Thursday, September 21, 2017

Delaware Valley 2017 - Saturday

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.

Kids Academy Practice
Director Ira Gitlin & Instructor Wally Hughes

The Becky Buller Band

The Becky Buller fills the air with songs reflecting Buller's Minnesota background, her love of Appalachian life and culture, and her deep religious faith, all reflected in songs she has written through the years since her graduation from East Tennessee State University. Long a featured player with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, she has broadened her repertoire and become comfortable with her role as band leader. Effective on both guitar and fiddle, she has taken charge of her own band, where she's seems fully in charge of the proceedings. 

 Dan Boner & Ned Luberecki

 Dan Boner

Ned Luberecki - Keeping it All in Balance

Nate Lee

Dwayne Anderson

Triple Fiddles
Lee, Buller & guest TJ Lundy

 Magician Chris Capehart

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.

Charm City Junction

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.

Brad Kolodnor

 Sean McKominsky

Alex Laquement

Nate Grower

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 (, who lives in Houston. I went out to enjoy the rest of the day.....

The Grascals

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!

Kristin Scott Benson

Terry Smith

Terry Eldredge

John Bryan

Adam Haynes

Terry Smith & Terry Eldredge

Tuba Skinny

What are all those brass and woodwind instruments doing at a bluegrass festival? Tuba Skinny is a New Orleans traditional dixieland jazz band that has evolved from being a curbside jazz band to representing traditional dixieland jazz and developing a reputation for finding and playing many long-lost songs. At Delaware Valley they added another foundation stone to the old-time structure being built at this festival. They highlighted the fact forgotten by many bluegrass advocates that the genre is one of the most inclusive of all genres, bringing folk music, mountain music, blues, pop music from Tin Pan Alley days to today, and jazz into a form that many wish to define as exclusive and narrowly-based. People often forget that Arnold Schultz, the man who taught Bill Monroe to play guitar, was a black man with at least one foot in dixieland jazz. At Delaware Valley this band received a standing ovation from a cold, damp audience which cheered them with the enthusiasm they deserve. 

Todd Burdick

Greg Sherman

Craig Flory

Greg Sherman

Max Bien Kahn

Erika Lewis

Jason Lawrence

Barnabus Jones

Robin Rapuzzi

Stage Manager Howard Parker & Jason Hannon

Watching Del

The Del McCoury Band

The Del McCoury Band closed out Saturday with a single ninety minute set as has become their usual practice. Doing so allows a band to fashion a full performance showcasing the breadth of their music and presenting a fully realized show. While bluegrass audiences are accustomed to, and often seem to prefer, two forty-five or fifty minute sets during a day, bands tell me they prefer the ninety minute format. We've seen an increase, in recent years, in this practice, which works best for a closing act. Del McCoury, a member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and widely popular at Americana festivals where his band is often the only bluegrass band represented, continues at age seventy-eight to relish this exhausting format which allows him to get in a brief number of set songs before taking requests for crowd favorites for the rest of the evening. By skillfully using quite selective hearing, he manages to sing pretty much what he wants to present, in one of the most recognizable and famous voices in bluegrass music. Only one member of the band isn't a winner on his own of an IBMA award, and that's because he's relatively unobtrusive and way too overlooked for his value to the band. 

Del McCoury

Rob McCoury

Ron McCoury

Jason Carter

Alan Bartram

Jason Carter & Ron McCoury

The McCoury Family - Rob, Ron & Del

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