Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (The MACC) 2014 - Wednesday: Review

Each year we return to The MACC (Musicians Against Childhood Cancer) with a sense of coming home to friends we look forward to seeing through much of the year. Even though we've only attended seven MACCs as volunteers, we feel a part of an extended family extending back to the many years when Darrell Adkins promoted bluegrass and country events at Frontier Ranch and who lived through the traumatic death of Mandy Adkins from a brain stem cancer. Mandy's loss prompted a change in Darrell and Phyllis Adkins life which has led to this remarkable festival. Each year musicians donate their talents, volunteers their skills, and fans their attention and money to this extravaganza of more top bands than are usually gathered together in one place coupled with a creative way to bring together musicians who don't usually perform together for the sake of the cause. This year's t-shirt logo (above) captures the spirit of the MACC and the central position St. Jude Children's Research Hospital plays in its progress.

Sorting and Folding T-Shirts

Donating a Quilt for Auction to Raise Funds

How Many Volunteers Does It Take To Hang a Sign
Sparky, Stan, Lynn

The earliest volunteers arrived a week before the MACC began to line the camping areas, hang signs, set up tents, prepare the stage, and generally get ready for campers to begin arriving on Sunday. Over forty men and women give their time and skills to assure that the festival runs smoothly. They're old friends who work smoothly together under Darrell and Phyllis's direction. Campers spread themselves across four different camping areas. It's a big job requiring cooperation and hard work. This year has a sense of sadness hanging over it as Jim Reed, long-time friend, wrangler of the mess tent, and talented musician died during the winter as did Jack Cassidy. 

Jim & Lisa Reed

The Campground Fills with Interesting Set-ups

Rarely Herd

The Rarely Herd, whose name echoes and pays respect to the iconic Seldom Scene, is sadly worthy of its name. Tuneful and amusing, they entertain with excellent covers of music covering the spectrum of bluegrass music. They're a first rate regional band who cover the mid-West pretty thoroughly, but we've never seen them in the East and wish we could.

Todd Sams

Jeff Weaver

Jim Stack

Brandon Shuping

Chris Stockwell

Rarely Herd - The Waving Girl - Video

The Mess Tent

Dale Pyatt Used My Own Weapon Against Me

The Clay Hess Band

Clay Hess, despite being relatively young, seems to have been around for a long time. He's played guitar with skill and drive for some top bands and traveled with the best. For a few years now he's had his own band and been busy creating a sound that he can call his own. Now, he's coming into his own with a fine group of musicians and vastly increased leadership skills of his own, Clay Hess seems poised to break out. The addition of the fine bassist Irl Hees (whose eyesight seems to have miraculously returned after his stint with the Cleverlys) and Nick Keen on mandolin have helped round out the band. Brennan Hess, now twenty years old, with a voice quite like his dad's and Zach Gilmer on Banjo round out the band. 

Clay Hess

Irl Hees

Brennan Hess

Nick Keen

Zach Gilmer

The Clay Hess Band - Rain - Video

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

As Mike Cleveland stands at the left end of his band during their introduction, he looks like a racehorse chomping at the bit; he can hardly wait to kick off the first song in what will be a brilliant, hard-driving bluegrass set. Cleveland's band, seems to me to be the best he's had yet. It's filled with fine musicians seemingly without egos who are all committed to supporting Mike's great strengths as a fiddle interpreter of the great days of traditional fiddle in a variety of styles. Mike's a wonder as a stylist and interpreter of fiddle music, and who else would play both Orange Blossom Special and Jerusalem Ridge in the same set?

Mike Cleveland

Nathan Livers

Josh Richards

Tyler Griffith

Glen Gibson

Mike Cleveland

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper - Fiddlin' Joe - Video

Volunteer Gwen Shirk & Emerson

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers were named IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year in 2012 and have continued to spread their traditional bluegrass headed by Mullins' Scruggs style banjo widely. They sing lots of fervent gospel songs and strongly patriotic material springing from the deep mid-western and Kentucky roots of this band. Mullins smooth radio announcer voice and sense of band pace keep his show moving and many of their songs keep the audience moved. 

Joe Mullins

Mike Terry

Dwayne Sparks

Evan McGregor

Randy Barnes

The Trio - Terry, Mullins & Sparks

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers - And We Danced - Video

Ricart Brothers Dedicate Annual Mandolin
to the 
MACC Childrens Band

Ricart Automotive is a major sponsor of the MACC. They have generously donated a quality mandolin to be awarded to a member of the MACC Children's Band in memory of Jim Reed, who passed away this winter. Jim, a former Ricart employee who owned a Ford dealership in Shelbyville, KY was a talented mandolinist who played with Three Fox Drive for several years. 

Fred & Rhett Ricard

Lisa Reid

The Ricart Brothers with Darrell Adkins

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

IIIrd Tyme Out has been one of the finest musical aggregations in bluegrass for twenty years or so. The only original member of the group remaining is Russell Moore, but the sound continues, vibrant and always finding new and interesting material. This band, winner of too many awards to count, could rest on its laurels and merely play fan favorites, but it continues to find new material to adopt and adapt. A truly wonderful band continuing in a fine tradition.

Russell Moore

Wayne Benson

Justen Haynes

Keith McKinnon

Blake Johnson

Blake Johnson & Wayne Benson

Russell Moore

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out - Hamilton Special - Video

Joe Mullins & Junior Sisk

Joe Mullins and Junior Sisk have combined to produce a CD called Hall of Fame Bluegrass, an appropriate collection for these two deeply traditional men. It's filled with Stanley Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe classics among others. The CD was produced by Rebel Records.

Joe Mullins

Junior Sisk

Mullins & Sisk - I'm Lonesome Without You - Video

Emcee Christopher Hill

Sound Man - Tom Feller

Daryle Singletary

Country singer Daryle Singletary performed an acoustic set of classic country renditions of his own charted songs as well as selections from the likes of George Jones, John Anderson, and Merle Haggard. I must admit to not having been too excited to see this performance featured at the MACC, but I was won over after about three notes. Singletary has a resonate deep baritone voice well-inflected for country music. He seemed comfortable in the bluegrass setting, presenting a fine show that was very well received. 

Daryle Singletary

Accompanist Phil Valdez

Daryle Singletary - Black Sheep - Video

Blue Highway

Blue Highway closed Wednesday evening with a fine set of their wonderful music, almost all written within the band by the three songwriters in it: Shawn Lane, Wayne Taylor, and Tim Stafford. Blue Highway has had a remarkable career with nearly unprecedented longevity, over twenty years with the same personnel today they started with. Noted for their signature sound and musicality, it's always a treat to hear this band.

Wayne Taylor

Jason Burlexon

Rob Ickes

Tim Stafford

Shawn Lane

Fine weather, great bands, and a better than good Wednesday crowd graced the opening day. Stay with me as we head through this great festival day-by-day over the coming week.

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