Friday, May 20, 2016

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival 2016 - Friday: Review

Friday at Gettysburg began as a warmish, sunny day, but, alas, such weather was not to last. It soon became overcast, the temperature began to drop; all knew that some nasty weather was coming, but we had pleasure to seek and music to hear, workshops to attend, vendors to patronize. Everyone got busy enjoying themselves.

Audie Blaylock & Redline

Audie Blaylock is one of those hard working, hard driving bluegrass band leaders who help keep traditional bluegrass going, putting everything out in each performance. He's surrounded himself with a strong band which as been with him, off and on, for several years. The return of Evan Ward, fresh out of graduate school, rounds out a band Blaylock's fans are familiar with. Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, both maintains the drive and smooths over some of the roughness. Reed Jones provides the drive, while taking excellent solos when called on. Audie himself, always businesslike, rounds out this sometimes overlooked band with strong singing and solid rhythm guitar. This weekend, Becky Buller joined them for a guest duet with Patrick.

Audie Blaylock

Patrick McAvinue

Reed Jones

Evan Ward

Audie Blaylock & Redline - Stay Away from Me - Video


The Girls from Vermont
Candi Sawyer, B.J. McGee. Sherry Ravlin

Becky Buller on the Balcony Backstage

The Becky Buller Band

Becky Buller appears to have had a career plan for a long time. Coming from a deeply religious backgound in that bluegrass hotbed, Minnesota, Becky attended ETSU where she sharpened her performance skills as a fiddler, a mountain music interpreter, and a bluegrass luminary. She came to school as a songwriter, always becoming more productive during the succeeding years, with many of her songs being recorded by bluegrass's best. After several road years with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, where her versatility and ability draw a laugh thrived, she retired from the road to marry, produce a child, host a radio show, and write even more prodigiously. When she decided to form her own band, returning to the road, she was ready. She pulled together a veteran group and sought help from people who could provide it. Last year it all began to come together at IBMA, where she was named Emerging Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Her song "Southern Flavor," which added lyrics to a late Bill Monroe instrumental won an award as Vocal Event of the Year. Now she's on the road with an excellent band, and all the hard work shows because it seems effortless.

Becky Buller

Ned Luberecki

Brandon Bostic

Dan Boner

Becky Buller with Bassist Daniel Hardin

At Becky's Merch Table

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Rhonda Vincent has toured widely, performed at large and small festivals, won numerous awards, helped close some of the gap between bluegrass and country music, and earned hundreds of thousand fans through her hard work, likability, singing, and leadership. She's earned the sobriquet "Queen of Bluegrass." She's added her daughter Sally to her touring band. Sally contributes additional singing strength, working well with her mother to provide harmony and variety. The band is composed of members, each award winners and/or people of established reputations in his own right. Rhonda is still willing to appear at middle-sized and smaller bluegrass festivals as "the" major national headliner because of her well-established reputation for "putting butts in the seats." Often, a Rhonda Vincent appearance is the difference between losing and making money for promoters.

Rhonda Vincent

Aaron McDaris

Josh Williams

Mickey Harris

Sally Berry

Brent Burke

Hunter Berry

The Family Side

The Expendables....Just Kidding!

Rhonda Vincent

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage - Showcase Medley - Video

The Bed & Breakfast at Granite Hill

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Five time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year Russell Moore is celebrating the twenty-fifth year of IIIrd Tyme Out with a grand tour, featuring the band's newest album and a large assortment of his best loved and most requested songs from the band's very deep catalog. But IIIrd Tyme Out is not a one voice band, as evidenced by its seven vocal group of the year awards. Mandolinist Wayne Benson, after Russell the senior member of the band is well-recognized as one of the best bluegrass mandolin players in the world. The band features a signature ensemble sound drawn together by featuring fine individual talents willing to subordinate themselves to the quality of group. 

Justen Haynes

Wayne Benson

Keith McKinnon

Jerry Cole

Russell Moore

A Note on Video: Because of the vagaries of the weather, with brief rainshowers, increasing chill, and lots of wind, video became, at best, spotty from this point through Sunday afternoon. While I had hoped to do more video at Gettysburg, partly because of the clear, full sound provided by Southard Audio and partly because of the shape the hill, the weather made it nearly impossible. 

Patrick Has a New Banjo - Watch Out!

Sally & Hunter Berry

Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers

Larry Sparks has been in the bluegrass music business for over fifty years. Along the way, he's been with some great bands, including The Stanley Brothers as well as fronted his own band for much of the time. Many of his signature songs are all-time bluegrass hits, sung at jams across the land. Hard to know and quite shy, he's earned his way into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame through his performances and his record of consistency. 

Larry Sparks

D. Sparks

Larry Sparks

The Best Hula Hooper at the Festival


Tellico, from Asheville, NC, create a sparse mountain sound behind their lead singer, the nearly expressionless Anya Hinkle. They closed the afternoon and evening sessions. 

Anya Hinkle

Aaron Ballance

Jed Willis

Tony Amenta

Promoter Rich Winkleman, Larry Sparks, Rhonda Vincent

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