Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer 2014 - Saturday: Review

The MACC Children's Band

Saturday morning at the MACC arrived overcast and a little drizzly, continuing the weather pattern that emerged on Friday evening, spitting a little bit, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm for music. As the day continued, the skies cleared, and, following the pattern of good festival design, grew to a rousing climax through the day. The revived MACC Children's band opened the morning, re-establishing a tradition of older, more accomplished young musicians taking leadership in working with very young, inexperienced ones. I especially want to send a kudo to Kyle Ramey, still only twelve years old, but an experienced musician who has been performing with professional bands for years. We most recently saw him as a member of Melvin Goins' band at Willow Oak. At the MACC he was both a serious assistant working with kids, but a kid himself, seen playing on the basketball court, and just plain having a good time.

Kyle Ramey

Parents, Grandparents, and Interested Fans

Breaking Grass

Breaking Grass, a Mississippi-based bluegrass band made its debut at The MACC this year, but hopefully will be there for years into the future. This young, vibrant band plays third generation bluegrass covers, adaptations of country music to bluegrass, and singer/songwriter Cody Farrar's very good original material with both enthusiasm and skill. They provided a rousing opening for Saturday.

Cody Farrar

Brit Sheffield

Tyler White

Zach Wooten

Felton Vanderford

Cody Farrar

Breaking Grass

Mitzi Soward - A Surprise Birthday Cake

Feller & Hill

Feller & Hill were, essentially, born at The MACC, and we've watched them grow into a substantial band here. Tommy Feller runa sound while Chris Hill served as a very capabl emcee here for years. Along the line they felt ready to become the principals in a band which would have a distinctive mid-western sound combining Appalachian ancient tones with elements of swing and country music. After a couple of years of development and hard touring, they have found a groove they feel comfortable with and continue to build and improve their product. Their second CD has been released and they have just returned from a successful trip to Norway, where they played to sell-out audiences. Feller & Hill is on the way. You check them out....

Tom Feller

Christopher Hill

Mark Poe

Mike Cleveland

Glen Gibson

Brent Burke, Tensel Vincent Burke & W.a. Pate

Don Rigsby & Midnight Call

Don Rigsby was all over The MACC this weekend, playing with various combinations and bands as both a member (The Ramblin Rooks) and a guest artist. In every case, he adds his distinctive high tenor and great love for traditional bluegrass (especially Monroe and the Stanley Brothers) as well as his versatility, seen in his early membership in the Lonesome River Band. His version of the Kentucky Waltz has become a bluegrass standard. With his own band, Midnight Call, he concentrates on the traditional, bringing fresh interpretations and huge enthusiasm to the enterprise. The band itself shows strengthened personnel both in members' own highlight performances and in providing strong support for their leader.

Don Rigsby

Matt Hooper

Shayne Bartley

Bobby Davis

Ray Craft

Don Rigsby

Susan & Larry Owens - Key Adkins Aides

Chris Hill

Lost & Found

Founded in 1973 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Allen Mills, from the bluegrass rich part of south-west Virginia which has become known as the Crooked Road, Lost & Found continues to play and sing a mellow, traditional sounding bluegrass emphasizing melody and quality. When Mandy Adkins became ill, Mills was there with his bus to provide the Adkins family with transportation to Memphis to go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He's a regular feature at The MACC.

Allen Mills

Ronald Smith

Dan Wells

Scott Napier

Lost & Found with Hironobu Oda

Japanese surgeon and mandolin player Hironobu Oda journeyed to The MACC this year. He has been a frequent host to bluegrass bands traveling to Japan, arranging tours for them. He sat in with Lost & Found on Saturday,

Hironobu Oda

Scott Napier & Hiro

Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Larry Cordle writes like a serious poet while performing with a zest shown by few such deeply experienced and widely varied artists. His story songs present a piece of America rapidly disappearing from our once rural world in a way that grabs the heartstrings, evokes a chuckle, and challenges the intellect. He longs for a world that no longer exists, while creating a new musical world in which country music and bluegrass can live side by side. His singer/songwriter tour with Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley is well received wherever it appears and a classic country band New Monday featuring Jackson and Val Storey (covered in the MACC Opry later in this post) is a Monday night hit at the Station Inn in Nashville. How long can New Monday resist touring in this day when live music is the key to musical success, even for veteran Nashville side musicians? Cord (as he is known) is truly a powerhouse.

Jody King

David Harvey

Mike Anglin

Kim Gardner

David Harvey & Jody King

Larry Cordle

Weary Vendor

Bradley Walker & Friends

The fact that Bradley Walker lives in a wheel chair, placed there by muscular dystrophy, soon fades to insignificance as his voice, his enthusiasm, and his personal warmth dominate his relationship with his audience and those who are lucky enough to know him. Winner of the 2007 IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, his performances have only garnered a wider audience since then as "classic country" music has been welcomed into the fold by bluegrass audiences. Most of the rest of the evening at MACC was a clear demonstration of that phenomenon.

Bradley Walker

Don Rigsby

Aubrey Haynie

Clay Hess

David Babb

Jody King

Brent Burke

Bradley Walker

JaeLee Roberts

Carl Jackson & Robin Arnold

MACC Opry - "Classic Country"
Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley & Carl Jackson

Classic Country is best described by saying what it is not, i.e. contemporary country pop/rock. The term was primarily coined by country radio stations seeking an audience that doesn't respond to New Country, the trucks, beer, and broads rock country that draws huge, young audiences to arenas and stadiums. That said, this particular band was composed of that movable feast of Nashville side musicians who are always in demand at recording sessions, but who love to perform in more traditional forms. With the current changes in the recording industry, how long can it be before this band begins to tour?

Carl Jackson

Chris Walters

Robbie Turner

Aubrey Haynie

Larry Cordle & Jerry Salley

Brad Albin

Chris Walters & Robbie Turner

Jerry Salley

Robbie Turner

Brad Albin & Chris Walters

Val Storey & Carl Jackson

Larry Cordle

Larry Attaminuik

Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Larry Cordle

Josh Williams

In a set that was designed to showcase the historic contributions of J.D. Crowe, with particular reference to their ground breaking work before Rounder 0044 redefined bluegrass and the Bluegass Album Band re-purified it, J.D.'s absence due to illness was deeply felt. He was on stage in spirit, however, and made a brief phoned in appearance to receive the greetings of the band and the crowd. It's often forgotten that in its earliest days, J.D. Crowe, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, and others appeared regularly at a bar in Louisville experimenting with using drums and pedal steel as part of the bluegrass mix. By including Robbie Turner on pedal and Larry Attaminuik on drums, this set did something to recreate those emerging days.

Josh Williams

Audbrey Haynie

Aaron McDaris

Don Rigsby

Danny Roberts

David Babb

Bradley Walker

Robbie Turner

Larry Attamanuik

Winner of the Todd Sams Raffle Guitar

Winner of the Jim Reed Memorial Mandolin
w/Jim Reed's Family

The SteelDrivers

For the past several years, almost since their inception, the SteelDrivers have closed The MACC on Saturday night. They're an ideal closing band with their blues and rock inflected bluegrass songs saturated, as the song title says with Guitars, Whisky, Guns and Knives. They sing of loss and danger, accept a beer handed up from the audience, and do it all with style and discipline. Their party image is given the lie by their tight quality. The SteelDrivers always drive it home with a joyous exclamation mark!

Tammy Rogers

Richard Bailey

Mike Fleming

Brent Truitt

Gary Nichols

 The SteelDrivers

And so Musicians Against Childhood Cancer winds down after another successful year. We find the week well worth the time and effort it takes, not to mention the week of recuperation afterwards. We treasure the friends we've made there, and the general sense of family reunion surrounding the entire event. Nowhere else do we get as good an opportunity to enjoy ourselves fully while knowing we're involved in contributing to a great cause.