Welcome to my Blog. I write primarily about bluegrass music and the bluegrass experience. I also review books I read as well as offering road notes and travel entries. Come in and look around to see whether there's anything here for you. Be sure to check the archives and the labels. Please leave comments. I try to respond to all of them.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival 2015 - Saturday & Assessment
The Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival offers a lot of opportunities in a relatively small space. The silos and the barn stand out as a symbol of a part of the world bluegrass came from, while the RV's, large and small, elaborate and simple, suggest where it has gone and is continuing toward. Bluegrass, in its own special way, represents a local and a worldwide celebration of the values of wholesome entertainment, often in an outdoor setting with simple acoustic instruments. Dumplin Valley, along with hundred of other events stands for those values and that music year after year.
Morning Around the Casteen 5th Wheel
A Banjo Marathon
Leonard & Larry Casteen
Floyd Bailey & Banjo Guru Larry Mathis
Larry Mathis & Sherry Casteen
Carson Peters is an eleven year old fiddler who's been dubber, I suspect by his Dad, as "Fiddlin' Carson Peters." Emphasis is placed, on his web site, on his youth and the celebrity situations he's already been exposed to. For his age, he's remarkably poised as an emcee and competent as a fiddle player. He serves as the band emcee, entering into a lively repartee with his band members, all of whom are much senior to him. One member of the audience mentioned to me that she didn't like his "disrespect" for his elders. I noted that this was all completely programmed and scripted by those who were the butt of his repartee, but the person wasn't persuaded. It's lively and keeps the show moving. As usual, I'll restrain myself until after his voice changes and we see how he develops, but at present, the results are charming and encouraging.
The Carson Peters Band - Will Roses Bloom Where She Lies Sleeping Video
Stage B is a quiet, orderly place where super-fan Leon Johnson hosts friends his friends and artists can have a quiet getaway at festivals. Always good fun!
Breaking Grass in a mostly young and all enthusiastic and able band from northern Mississippi. Under the leadership of Cody Ferrar, a singer/songwriter who exudes warmth and friendlynessm writes strong songs, and sings the fire out of them, they have progressed well with their covers of some newgrass and some excellent second and third generation material as well as original material filled with faith, fun, and some degree of darkness. They write together, pick together, and have grown together, keeping the same band for several years of consistent growth. They seem just a skosh away from serious consideration for Emerging Artist. They're spreading their wings, recording, getting "track-by-track performances on Sirius/XM, just about ready. See them and see what you think.
Breaking Grass - God's Still Good - Video
Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run
Rebecca Frazier is a fine flat-picker, singer and songwriter with a experience ranging from her home in Virginia, to Michigan State University, Berklee College of Music, and time spent in Colorado. Now based in Nashville, her style incorporates classic bluegrass, some jazz and swing, and some more progressive bluegrass tunes. She's a pleasant and able band leader who has surrounded herself with young musicians most of whom have been contest winners at Winfield, Merlefest, or other large and important events. The result is high skill and an enjoyable time as well as a change of pace show at a bluegrass festival.
Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run - The Human Highway - Video
Rebecca Frazier & Friend (the WDVX Chicker - Freddie Smith
Sideline began as just that, a sideline for a group of busy musicians with regular jobs on other bands looking for some picking fun during the off season. What a surprise when a part-time bluegrass band playing classic bluegrass covers suddenly had over thirty dates with little or no effort made to find bookings. Then they put out a CD which they gave the creative name of "Session One." What's happened? Sideline has become a highly sought after band noted for its first rate instrumentals and the always amusing patter of emcee Steve Dilling, long-time banjo player and emcee for IIIrd Tyme Out. Brothers Brian Aldridge carrying heavy responsibility on vocals and mandolin and his younger brother, fifteen year old Nathan Aldridge, are standouts. Jason Moore has long been recognized as one of the best bass players in the business. Skip Cherryholmes is animated carrying water with his rhythm guitar, flat picking and singing. Very strong band!
Sideline - Bittersweet Memories - Video
The Lonesome River Band
Sammy Shelor joined the Lonesome River Band in 1990 and became its owner in 2000. The band's sound has become one of the leaders in developing and incorporating the sound and feel of rock music within the constraints of bluegrass string band instruments and form. It has become, over the years one of the most widely respected and busiest bands on the circuit. They're a classic closing band, bringing energy and drive to their work. Though they've been the home for many top players like Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby, and Kenny Smith, their sound has continued to evolve despite the depth of their catalog, changes in personnel and the demand from fans for singing old favorites. While some people may yearn for the past, for us the current LRB represents the finest aggregation Shelor has put together in the years we've been watching and listening to them. We always look forward to seeing them, letting the great songs and band personality work its way further into us. Shelor is well-recognized and rewarded as one of the finest contemporary banjo players. Brandon Rickman deserves such recognition as a singer and writer of many of the songs they perform as well as a fine guitar player. Barry Reed is simply one of the best bass players on tour. Jesse Smathers, only with the band for a few months, has already put his own stamp on the tenor solos, especially with his rendition of the Merle Haggard classic "Shelley's Winter Love." LRB is genuinely one of the best and most entertaining bands around, not because of their patter, but because of the excitement their music generates.
Lonesome River Band - It's a Long Road on a Trip That Never Ends Video