of more contemporary sounds. His writing conveys both thought and emotion. He is joined by a strong and enthusiastic band.

Jr Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Junior Sisk may be the greatest living interpreter of the music of the Stanley Brothers. His voice and interpretations are highly recognizable and always true to the intent of the song. He comes from Ferrum, Virginia, on the Crooked Road, and despite wide travel in this country and abroad never ventures very far from home. He remains true to himself and his vision. The recent addition of Kameron Keller on bass and Jamie Harper on fiddle add youth and enthusiasm to the band. Jason Davis on banjo remains one of the very best! Jonathan Dillon on mandolin and vocals has matured into the job. This is a very good band.

Michelle Nixon & Drive

Michelle Nixon, one of the original Daughters of Bluegrass, has been nominated for numerous SPBGMA and IBMA awards. She was named Female Vocalist of the Year at SPBGMA (traditional) in 2006. The core of her band remains husband Nick Nixon and guitarist Patrick Robertson. Enjoyable.

The Willow Oak lineup is strong and varied. It should be satisfactory to a range of bluegrass fans in an unequaled setting.

The Details

Tickets  to the Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival at a discount may be purchased online until April 16th. After that, they are available at the gate, Over the past few years, additional electric sites have been added, and some may still be available. There is abundant space for rough camping at $5.00/night which is available in wooded and sunny areas. Full information about camping can be found here. Other lodging is available in nearby Roxboro. Mike Wilson can be contacted here for additional information. Plenty of food vendors provide a good variety of choices for meals or snacks.

 How to Get to Willow Oak Park
Click on the o to create your own custom map.

Promoter Mike Wilson