Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (The MACC): Friday & Saturday - Review

The Shirk Family Heads to the Gate to Sell Tickets

The weather for Thursday at the MACC was just wonderful, ending this year without a drop of rain during the four days of the festival as well as warm, but not blazing hot days and pleasant, warm nights. Good crowds came out to enjoy the music, the sense of being a part of something bigger than they were, and the lovely weather. I'm late getting this up, so I'll reduce text and maximize pictures. Enjoy this year's MACC with its diversity of bluegrass and country music, great singing and picking, a few surprises, and lots of fun.

The Baker Family

The Baker Family is attractive and young, showing promise. Yound Carina has a delightfully mature voice. The family is worth keeping an eye on as they mature. 

Trustin Baker

Elijah Baker

Carrie Baker

Carina Baker

Sister Sadie Warms Up in the Hospitality Tent
Tina Adair, Beth Lawrence

Gena Britt, Brandon Bostic (ooops!), and Deannie Richardson

Playground Area

Out in the Campground

Sister Sadie

Sister Sadie is an all women, all-star band. Each member is distinguished in her own right. Their music is sprightly and highly disciplined. Because each has responsibilities in other major bands, they don't play often enough as a band themselves. Change this by requesting your local promoter to book them.
Tina Adair

Dale Ann Bradley

Deaning Richardson

Beth Lawrence

Gena Britt

 Lou Reid & Carolina

Lou Reid & Carolina has long been established as a fine band in both bluegrass and gospel music with an emphasis on classic bluegrass along with fine new songs that express a contemporary vision in an older and more traditional style. 

Lou Reid

Trevor Watson

Kevin Richardson

please help

Children's Band Rehearsal

In the Campground

 The Larry Stephenson Band

The Larry Stephenson Band has long been a staple of strong traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music. It's not at all rare for Larry and his band to perform at a festival and join a worship service in a nearby or on-the-way church on Sunday morning. His pure, clear tenor voice is a model for tenors. Kenny Ingram is one of the banjo greats on Sonny Osborne's famous Vega banjo. This band always gives its best, which is very good. 

Larry Stephenson

Kenny Ingram

Kevin Richardson

Matt Wright

Larry Stephenson

In the Campground

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

Joe Mullins was a member of the original Longview and has, for years, broadcast from his family's radio stations in southern Ohio. Noted for his high quality Scruggs style banjo play, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers were named IBMA Emerging Band of the Year in 2012

Mike Terr & Jason Barie

Vocal Trio
Mike Terry, Joe Mullins, Duane Sparks

Jason Barie

Randall Barnes

In the Bottoms - Rough Camping Field

Bradkey Walker - Classic Duets

One of the joys of Musicians Against Childhood Cancer is Promoter Darrell Adkins ability, because of his wide acquaintanceship throughout the bluegrass and country worlds to attract prime musicians and then put them together into interesting and creative performing situations with artists from other bands. For this set, he asked Bradley Walker to put together some of the great classic country duets sung by Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner, Willy Nelson and George Jones, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, and June Carter and Johnny Cash to make great music. Walker, winner of the 2007 Male Vocalist of the Year Award from IBMA, pulled off a wonderful set, standing in for many of the great male singers. Magic!

Clay Hess

Charli Robertson

Josh Williams

Dominic Illingsworth

Aubrey Haynie

Brandon Rickman

Larry Atamanuik

Mo Pitney

The Lonesome River Band

One of those bands which is so well known merely its initials are enough: LRB. Continuing a more than thirty year tradition of rock inflected bluegrass with an edge to it, LRB is merely one of the best ever. Sammy Shelor's banjo play is so great it has become a picking style of its own. 

Sammy Shelor

Mike Hartgrove

Brandon Rickman

Barry Reed

Sammy Shelor

Emcee Daniel Mullins

MACC Nashville Mystery Performer
Mo Pitney

Mo Pitney is a rising young country singer/songwriter whose songs stimulate the mind as well as the spirit, bringing up some of the strengths of classic country music while still tinged with a strong contemporary vibe. His performance is string, and his personality winning. I can only wish him well.



Blake Pitney

Mo Pitney 

Junior Sisk and Friend

The SteelDrivers

The SteelDrivers are on home ground at the MACC, having given one of their earlier performances there and continuing to appear there almost every year as an evening attraction. While seeming to be loose and carefree, they are at once completely disciplined and carefully structured combining a deep delta blues vibe with a bluegrass string band structure. Their song writing has always been superb and their singing and playing has continued to improve with additions to the and and careful, mostly minor restructuring. Those who stay to listen are easily captured as fans. They're a band that will consistently keep me up after bedtime. My apologies to Tammy Rogers for my having to go to another festival for a good picture of her. She deserves better. 

Mike Fleming

Richard Bailey

Brent Truitt

Tammy Rogers

Gary Nichols

Dudley Connell & Friends

Dudley Connell has been a leading member of three important ground-breaking bands, each different and a trend setter: The Johnson Mountain Boys, Longview, and for the past twenty years, The Seldom Scene, one of the most original trend setters of them all. Through his long career he's come to know most of the current and past greats, and called upon many of the current one for this classic performance. 

Junior Sisk

Larry Stephenson 

Aubrey Haynie

Randy Kohrs

Marshall Wilborn & Dudley Connell

Sally Love Connell

And thus endeth a very satisfactory Friday at the MACC. 

MACC Children's Band

Each year the MACC Children's Band works for several hours a day to learn to play instruments and sing before presenting a performance at the beginning of Saturday's show. This year, a group of somewhat older, more experienced boys added their skills to working with and backing a group of young girls as they prepared and performed. Here they are at the opening of Saturday.

Volume Five

Volume Five made its MACC debut on Saturday morning. A Mississippi-based bluegrass band lead by Glenn Harrell, a fine singer and fiddler, the band is always a pleasure to hear and a strong addition to the MACC lineup.

Glenn Harrell

Patton Wages

Chris Williamson

Harry Clark & Colby Laney

Glenn Harrell
Buddy Robertson (Flatt Lonesome) Looks On

Tom Feller - Set it and Pay Attention

Breaking Grass

Breaking Grass, another Mississippi-based band, made its second appearance at The MACC and, once again, put on a high energy show with plenty of original material as well as some fine covers of both Newgrass Revival and a selection of particularly well-grassed popular rocky songs. This band clearly respects its roots while continuing to explore ways to update and refresh itself.

Cody Farrar

Zach Wooten

Thelton Vanderford

Britt Sheffield

Tyler White

Cody Farrar

Plenty of Craft & Food Vendors

Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Larry Cordle's songs have been bought on over fifty million albums and he is one of the most recognized and rewarded of all people writing for bluegrass and country music. His song Murder on Music Row is both highly popular and a direct criticism of the loss of soul and heart in contemporary country music. He's a masterful, creative song writer whose songs carry content as well as often whimsical storytelling to new heights. It's always a pleasure to hear Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Jody King

David Harvey

Kim Gardner

Mike Anglin

Bowie Beach


Junior Sisk

Junior Sisk is clearly one of the best, and certainly one of the most loyal, practitioners of interpreting the works of Ralph Stanley and the repertoire of ground breaking band The Johnson Mountain Boys, whose work hugely informs his own singing and performance. He's going to need, however, to stop saying how much he hates talking on stage - he's getting too good at it. His older songs and his old-sounding songs are by times plaintive and funny. His band is filled with young, highly respected musicians who play tight, hard-driving bluegrass as it's supposed to be played. 

Junior Sisk

Jonathan Dillon

Jason Davis

Jonathan Dillon & Kameron Keller

Kameron Keller & Junior

Jamie Harper

 The Trio
Jonathan, Kameron, Junior

Terry & Kathy Owens

Flatt Lonesome

We first heard Flatt Lonesome at Newell Lodge in Folkston, GA, a mere twenty two and a half miles from their home in Callahan, FL where they had begun as a gospel band in the church where their father served as the pastor. Since then they've come a long, long way. Their harmonies have become sharper and more focused, their singing has smoothed out, their stage presence has grown as their confidence and experience warrant, and their comfort in public has increased hugely. Charli Robertson's voice has emerged as a fine solo and duet one, not only with her own band, but with other country and bluegrass bands, singing this year with both Daryle Singletary and Bradley Walker. The band won IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year in 2014, and has continued to improve. Look for more and better as they continue to work.

Charli Robertson

Buddy Robertson

Kelly Robertson Harrigil

Paul Harrigill

Dominic Illingworth

Michael Stockton

For the past three years, The Centerville (Ohio) Alternative Strings have appeared in conjunction with a band. The creation of Centerville High School's Doug Eyink, the alternative strings play, among other things, bluegrass music. This year, the band chosen for them to play with was Flatt Lonesome. This performance, combining a bluegrass band with a string ensemble, has become a well attended and much looked forward to event. 

Alternative Strings Waiting in the Wings

Doug Eyink

Centerville Alternative Strings with Flatt Lonesome

Buddy Robertson

Charlie Robertson

Saturday night at the MACC is usually an evening of assemblages and creations honoring bands and musicians of the past featuring contemporary musicians of unusual, even remarkable quality. The band are called together by Darrell Adkins and happily perform together in varying combinations which come together to create a magical evening of nostalgia for the past featuring players for the future, today, and yesterday.

Cordle, Jackson & Salley

As far as I know, this combination of singer/songwriter/performers was first brought together a few years ago on the MACC stage. Since then they have become a popular attraction as a trio, often with the addition of Val Storey, at festivals aroumd the country. They have also morphed into a band appearing at the Station Inn as New Monday performing classic country songs. They always deliver.

Jerry Salley

Larry Cordle

Carl Jackson

Robby Turner

Dani Flowers

Larry Attamanuik

Beth Lawrence

The Original Longview

Longview is a bluegrass superband formed in the late 1990's composed of busy and successful musicians. More a recording band than a performing one, they attracted a good deal of attention. This performance at the MACC was eagerly awaited. The Longview lineup has been fairly flexible, since each of the members has a busy schedule elsewhere. James King, however, has been a popular mainstay. Despite being obviously ill, James appeared on stage and, when he was singing, managed to find the strength to bring joy, and sadness, to his many fans. 

James King

Don Rigsby

Joe Mullins & Marshall Wilborn

A Tribute to J.D. Crowe

For the finale of this year's Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, Josh Williams hosted a large group of musicians, many of whom had been on stage all evening long, to sing some of the great materials played by J.D. Crowe & the New South during their heyday in the 1980's and 90's. Josh wisely chose some more obscure songs from this great catalog as well as many Tony Rice standards, in which he excels. Some of the show was backed by the Centerville Alternative Strings, too. A fine ending to another fine MACC.

Bradley Walker

Aaron McDaris

As the event came to a rousing close, we wearily packed our gear away in our truck and headed for the motel to pack for the long trip home starting on Sunday, when we annually pick up Stanley Butler, take him to the airport, and begin the 750 mile drive home. See you next  year!