Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival; June 27 - 30 - Preview

 Photo by Sherry Ravlin, Logo by Marla Singleton

The camping gates to the 13th Annual Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival open at The Tunbridge World's Fair Grounds in Tunbridge, VT on Wednesday, June 26 at 8:00 AM and the fun begins at 6:30 PM with the annual covered dish supper followed by a dance and show this year featuring the Clay Hawkins Revival Band, a classic country band featuring Julie Hogan, Tom Venne, Junior Barber with Eric Gibson on Electric Guitar. Jenny Brook has emerged as the premier summer bluegrass festival in New England, bringing a solid lineup of national and regional bands, a wide-ranging program of events and activities, and a family spirit that cannot be beaten to a wonderful site nestled into the very rural Green Mountains of Vermont while remaining easily accessible by Interstate Highways providing access from nearby New York and further away.  

This year's lineup features the first Jenny Brook Appearance and only New England appearances this summer of The Lonesome River Band and Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. These two highly regarded bands have won so many IBMA awards I can hardly count them. Russell Moore is the five time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year while IIIrd Tyme Out has won seven Vocal Group of the Year. Sammy Shelor has won IBMA's Banjo Player of the Year five times as well as the $50,000 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo. The James King Band will also be making it's debut at Jenny Brook this year. King, who has won numerous SPBGMA awards as Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year, has built perhaps the best band he's ever had and is back at the top of his game. Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, IBMA 2012 Emerging Artist of the Year, will also be making its first Jenny Brook appearance. The Ohio-based band brings tuneful, earnest Scruggs style banjo and traditional bluegrass to a festival well-know for its traditional roots.   The Gibson Brothers, 2012 IBMA Entertainers of the Year as well as Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year awards, return to headline Friday and Saturday night's performances.  They have appeared at all Jenny Brook festivals except the first one.

 Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
Russell Moore

Wayne Benson

Lonesome River Band
Sammy Shelor

Mike Hartgrove

 The James King Band
James King

  Barry Crabtree

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

 Evan McGregor

Returning Favorites
The Gibson Brothers
Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson & Mike Barber

Returning to Jenny Brook this year will be several national bands who have been favorites there for years. After more than forty years on tour, The Seldom Scene brings what once seen was a revolutionary addition of other genres to the bluegrass stage. Adding songs from the world of rock and folk music of the early 1970's expanded the bluegrass repertoire to permit new and more interesting music to enter in.  

Seldom Scene
Dudley Connell

Lou Reid

Nothin' Fancy
Mike Andes & Tony Shorter

Chris Sexton

Nothin' Fancy has rapidly become a fan favorite at Jenny Brook. Combing the singing and songwriting of Mike Andes with the virtuoso fiddle contributions of Chris Sexton, Nothin' Fancy mixes light hearted good humor with excellent versions of Country Gentleman favorites (much better, I think, than the currently touring tribute band ever manages). The band has a record of consistency in personnel and quality that rivals some of the best bands in the business.

Audie Blaylock & Redline
Audie Blaylock

Russ Carson

Audie Blaylock & Redline has emerged with a distinctive voice of its own as Audie Blaylock has established himself as leader of his own band. After stints with Jimmy Martin and Michael Cleveland and some subsequent struggles, Audie Blaylock's song selection and strong band represent traditional sounding bluegrass at its best. Enjoy this fine band with its young and excellent side men.

Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys
Tony Holt

Aubrey Holt

Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys are lineal descendants of the fabled Boys from Indiana. They sing covers of that band's best known work as well as excellent traditional work of their own.

Smokey Green & the Boys Reunion

Always a favorite among audiences in New York, New England, and Florida, Smokey Green returns to Jenny Brook, where he is well loved for his novelty songs and classic country covers. His reunion show should be a rare treat.

Choice Regional Bands
Hot Mustard

Hot Mustard, a double banjo quartet serving up mostly classic covers, made its debut performance at Jenny Brook three years ago and has since performed at many regional bluegrass events. 

Erica Brown & the Bluegrass Connection


Mason Zink Band

Seth Sawyer Band. 
Seth Sawyer

The Jenny Brook host band always assembles a solid group of local pickers to feature Seth Sawyer's song writing and singing along with regional stalwarts the Daves, Orlomoski and Shaw..

Other Attractions

Nestled in the gentle hills of the Green Mountain of Vermont in Tunbridge, the ambitiously named "World's Fair" grounds are a wonderful site to hold a bluegrass festival. They have a large number of water and electric sites as well as many hidden nooks and crannies for groups to form compounds or camp along a burbling, young branch of the White River. The festival has a justly deserved reputation as a jamming festival, represented by the presence of the Grass Seeds Stage where pickup bands as well as established ones come to vie for a place on Sunday's lineup as well as a possible booking for the following year. The Grass Seeds Stage is hosted again this year by regional banjo player Michelle Canning, now majoring in Traditional Music at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Michelle Canning

The Grass Seeds Stage at the Gazebp

Kids Academy
Aaron Foster

Under the direction of Aaron Foster,a graduate of the Academy and now an advanced student in the bluegrass program of East Tennessee State University, and professional music teacher Mike Turk,  the Jenny Brook Kids Academy has been resurrecting itself. Not limited to very young pickers, the Academy meets three times for long enough to provide help and develop a performance, but not too long to make it a burden. Details can be found here.

The Jenny Brook Bluegrass University will once again hold classes and provide lessons for bluegrass beginning pickers. The staff are all well-known New England teaching professionals, and the charges are more than reasonable.The Jenny Brook Theater will present PG or G rated films for young people in the evenings.

Mike & Mary Robinson's Bluegrass Gospel Jam and Sing

Workshops and Sugar Shack Jam

Each evening a structured slow-jam is featured after closing outside the sugar shack under cover. This year three bands will lead the evening jams:
Thursday - Hot Mustard
Friday - James King
Saturday - Nothin' Fancy

Provides a great opportunity to jam with the artists.

The Details


 A good variety of food, craft, and instrument vendors are always available at Jenny Brook. There's a shortage of local establishments available for shopping, although there's a local convenience grocery in Tunbridge, as well as a food store and a hardware store in nearby Royalton. Don't miss breakfast at the Sugar Shack or maple flavored soft ice cream and other snacks.


A variety of ticket plans for multi-day or day attendance are available for those attending Jenny Brook. It's now past the early bird period, but you can purchase tickets and get further ticket information HERE.

Swimming in the River

Emcee - Evan Carl


 Candi Sawyer - Promoter

The Jenny Brook Stage

Plenty of Shade

How to Get to Jenny Brook
Click on the link at the bottom of the map and then input your address in A

If you require more than a twelve foot clearance, follow these alternative directions: If you are coming by car, or have a low profile camper such as a popup, you can take the shorter route of Vermont Route 14 south to Route 110 north instead of I-89. THERE IS A LOW UNDERPASS OF ONLY 12 FEET ON ROUTE 14!

The late Lonnie Mathews and Candi Mathews Sawyer

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ted, You outdid yourself, what a great article!! Thank You for including the picture of Lonnie & Candi. The festival won't be the same without him this year.