Alan Sibley serves up a nice combination of classic bluegrass and bluegrass gospel mixed with lots of talk about his appearances on RFD-TV. Good opening act. Sadly, Sibley doesn't mention the names of the other members of his band on either his web site or his Facebook page.
Dry Branch Fire Squad has been reinvigorated by changes in its personnel. Fronted for forty years by bluegrass musician/social commentator Ron Thomason, the band is a favorite a large and small festivals around the country. The music is drawn from old-time, folk, and early bluegrass as well as liberally from the songs of Hazel Dickens. Thomason brings sharp analysis and social consciousness to his often piercing wit. This remarkably durable band continue to deliver. The addition of former member Adam McIntosh, a fine flat picker and singer along with bassist Jeff Byrd, referred to by Thomason as a human metronome, has pushed Ron to sharpen his instrumental work. We're looking forward to seeing Dry Branch Fire Squad several times during the coming season.
The Grascals are the Grascals again! They've returned to the excitement and enthusiasm that characterized this band when they hit the road ten years ago. The current band is probably better musically than the original with the addition of John Bryan, a wonderful tenor and fine guitar player, to the mix. I've never seen award winning banjo player Kristin Scott Benson having as much fun on the stage as she is at the beginning of this season. The interactions of Danny Roberts with Adam Haynes on his right and Bryan on his left show the fun they're having as well as the leadership Roberts has assumed in the band. Their show at Palatka was truly enjoyable, with new material and many of their old favorites.