With the remains of Hurricane Harvey bearing down on us, Saturday dawned breezy and overcast, deteriorating from there. Fortunately, Salem County Fairgrounds provide plenty of covered seating while Southerd Sound projects its product far and clear enough to provide coverage without being too loud. Conditions would continue to degrade throughout the day, but the music lifted us up and plenty of people stayed to enjoy it.
Performing on the Children's Stage, which offers musical and variety entertainment for kids on Friday and Saturday afternoon, Chris Capehart is a wonderfully entertaining and skillful sleight of hand master. Adults come to chaperone their offspring and stay to wonder at and enjoy his performance.
Baltimore gained the moniker "charm city" in 1975 when the mayor brought several advertising executives together to find a nickname for a city that, in many ways, was less than charming. Now, along comes a bright and shining string band that truly is charming, and has taken the name and burnished it. Charm City Junction plays scintillating Irish music along with old-timey dance tunes and bluegrass derived songs. Featuring an unusual instrument, at least for bluegrass, Irish button accordion, lively fiddle and claw-hammer banjo, this Baltimore band delivers.
On Saturday afternoon, as the rain and wind increased, I found myself becoming cold, grouchy, and, yes, unpleasant, so I went back to our truck, turned on the heat and started to take nap. Then I got a healthy dose of perspective when I received a text from my good friend Sam Sattler (http://bluegrass2.blogspot.com/), who lives in Houston. I went out to enjoy the rest of the day.....
Only three of the original Grascals remain, but that makes all the difference, as this band keeps its energy high, its music lively, and new songs coming. Sadly, our friend Danny Roberts wasn't there due to the loss of his brother-in-law. John Bryant, who's been with the Grascals for about a year now, has truly taken charge of his role as both a singer and a strong guitar player. Adam Haynes fits perfectly on fiddle, and Kristin Scott Benson remains one of the best on the banjo. The two Terry's (Eldredge and Smith) are steady, strong, and carry the mantle of having been there from the beginning at the Station Inn. Always good fun!