Monday, September 24, 2012

Dare to be Different 2012

Bell Buckle Cafe

Ever since IBMA's World of Bluegrass moved to Nashville, Val Smith has been hosting the "Dare to Be Different" showcase event at the comfortable and pleasant Bell Buckle Cafe in Bell Buckle, TN near Murfreesboro on the Sunday before W of B begins. It's a delightful way for IBMA'ers arriving in Nashville early and local people from the Bell Buckle area.  We drove south to Bell Buckle, getting off the Interstate and driving through pretty country, down Liberty Pike to the rural village of Bell Buckle. The town has several shops and a couple of cozy restaurants, making it a worthwhile visit whether there's bluegrass scheduled their or not. We has the pleasure of spending some good time with Val and her husband Craig and seeing a very much improved Rigney']s band and "Covered Grass," a very fine band from Germany which will be having an official showcase at World of Bluegrass today.

The Rigneys

During the past year, since we saw them at Bell Buckle last, The Rigneys have shown remarkable improvement as a band. Sons Grant (15) and Andrew (18) have become solid singers and spent many hours in the woodshed working on their instruments. Each has won contests in the last year. The band has performed alot, both at festivals and church events, and the hard work shows. The band will be showcasing this week at IBMA and appearing in Norris at the Appalachian Fall Homecoming in a couple of weeks.  
Mark Rigney

 Melissa Rigney

Andrew Rigney

Grant Rigney

Craig Smith & Josie

Cane Ridge

Tim George

Dennis Flatt

Steve Hall

David White

Dennis Carrol

Desi & Josie

Covered Grass

Covered Grass is a contemporary German bluegrass band rooted in jazz, pop, and rock while maintaining a traditional bluegrass look and feel. Their original songs are catchy, and "Goodnight John Boy," dedicated to the childhood memory of The Waltons, is a masterpiece. All the members but one are making their first visit the the U.S., staking a year's income from performance on this trip. They have been invited to Los Angeles to perform at the fortieth anniversary Waltons celebration at the end of the week. Their singing from Corina Aurin and their instrumental work is first rate. American promoters should give this band a careful look. They will an international flavor as well as a delightful presence to any bluegrass event.

Corina Aurin

Volker Fisher

Joon Laukamp

Carten Manz

Ralph Bonfanti

Covered Grass - Good Night John Boy - Video

German Visitors with Covered Grass

Rainer Zellner - Promoter

 Dennis Cash

Dennis Cash, formerly (and perhaps in the future) of Carolina Sonshine has produced a new CD of Carter Family songs and recruited two descendents of the original family to sing the families songs with him. The songs are in the simple Carter family style with a good taste of family authenticity combined with Dennis' energy and enthusiasm.

Lorrie Carter Burnett

 Ann Buckle

Steve Black

Scott Dozier

 The Quartet

Dennis Cash

IBMM Director Gabrielle Gray with Val Smith

Johnny & Jeanette Williams

Jeanette Williams has one of the most powerful and precise voices in bluegrass, while Johnny has a classic bluegrass sound and is a fine rhythm guitar player. Their song selection, a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass leavened with some excellent pop choices makes their performance interesting and varied. When award winning Louisa Branscomb joins them with her songs, musicianship, and personallity, sparks fly. Joe Zauner, on banjo is creative with his combination of Scruggs and melodic styles. Strong performance from a strong group.

 Johnny Williams

Jeanette Williams

Louisa Branscomb

 Joe Zauner

Val Smith, Gabrielle Gray, German Friend

Sweet Fancy Moses

A local trio presenting old-time music with lovely, close harmonies, this band provided a change of pace. Good choice.

Stephen Gallagher

Kelsey Walls

Tara Syester

 Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike
Val Smith

Val Smith & Liberty Pike works well with an (almost) all-girl band. Val has always brought new sounds from a range of genres to her bluegrass performances, and she continues to do so. She's a high energy whirligig, even when she's not feeling well. She's taking a temporary break from the road while she regroups, but look for her to be out trooping soon.

Laura Ray

Vickie Vaugh

Corrne Logsten

Richard Ciforskey

 Val Smith

Once again, the Dare to Be Different Showcase did itself proud. IBMA's World of Bluegrass starts today. It's difficult to be both a participant and an observer, and we'll both be busy all week. Nevertheless, I hope to post something each day, and then take a longer and more comprehensive view of the event after it's all over. We are also planning a preview trip to Raleigh within a few weeks.

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