Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (The MACC) 2016 - Wednesday & Thursday - Review

It always seems like a long drive from New Hampshire to Lochbourne, OH for the MACC. We have to consider whether the expense, time, the often scorching heat, and (our) energy cost are worth it to us. Then we think about the friends we've made there, the cause, the music and pack the truck to prepare for one of the two most grueling weeks of our year. 

Before the Show

Many of the volunteer staff members have already been at Hoover-Y Park for several days lining the camping fields, laying out the parking areas, directing the deliveries of porta-johns, erecting small tents, and undertaking all the small, often un-noticed tasks that putting on a large festival requires. Early-bird campers have been arriving since Sunday, putting up tents, settling in, jamming, and watching the small, soon to erupt community begin to form.

And then....it's show time!

Feller & Hill

Tom Feller & Chris Hill's band, a linear descendant of the Boys from Indiana is lively and varied, enjoyable. Beyond that, both men play crucial roles in the entire event. Tom can be seen running sound from a the tent covered sound board in the read of the performance area while Chris Hill is an accomplished emcee working with Daniel Mullins to keep the show moving forward and the audience engaged between bands. 

Tom Feller

Chris Hill

Mark Poe

Stanley Efaw

Bobby Davis

The New Jumbo-Tron

Leroy Troy & the Tennesse Mafia Jug Band

The Tennessee Mafie Jug Band hearkens back to the pre-bluegrass days of string band music, while Leroy Troy has resurrected many of the songs and routines of Uncle Dave Macon, a pioneer old-time banjo player. The band is filled with humor and tomfoolery, the kind of band that provides much needed change-of-pace humor and entertainment at a bluegrass festival.

Leroy Troy

Mike Armistead

Ernie Bevans

Aaron Till

Leroy Troy 

David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition

David Parmley has returned to touring with a solid band of former members of the Bluegrass Cardinals, reprising much of the material from the band he grew up in under his father, who sadly passed away last week. This is a good band, especially for those with a strong nostalgia for the 1980's and 1990's. My apologies to Doug Barlett, who plays mandolin in this band, for not being able to get a usable photo.

David Parmley

Steve Day & Dale Perry

 Dale Perry

Ron Spears

The Vocal Trio

Shade is Where You Find It

...Or Make It

Marty Raybon & Full Circle

Filled with soul and sincerity, Marty Raybon has had successful careers in both bluegrass and country music. Last year we enjoyed seeing him with his country band, Shenandoah. This year he returned with his bluegrass band. Each is distinctive in its genre and represents well its own unique content and excitement. Marty's one of the best.

Marty Raybon

Chris Davis

Luke Mundy


Tom Feller at the Sound Board

 Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are on their twenty-fifth anniversary tour reflecting on the vast quantity of hit songs in their very deep catalog. From their first recording, where "End the Miles" made its debut to their Cracker Barrel album and beyond, this has been as solid and enjoyable a band as can be found in bluegrass. Some might comment that they veer to close to pop or country music, but this is a bluegrass band that incorporates diverse elements into what's clearly in the pocket of bluegrass as a genre that synthesizes other music and makes it its own. Russell Moore's fine voice remains strong and resonant, while the band members each contribute their own style and insight. Wayne Benson on mandolin remains one of the most creative innovators while staying loyal to Mr. Monroe, where it all started. One of the great bluegrass bands of all time. 

Russell Moore

Wayne Benson

Justen Haynes

Keith McKinnon

Jerry Cole

Darrel Adkins with Jacob Burleson & Caleb Cox

 The Grascals

The Grascals have returned to the top of their game, perhaps they're actually better than ever. The addition of John Bryan has reinvigorated the entire band. Watching the ongoing conversation between Kristin Benson and Terry Eldredge on the right side or Adam Haynes and Danny Roberts on the left shows the pure joy all four are currently getting from playing together. Meanwhile, the trio of Terry Smith, John Bryan and Terry Eldredge is more powerful and convincing than ever. Even songs they've been playing and singing for years have taken on new interpretations and found new ways of expressing themselves. Danny Roberts has stepped up as band spokesman, doing an excellent job.

Danny Roberts

John Bryan

Terry Smith

Adam Haynes

Kristin Scott Benson

Terry Eldredge

Jaelee Roberts

Daryle Singletary

Country singer Daryle Singletary brought his baritone voice, pleasant demeanor, and love of classic country music back to the MACC for the third year. His first visit here was a solo appearance that was very well received. Last year he came with a full country band, asking Charli Robertson to join him for a song. This year, he, with Charli, offered a full-throated tribute to the late Merle Haggard. The set was very well-received and suggests the continued inclusion of country music as a part of the MACC's commitment to traditional music. 

Charli Robertson

The Band

Daryle Singletary

Proud Dad - Dalton Robertson

Darrel Adkins

Blue Highway

Storied North Carolina band Blue Highway closed out Wednesday with a superb set. With Caleb Cox, whose regular gig is with Nothin' Fancy, standing in for the recovering Wayne Taylor on bass, and his friend Gaven Largent at Dobro, where he has almost seamlessly replaced Rob Ickes, the band was strong and energetic. A terrific closing band for opening night at the MACC. 


Perhaps readers will notice that the photos of Hammertowne contain shots from nighttime and the next morning. Darrel Adkins saw this fine, traditional band at Rudy Fest a couple of weeks ago, and asked them if they'd like to play at the MACC. He introduced them by having them play three songs before Blue Highway came out, and then added a set to Thursday morning. Hammertown is a hard-driving traditional bluegrass band from eastern Kentucky that has begun spreading its wings during the last year or so. David Carroll on rhythm guitar already has quite a reputation as a song writer. If your local promoter is looking for some new faces, Hammertowne would strengthen the middle of any lineup. Ask your local promoter to give them a listen. 

Dave Carroll

Chaston Carroll

Bryan Russell

Scott Tackett

Brent Pack

The Baker Family

The Baker Family is a Missouri-based family band which has gained a certain amount of attention in the past few years. Fourteen year old Carina is quite a singer and has a good chop on the mandolin. Her older brother, Trustin, is on the way to becoming a very solid fiddler. Younger brother Elijah, on the bass, has calmed down on his instrument, which he plays with enthusiasm. Mom, Carrie, overseas this solid band. 

Carrie Baker

Trustin Baker

Elijah Baker

Carina Baker

Charli & Dalton Robertson

Videogropher for the Jumbo-Tron

Kenny & Amanda Smith

Kenny and Amanda Smith continue to deliver strong melody, virtuoso guitar playing, and thoughtfully chosen songs. Who could ask for anything more?

Kenny Smith

Kyle Perkins

Jacob Burleson

Justin Jenkins

Irene at Work in Her Spare Time

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Mike Cleveland brings huge enthusiasm to great skill when he picks up a fiddle. He's won the IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year award a record ten times. However, two members of his band are often underestimated. Nathan Livers, on mandolin is fast, accurate, and dynamic. His duet with Mike on Jerusalem Ridge is a treasure. Joshua Richards, on lead vocals and guitar adds plenty to the mix. While this is, fittingly, a banjo-centric band, it's indeed a very good one, too. 

Michael Cleveland

Nathan Livers

Joshua Richards

Tyler Griffith

Cody Looper

Staying Cool

Steve Dilling & Sideline

Begun as just what it's name implies, Sideline has become a true phenomenon. The band, all of whose members live and work in North Carolina has built a grueling schedule of over 100 dates a year, popular because of their hard driving yet thoughtful choice of first and second generation covers. Brad Hudson has been added on Dobro, bringing more color and diversity to the band.  This is a band with energy and personality!

Steve Dillig

Brad Hudson

Skip Cherryholmes

Brian Aldridge

Nathan Aldridge

Jason Moore

Brad Hudson & Steve Dilling

Kathy & Terry Owens
Take a Brief Break from their Volunteer Chores

Spacious Shade Tent

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Nominated for IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year in 2016, Junior Sisk has the perfect voice for delivering his unique brand of traditional bluegrass. His reverence for Ralph Stanley and the neo-traditional Johnson Mountain Boys places his music within two realms of traditional music. His own writing, along with that of his father, and his cousin Tim Massey, and careful selection of songs contemporary, but old sounding songs works well. 

Junior Sisk

Kameron Keller

Jason Davis

Jonathan Dillon & Jamie Harper

Junior & Jason

Darrel Adkins
Taking a Moment to Relax

The Merrill-Lynch Hospitality Tent

Agent Andrea Roberts & Emcee Daniel Mullins

Tim O'Brien & Friends

Tim O'Brien has become an iconic, high impact performer in bluegrass, folk, country and Americana music in a career spanning over forty years. He's a multiple award winner (Grammy, IBMA, West Virginia Music Hall of Fame), his relaxed style, witty song writing, and warm personality take over any stage he appears on, whether as a solo or with a band. Finding him at a bluegrass festival is a rare treat. The "Friends" in this band constitute a dream team of musicians to support any performer. Steve Martin Prize winner Noam Pikelny, three time IBMA Guitarist of the Year David Grier, five time IBMA bass player of the year and go-to recording and on-call bass player Mike Bub, Shad Cobb on Fiddle and newcomer, singer Jan Fabricious combined to present a truly delightful set of, mostly, new music. 

Noam Pikelny

Mike Bub

David Grier

Shad Cobb

Jan Fabricious

Tim O'Brien & Noam Pikelny

The Artist's and Staff  Mess Tent 

 Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers

Hall of Famer Larry Sparks closed out Thursday night with a set full of his songs, which have become bluegrass standards over his more than fifty year career. Beginning with time spent with the Stanley Brothers, Sparks has established a record for fine singing and strong guitar playing in his own band. He can still bring it!

Daniel Patrick & Larry D. Sparks

Kyle Ramey

Jeff Clair

Larry Sparks

Come back for Friday and Saturday in a few days.