Valerie Smith has hosted the Dare to Be Different showcase event as a benefit for the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Ownesboro, KY for several years in the Bell Buckle Banquet Hall. Bell Buckle is a delightful little village west of Murfreesboro, a nice place to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to bluegrass music from a pretty full range of bluegrass bands. A good turnout showed up as did the bands, and a good time was had. Highlights were Acoustic Blue and Louisa Branscomb's pickup country/Americana band. Cumberland River, having gained national attention for its backup work on FX TV's surprising hit program "Justified," kicked off the day with a set of their rough-edged, rock-tinged bluegrass. They'll bear watching as they perform at WOB starting today as well as new appearances on TV. Jerry Butler and the Blu-J's put in a strong evening set, and Valerie Smith closed with a strong set of many of her favorites as well as earning the only standing ovation of the day with her rendition of Jesse Colter's hear rending song "I'm Not Julie."
IBMA's World of Bluegrass annual confab in Nashville begins today. We'll be trying to provide as complete coverage as two people can manage and to post something here daily. You should be able to find plenty of photo highlights and very little commentary as our hours during this event are from mid-morning to way into the next morning. Remember, the letters IBMA are said to mean "I've Been Mostly Awake" during this week.
Rough, hard edged, loud mountain bluegrass from the hollers of the Kentucky mountains near Harlen. A band to watch.
The Rigney Family
Family band with kids who are good pickers.
Standout New England band looking to step up and deserving attention. Cory Zinc is a powerful baritone singer and the band offers strong original song writing and an excellent choice of covers. Look for this band in showcases at WOB as well as with their new CD "Timeless."
T. Shaun Batho
Singer/Songwriter/Picker Louisa Branscomb brought a pickup band along with her and sent out an excellent bluegrass-country set filled with good singing of excellent songs. Louisa's nominated work is multi-nominated for IBMA awards and she'll be much in evidence at various song writing events.
Tom Brantly & Missionary Ridge
The McReynolds Tradition
Mark Newton & Leah Needham
Jerry Butler & the Blu-J's
Jerry Butler's very good and under-recognized band continues to offer good value and entertainment.
Dennis Cash (sub)
Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike
Exhausted from the two day trip that took her from Bell Buckle to Buena Vista, VA to Illinoise and back to Bell Buckle, Val Smith still hosted the event and then came on stage at 8:00 PM and lit it up. Always a consumate entertainer, her work, playing off and with the superb Becky Buller and with a strong band in support provided a fine ending to a good day.
Val & Brian Bostic
Becky & Jon Weisberger
Stephen Mougin and son (?)
Val Smith & Bill Warren (wide awake)