Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coot Williams Road Bluegrass Festival - Cherryville, NC

The Fourth Annual Coot Williams Road Bluegrass Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 - 10 outside Cherryville, NC.  Promoted by John and Linda Hunsacker on a delightful bowl-shaped family facility, the Coot Williams Road festival functions as the major fund raiser for their outreach effort to encourage and develop acoustic bluegrass music in the surrounding counties through their 501 (c)(3) not-profit organization The Catawba Valley Music Revival.  The lineup, featuring national and local bluegrass bands, is structured to offer top notch entertainment while introducing attendees to emerging local bands and well-known national groups.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Friday's headliner band will be 2011 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year nominees Darin & Brooke Aldridge. Darin, who grew up in Cherryville, has long been known for his work with Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen, The Circuit Riders, and other bands.  Together with his wife Brooke and a very accomplished band, they have risen to national prominence in two short years.  With a third CD just released to wide acclaim, this band combines bluegrass, country, and gospel music into a delightful show that entertains and uplifts.

Dwayne Anderson
Chris Bryant

Rachel Renee Johson

Darin, Rachel, & Brooke

Tickets: Tickets to The Coot Williams Bluegrass Festival are available by mail from Catawba Valley Music Revival, Inc., PO Box 1404, Newton, NC 28658.  They cost $20/day or $35 for the two days in advance or $25.00 per day at the gate.  For further information, call (704) 447-5090.  Tickets are also available through several local outlets. You can find them on the flier, which is available here

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa

Wayne Taylor, formerly of the U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band Country Current, has been touring with his own band since his retirement three years ago.  Wayne not only has one of the finest voices in bluegrass music, he's a excellent song writer, too.  With mando wizard Emory Lester in very strong support, Mark Delaney on banjo, and Kene Hyatt on bass, the band is tuneful and lively. If you haven't heard them before, they're enough reason alone to attend on Saturday.

Emory Lester

 Wayne Taylor

Sweet Potato Pie

We first heard Sweet Potato Pie at a small festival in eastern North Carolina when they were a new, and largely untested girl band.  The picture above, taken during their after hours showcase at IBMA last year suggests how far they've come. This is a bluegrass band worthy of attention as they continue to grow and develop. I'm looking forward to seeing to full sets of their current work.

Sonya Stead
Crystal Richardson

One of the projects of the Catawba Valley Music Revival is to provide support and instruction for children wishing to learn to play bluegrass music.  This summer they held the first bluegrass day camps, which I'm told, was quite successful. Your support of the Coot Williams Bluegrass Festival helps support the camps and other efforts to encourage young people to play acoustic instruments. You can get more information about the goals and program of the Catawba Valley Music Revival by reading the material here.

Kevin Richardson & Cuttin' Edge

 Kevin Richardson is well known as one of the hot young flat-pickers in bluegrass. His regular gig is as guitarist and singer with Larry Stephenson's very fine national band, which has just signed a recording contract with Compass Records.  Cuttin' Edge won last year's battle of the bands the week before Coot Williams and performs again this year.  The band is strong; worth listening to. By the way, Kevin is also married to Crystal Richardson, banjo player for Sweet Potato Pie. 

Kevin Richardson
The Cockman Family

The Cookman Family, a gospel band from North Carolina, were an official showcase band at the IBMA World of Bluegrass last year.  That's pretty high cotton.  

John Cockman, Sr.

The Harris Brothers

This duo sings and plays a full range of music from country to reggae to bluegrass to funk and everything in between.  Their exciting stylings of musicians like Django Reinhardt are without peer.  Don't let the fact there's only two of them surprise or confuse you. These two guys are worth hearing and always enjoyable.

Ryan Harris
Also appearing will be Carolina Foxfire, an outgrowth of the Catawba Valley program as well as the Catawba Valley Youth Band.  The Coot Williams Road Bluegrass Festival is a small, informal event that seeks to entertain and provide an enjoyable couple of days.  The vendors, both food and craft, have much to offer with special kudos going to Harold Bess's home made ice-cream and the varied and tasty offerings at the food tent, brought to you at reasonable prices by local church and civic organizations.  This is an unpretentious festival  you'll enjoy with musicians you can treasure.



How To Get To Coot Williams Road

Promoters John and Linda Hunsacker

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gibson Brothers at Salem Valley Barn

If they were going to give an IBMA award to "Most Delightful Small Performance Venue" it most surely would go The Salem Barn in Salem, CT.  On Friday evening, we drove down to see the Gibson Brothers perform there before a sellout crowd of about seventy people. The warmth and enthusiasm of the audience combined with the lovely sound created by the wood building and the mixing skills of John Urbanek drew one of the finest performances we've ever seen by The Gibson Brothers, who have been nominated for seven IBMA awards this year in six different categories.

Inside the Barn

Promoter - Kim Cyr

Shari Daignault-Colvin, Eric Gibson, Shari's Mom Betty
Fifteen Gibson Brothers Shows this Year
The Salem Valley Barn is owned by a family named Bingham, who generously open the barn, the grounds, and their home to people attending the occasional concerts held there.  All the receipts, suggested at $20.00 per person go to the musicians. Snack and drinks are provided, and people arrive early to stroll the grounds, visiting with friends.  While we live a pretty long distance from Salem, we knew we'd run into lots of our bluegrass friends there.  The entire experience there provided one of the most welcoming experiences we've had.

The Grounds

Jesse Brock - Subbing for Joe Walsh on Mandolin

 Mike Barber - the Third Gibson Brother
Leigh Gibson

Roger Moss - Promoter - Podunk

The Crowd Assembles

Kim Makes the Introductions

The Gibson Brothers
Eric Gibson

 Leigh Gibson & Jesse Brock

The Gibson Brothers

Mike Barber

 Clayton Campbell

Jesse Brock

Perhaps it was the venue, maybe the audience, the band, the wood...who knows. Irene, selling merch, and I sat outside the door with Roger Moss listening to the music resonate out the door as if the band were playing inside a fine old Martin guitar.  The evening was warm, the crickets sang along with the band, as we sat and soaked up the atmosphere with Hurricane Irene looming a day or two south, but the air still.  At the break, the audience came out to have coffee and cookies, buy CD's, and visit with the band, before heading back inside for more of The Gibson Brothers superb singing of Gibson Brothers' songs. Nominated this year for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year (Leigh), twice for Song of the Year, and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at this year's IBMA Awards ceremony, The Gibson Brothers have had a sensational instant success after twenty years of hard touring, thoughtful song writing, and dedicated work.  This year has been a great one for them. They deserve all they acclaim they're receiving.

George Lynch

James Ward - Bluegrass DJ and Super Fan

 The Merch Table

Irene - Not the Hurricane

The House Band