Thursday, September 15, 2016

Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival - Sunday - Review

Unlike many festivals holding a program on Sunday, Delaware Valley offers a full six band schedule in addition to its Kids Academy and a performance by the students of the Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, DE known as CabGrass. They are able to do this, because the festival is held over Labor Day weekend, leaving a Monday holiday for homegoing. This year's Sunday lineup contained all a music fan looking for old time and bluegrass could ask for.

Delaware Valley Kids Academy

Kids Academy Pics for Download

Under the direction of Ira Gitlin with the able help of an experienced staff, some twenty kids. Here are a few sample pics, and more can be downloaded from the link above. This promising group of young pickers show real promise. Many will be back for several years and grow to love pickin' and grinin' even more.

Chris Henry & Hard Core Grass

Chris Henry & Hard Core Grass was impressive in their official showcase at IBMA last year. He brings high energy as well as varied experiences and interests to his show. His band included the deep experience of Marshall Wilborn on bass and the youthful wizardry of Cory Walker, a rising star in his own right. In a sense, this combination suggested the range of instinct and interests in the music Henry chose to present. This fresh, young band will be around for a while, although I don't think the personnel is set yet. Henry's instrumental work was blazing fast and his singing pleasant. 

Chris Henry

Cory Walker

Cody Bauer

Marshall Wilborn

Another Hot, Sunny Day
Where Did Hermine Go?

Charm City Junction 

Charm City Junction is a Baltimore-based old-time, Celtic band composed of four energetic young men who exude the name they've chosen. Their song selection ranged from Irish Reels to hamboning and blues. Patrick McAvinue is familiar to bluegrass fans through his career with Audie Blaylock and Redline as a fiddler and harmony singer. His great range on the fiddle, from jazz to bluegrass to Celtic fiddling is well-known. The band showcased last year at IBMA. The band is young, creative, innovative, and risk taking, finding new routes to roots music through the melange of backgrounds of styles coming together in their performances.  

Brad Kolodner

Sean McComiskey

Patrick McAvinue

Alex Lacquemente

Charm City Junction - I've Got a Woman

Stage Manager Howard Parker & Emcee Katy Daley

The T-Shirt Concession

Mike Compton & Joe Newberry

Mike Compton is internationally known as the foremost practitioner and teacher of Monroe style mandolin and a fierce advocate of traditional bluegrass. Joe Newberry is best known as a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion where he often played and sang traditional and old time songs. He, too, is a noted workshop and music camp teacher of song writing and traditional music. He wrote or collaborated on three songs recorded by the Gibson Brothers, two of which were award winners. Together, working as a duo, they traded songs and stories of the early days of bluegrass and some of its preceding styles. They provided an enjoyable and, sometimes, humorous hour.

Joe Newberry

Mike Compton

The Vendor Barn

Judy Hough Goldstein and Festival Director Carl Goldstein
with Chantal Bastiat (Vendor Coordination)

The Kathy Kallick Band

I've long admired the Kathy Kallick Band, mostly from a distance, as they're based in San Francisco, where she's been a mainstay of the West Coast bluegrass scene for more than a generation, often collaborating with Laurie Lewis. She discovered bluegrass at the San Francisco Art Institute. During her career she has won a Grammy and two IBMA awards. She's a noted teacher, workshopper, and and song writer. 

Kathy Kallick

Tom Bekany

Greg Booth 

Kerry Black

Mary Simkin-Maass

The Kathy Kallick Band - My House

Sunday Afternoon at the Bluegrass Festival

The Seldom Scene

There's not much new to be said about The Seldom Scene. For over forty-five years they've brought music to a willing, eager audience that takes the bluegrass format and adds folk music, folk/rock, and grassed rock, as well as music from the Monroe and Stanley, back to the beginnings. Launched as an almost furtive effort by a bunch of jamming buddies in 1971, no member of the original scene remains, but the sound is as clean, seemingly effortless, and hugely musical as ever. This is one of the most important bands in the history of bluegrass, and they keep on chugging along. They can hold a crowd to the end on Sunday afternoon better than any other band playing today.

Dudley Connell

Lou Reid

Ronnie Simpkins

Fred Travers

Rickie Simpkins

Irene and I can't decide if Delaware Valley, always held on Labor Day weekend, is the last summer festival for us, or the first fall one. For years we resisted coming to it, preferring to stay off the roads on Labor Day. We regret the years we missed. This remains one of the most well-designed, thoughtfully programmed events we attend, highlighted by great bands, wall-to-wall jamming, and a welcoming environment. Why don't you put it on your bucket list? We'll keep filling our bucket here.