Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jenny Brook Festival - Friday

On Friday the rain and the festivities continued.  People's spirits remained high and enthusiasm for the music was strong. As evening came, the rain let up, allowing a very good crowd to assemble.  Workshops, held under cover were well attended, and the Gazebo Stage had a lively set of bands performing.  The busiest person on the grounds was Adam Steffey, playing in three bands over five sets. 

New Found Grass

New Found Grass is a bluegrassy fusion band whose members come from a variety of musical backgrounds reflected in their sound and musical choices.  Hailing mostly from Maine and New Hampshire, the band is pleasant to listen to and varied in their musical choices.

Keith Hilliard
Steve Abdu
Craig Engel

Scott Vickery

Dan Burke

 Ellen Carlson

David Davis & The Warrior River Boys
David Davis and his band represent one of the finest Monroe style major bands playing the bluegrass circuit today.  They are unapologetic in their loyalty to the father of bluegrass music, playing Monroe's work as well as new songs written very much in the Monroe tradition.  Jim Beaver has said that Davis has "channeled Bill Monroe perhaps better than anyone else."  The band is strong, tuneful, and very enjoyable.  

 David Davis

Robert Montgomery
Owen Saunders
Marty Hayes

Brad Folk

Ernie Sykes - Well Known Yankee Fan
Hiding in Vermont

Bluegrass University Instructor Band

This year, under the leadership of Tony Watt, Jenny Brook has initiated a teaching strand for beginner and accomplished musicians. Regional musicians whose portfolios include extensive instructional as well as performance experience were recruited to offer small class instruction on Thursday and Friday at an additional fee.  This idea generated few responders in its first year, but with more prep time and better publicity in the future it represents a fine time for aspiring and improving musicians to sharpen their skills under expert directions.  Meanwhile, the set from the instructor band was lively, varied, and enjoyable enough for me to suggest these people re-constitute as a band and go for it.

Chris Brashear

Mary Maguire

Dan Burke
Rich Stillman
Tony Watt
Steve Roy

Laura Orshaw

Tony Watt & Adam Steffey - Backstage

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band
Leroy Troy

There isn't enough humor in bluegrass music.  The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band provides an excellent antidote for this too often missing ingredient with their musical hijinks combining with strong singing and playing as well as adherence to old time and early bluegrass history.  A favorite at at Jenny Brook, where they have appeared for the past four years, making multiple day performances, the Jug Band uses routines and songs looking back towards Uncle Dave Macon, an early Grand Old Opry star.  Leroy Troy is a clown and humorist who stays in character nearly all the time. He's surrounded himself with a first rate crew who support and contribute to the humor.  Many people may be familiar with their work through RFD-TV, but live they're even more fun.

Lester Armistead

Dick Bowden

Minerva Lee & Ernie Sykes

Shad Cobb
Mike Armistead

Dick Bowden

Ernie Sykes and Friend

Shad Cobb & Pete

The Seth Sawyer Band

Festival promoters Candi & Seth Sawyer also have a band, which, from time to time they augment with players performing at their festival.  This year they took a strong band and made it stronger with Adam Steffey and Ron Stewart joining them.  They sang several of Seth's songs as well as a good supply of standards.  Good stuff.....

Seth Sawyer

Candi Sawyer
Ron Stewart

Joe Singleton
Adam Steffey

 Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

We had last seen Mike Cleveland at Gettysburg where the band seemed pretty much a pick-up affair.  His new band is beginning to jell, although the whole band has not yet come together.  Charlie Lawson has joined him singing lead and playing guitar along with Blake Bowen playing bass  and singing harmony.  They both show real promise of fitting in well with what Michael seems to want in a band.  Charlie Cushman was not there, and Chris Hill filled in better than admirably.  Adam Steffey guested on mandolin, and his "Jerusalem Ridge" with Michael was a classic. Ashby Frank will join the band on July second.  It should be interesting to watch as this band develops around its new personnel.  

Charlie Lawson
Chris Hill
Adam Steffey

More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Ted, Great pictures of the festival. Your blog and pictures said it all and said it well. Thanks for a great job!