Hot, muggy...cheerful crowd...slightly overcast keeping the heat a little under control...heavy afternoon thunderstorm...clearing....pleasant evening....late July in South Central Ohio....just enough trials and tribulations to remind us we're still in this world.
The James King Band
Personnel changes represent a way of life with the James King Band. James showed up at MACC with a couple of new members who helped lift the quality of his performance to the strongest level we've seen in a couple of years. The addition of Sweden's Jimmy Sonnengard from G2 on bass, and maybe fiddle sometimes, was a particularly wise choice. Knowing he had strong support, James sang better and the band rose to the challenge he gave them. He even gave the audience some of the raw emotion which has often characterized his best work when he spoke with deep feeling about the importance of supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through the MACC in its efforts to try to defeat children's cancer. James provided a fine start for a day that set a high standard for the rest of the festival.
Don Rigsby & Midnight Call
Don Rigsby came in with his left hand swollen from a nasty wasp sting, which didn't appear to affect his picking and sure didn't hurt his voice in any way. Despite the heat and humidity, Don hit the stage with energy and commitment, laying down a terrific set while really earning his encore.
Dale Ann Bradley
Three time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley could sing into a barrel with a band of kazoos and sound like an angel, but when she appears with as strong a band as came to MACC, most of whom will be on her current tour, there's no question about the kind of joy she spreads. Steve Gulley's harmonies and solo work complemented his old friend perfectly. Add to that the very able Barry Crabtree, Ron Shuffler, and Adam Haynes to create a recipe for excellence. Dale Ann has a new CD coming from Compass Records called "Somewhere South of Crazy" to be released soon. Look for it.
The Larry Stephenson Band
The always excellent Larry Stephenson drove in from Derrington, Washington (that's the west coast, not the District of Columbia) with Larry's tenor voice supported by Kenny Ingram's incomparable Scruggs style banjo, Kevin Richardson, who gains strength with each performance on guitar and vocals, and newcomer Danny Stewart, Jr. It's amazing how much sound tight and well-schooled four piece band can generate.
The Gibson Brothers
The Gibson Brothers continue to win converts wherever they appear; an instant success after nearly twenty years on the road and, now, seven straight number one CD's. Their combination of close brother harmonies, excellent musicianship at every position, and from-the-heart song writing can't be imitated. Their success is both well-earned and well-deserved.
Bill Yates and the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band
Bill Yates played with the Country Gentlemen for twenty years. On Charley Waller's death, he determined to try to keep the legacy alive. Mike Phipps, whose voice eerily mimics Waller's helps create the sound while the band continues to use Waller's original arrangements and sing some of the Gentlemen's most popular standards. They have a significant following wherever they appear.
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
IIIrd Tyme Out continues to be one of the most recognized and sought after bands in bluegrass. This evening's show was highlighted by Steve Dilling's nineteenth anniversary with the band and Russell Moore's singing "Her Little Footprints in the Snow" playing....but more about that a little later. The band is both musically excellent and highly entertaining, an unbeatable combination.
In 1940 Bill Monroe recorded two songs using a 1936 D28 Herringbone guitar owned by Clyde Moody, one of the original Bluegrass Boys. As far as can be remembered, these are the only recordings on which Big Mon played the guitar. In the early 1950's, the instrument needed some repairs which Moody couldn't afford to pay for once the work was done. The guitar became the possession of the shop's owner in Reidsville, NC. After that, this historic instrument spent about fifty years in the music store owner's closet before it was sold, discovered, and later purchased by Fred Ricart, a Columbus auto dealer, sponsor of the MACC, and collector of fine instruments. It was this instrument that Russell Moore played last night.
Russell Moore Playing the Moody Martin Guitar
Darrel Adkins & Fred Ricart
Shawn Camp is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter whose work is highly regarded in a range of genres and and venues. Camp's songs have been hits for a number of luminaries in country and bluegrass music. His powerful voice and picking combine to make him a great interpreter of his own music. Put his power, conviction, and humor together with as strong a backup band as one could ask for, and there's no beating his work. I sat next to Eric Gibson during this set. He could only exclaim in wonder about the power and sincerity of Shawn Camp's work.
As so often happens at the MACC, there were surprises and pleasures for everyone. More to come for the next three days. Meanwhile, I'm going to go try to find a breeze somewhere.
Thanks for the Day #1 recap, Ted. One of these years, maybe I'll get out there, but for now, reading your posts & seeing your pics is the best possible substitute. Have fun--and try to stay somewhat cool...ReplyDelete
So good to see you and Irene this year. We missed you last winter down at the Florida festivals. In the meantime we will cope with the heat and support this fine cause while enjoying the efforts of this all star lineup.