Each day before the festival begins and then during the festival, too, Johnny Adams and Lamar Moss host a jam where all are welcome, everyone gets a chance to participate at their own level, and lots of good picking helps people grow in the music.
Over the past three years we've watched the College Drive unit of the Bethel University Renaissance Bluegrass Band grow and mature from an enthusiastic crew of eager learners into a polished and satisfying bluegrass band while furthering their educations. Next time we see the band, the personnel will be completely changed, but the promise of the development of their faith and professionalism will certainly show the power of music to contribute to growth.
Time To Do a Little Trading
Balsam Range is the reigning IBMA Entertainer of the Year and has been nominated again this year. Their powerful music and lively stage show keep the audience entertained and interested. Including a range of music from old mountain through gospel, bluegrass and country to grassed rock and Jim Croce gives lots of variety while staying close to the bluegrass template. With four singers, they can combine and recombine to give lots of variety. Buddy Melton, on fiddle, is also this year's Male Vocalist of the Year.
Between them, Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, and Jerry Salley have won Grammy, IBMA, and Dove awards as well as sold millions of records with their bluegrass and country songs. Some have become standards while others are included in hymn books. Each has written so many familiar songs that when they join as a group to sing and play together, people in the audience say things like, "I didn't know he wrote that one!"