Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival 2014 - Saturday & Final Assessment

Jammin' in the Morning with Johnny & Lamar

Each morning of the Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival in Kodak, TN dawned clear and warm, only improving (if that's possible) during the day, with Saturday staying warm enough into the evening to allow me not to change to something warmer. I started the morning by going over to the shadow of the silos to join Johnny Adams and Lamar Moss's daily jam. The joy of a jam where everyone is welcome and there's no real expectation that you have to be super provided me with more growth on my new guitar than I've had in a jam before. It's gotten so I feel deprived if I don't spend some time with my new friend each day. I don't think Irene's jealous....

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Darin & Brooke Alderidge have been friends of our since before the were Darin & Brooke Aldridge. We've watched them develop as individuals, performers, and as a band. Brooke's powerful and evocative voice has become an increasingly effective instrument as she gains even further control of it. Darin's vocal range has increased and their harmonies become closer, tighter. Darin is a master guitar player, especially considering he's even better on the mandolin. Their combination of traditional and contemporary gospel and secular music appeals to a wide variety of fans. Dwayne Anderson is a fine bass player and bass singer who is to little recognized.  John Bowman filled in for Becky Buller Haley this weekend on fiddle and contributed his fine tenor voice.

 Darin Aldridge

Brooke Aldridge

Tyler Collins

Dwayne Anderson

John Bowman

Robin & Mickey McNabb with New Offspring

Joe Soward in TV Interview

The Spinney Brothers

 Several years of hard touring in the U.S. have helped garner this Nova Scotia based brother duo IBMA nominations as Emerging Artist of the Year and for Song of the Year. Their combination of traditional bluegrass and classic country is complemented by their own songs which feature a traditional sound. Their presentation is well-rehearsed and moves along smoothly as they negotiate both their presentation and commitment to an augmented single microphone style. Terry Poirier is a welcome addition on bass.

 Rick Spinney

Allen Spinney

Gary Dalrymple

 Terry Poirier

The Spinney Brothers

 Jamming in the Campground

W. a. Pate at his Hospitality Tent

The Bankesters

 The Bankesters continue to be impressive despite youngest daughter Alysha's working after wisdom tooth extraction the day before they came to Dumplin Valley. Their work is melodic and often thought provoking. Parents Dorene and Phil are both in attendance, but background their own considerable talents to focus on their three attractive and able daughters along with son-in-law Kyle on banjo and mandolin. Probably a little more than a third of their material remains gospel or spiritual, while much of the rest of the work emphasizes relationships. You're not going to find a murder ballad (oxymoron?) at a Bankester show. They're wholesome to the bone, and proud of it.

Emily Bankester

Melissa Bankester Triplett

Alysha Bankester

Kyle Triplett

Dorene Bankester

 Phil Bankester

 Fish Fry at Stage B with Elaine & Leon Johnson



 Elaine & Leon


Sideline started out as just that, a side project for the winter down time by some North Carolina guys. Now Sideline looks like one of the best cover bands around, with one record out and another coming up. Still having fun and not taking too many gigs, the band is refreshing, with Steve Dilling, rested and in improved health, resuming his always excellent work as emcee. Brian Aldridge, of the very good regional band Constant Change, has replaced Darrell Webb on mandolin and with vocals, a good addition. Greg Luck, Jason Moore, and Skip Cherryholmes round out the fun. 

Steve Dilling

Brian Aldridge

Skip Cherryholmes

Greg Luck

Jason Moore

 Lonesome River Band

With a new CD coming out in just a few weeks, the Lonesome River Band featured a number of new songs by the talented and versatile Brandon Rickman. New LRB releases are always eagerly awaited, as is this one. Sammy Shelor is always an electric presence on any stage, and the rest of the band helps makes them one of the two or three strongest closing bands around.

Sammy Shelor

Mike Hartgrove

Barry Reed

Brandon Rickman

Randy Jones

It would be hard to overemphasize what a good festival Dumplin Valley has become. While it's an Autumn festival, meaning that younger people are more likely to be tied up with school activities, the energy of the jamming and enthusiasm for the location are high, and the lineup has improved to the point where there isn't a weak link in the weekend. It should become a regular on your early fall bluegrass schedule.

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