Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YeeHaw Junction 2015 - Review

The team of Keith & Darlene Bass presented their final production of the twenty-one year old YeeHaw Junction Bluegrass Festival at YeeHaw Junction last weekend. This was their sixth and final go-around as promoters of this classic event, one of the last bluegrass festivals still being held in a "build it from the ground up" pasture in the midst of nowhere. YeeHaw Junction featured a couple of ranking national bands as well as other touring bands and several good local bands. Because this festival has had, and maintains, an emphasis on strong jamming and very good workshops, the schedule of four bands presented twice daily is a good one, leaving lots of time for morning workshops, evening jams, and a full dinner break. We enjoy this format, as it permits plenty of time for visiting and socializing.

Surprise Bands!

There were two surprise bands for me.We had seen Penny Creek, a ten year old local band from Melbourne, FL last year at Seminole Wind. The addition of  Chris Paganoni, recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, gives added skill and life to an already skillful, lively band. While still primarily a band that plays a weekly gig and a local barbecue joint, their vocals are sharp, their repertoire varied, and their showmanship effective. If they decide to increase their outreach to a wider circle, this could be band to watch.

Penny Creek

Susan Pounds

Isaac Taylor

Chris Paganoni

Bo Frazer


About two years ago, Steve Dilling, experiencing health issues and general road weariness decided to leave IIIrd Tyme Out, with whom he had been a key figure serving on the banjo and as an incomparable band emcee. He took a job running Lorraine Jordan's Office and helping bring Lorraine's Cafe to realization. After a few months of rest and some surgery, Dilling started looking around for something to do, and up jumped the idea of Sideline...."Hey gang," he said to some of the top side men in North Carolina, "Let's make a band." (Thanks to Mickey Rooney) Sideline has emerged as one of the most lively, entertaining, and musically satisfying cover bands around, bringing their renditions of classic bluegrass with energy and honesty. Still the best band emcee in the business, Dilling keeps it light and fun, while the band is deadly serious about delivering excellence. The addition of Brian Aldridge to the band has meant a consistent lineup. Skip Cherryholmes,insures that youth will be served while maturing into a solid guitarist.

Steve Dilling

Brian Aldridge

Skip Cherryholmes

Jason Moore

Greg Luck

Wednesday Pot Luck

Bluegrass Pot Luck attendees are always eager eaters....

Jerry Butler & the Blu J's

Jerry Butler's smooth country voice always help improve the band he's signing in. A season at Dollywood has worked well for him, along with having the same band for several years. 

Jerry Butler

Barron Rogers

Derek Vaden

Lee Chapman

Southern Express Bluegrass

Southern Express Bluegrass, a central Florida traditional bluegrass band, performed familiar songs delivered the way they have been presented since their inception in a competent and solid fashion. Lead singer Larry Jackson's voice is strong, while fiddler Steve Durwachter, who we've heard with several bands, can be counted on for a strong performance. They will be performing at the Florida State Fair in Tampa next month and are regulars at Peebles BBQ in Auburndale.

Larry Jackson

Ron Rimmer

Steve Durwachter

Rick Hinson

Bryce Hall

Regular readers will notice more than the usual number of black and white photographs, necessitated by the poor quality of lighting provided. 

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

Lorraine Jordan brought her North Carolina-centric band back to Florida, sadly missing the presence of fiddler/singer Josh Goforth, who was in Ireland. The always reliable Greg Luck filled in well, as did Jason Moore, one of the best on bass. Tommy Long has blended in well with this band, bringing a reliable voice. Ben Greene can be counted on for his Scruggs style banjo. 

Lorraine Jordan

Tommy Long

Ben Greene

Jason Moore

Greg Luck

Nothin' Fancy

Nothin' Fancy delivered four highly entertaining, polished, musical sets over two days, a feat beyond the capacity of most bands booked for two days, without repeating themselves or overstaying their welcome. Band members also hosted some very well-attended and useful workshops on Friday morning. Nothin' Fancy offers a well-thought-out mix of classic bluegrass, Country Gentleman re-interpretations, as well both novelty and serious songs written by mandolinist and band emcee Mike Andes. They don't repeat themselves and keep their catalog plenty deep enough so that people who see them from venue to venue get fresh and ever-changing material. Wade Cox filled in on bass for Tony Shorter. With less than a year with the band, Jesse Smathers is not only contributing first rate singing and flat picking, but intelligently adding to the comedy value. Chris Sexton on fiddle has become more subtle and better. Mitchell Davis' hang-dog face always communicates. After twenty years on the road, Nothin' Fancy stays fresh and interesting.

Mitchel Davis

Chris Sexton
Jesse Smathers

Mike Andes

How'd You Like to Play with this Backup Band?

Chris Sexton Workshop

Mike Andes - Workshop

Jesse Smathers' Workshop


LeRon Rogers

April Rogers

Bobby Martin

Ryan Clark

Emcee Mike Robinson

Another Vendor

The Bluegrass Brothers

The Bluegrass Brothers are a Virginia-based bluegrass band specializing a roughly delivered second generation bluegrass covers. The band contains Father Victor on bass and lead vocals, his brother Robert on banjo, Victor's sons Donnie and Stephen, on mandolin and guitar respectively, and Chris Hart on Dobro. The band has a loyal and vocal following and, historically has spent a lot of time in the field jamming with their fans.

Stephen Dowdy

Donnie Dowdy

Robert Dowdy

Victor Dowdy

Chris Hart

Hwy 41 South

Mark Horn

Dave Beaumont

JR Davis

 Robert Feathers

Donnie Harvey

Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express

Keith Bass

Clint Dockery

Shane Stewart

Katie Steward

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Year after year Rhonda Vincent continues to put fans in the seats around the country and to be the most consistently excellent band on the bluegrass circuit. Despite facing a quick and grueling trip to Nashville and a fast turnaround to return to Florida for her cruise as well as a bitter cold evening, Rhonda delivered. Balancing her own onstage charm with a first-rate band she played two extended sets. She brought the last Bass produced YeeHaw Junction event to a fitting end on Saturday night by doing what she does best: being Rhonda Vincent.

Rhonda Vincent

Hunter Berry

Brent Burke

Mickey Harris 

Aaron McDaris

Josh Willams

Next Year

Evans Media Source is already well along the way with it's plans to continue YeeHaw Junction's traditions of excellence that have been established during the last twenty-one years. Next year's lineup headlines Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Grascals, Russel Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, and Nothin' Fancy and Monroe Crossing with additional bands still being booked. Early Bird Booking has been extended to compensate for the confusion that attended the completion of this year's festival. The web address will take you to the site. Additional changes are still in store, so keep an eye on the site for information about updates. The dates will be January 21-23, 2016.

Ernie Evans - New Promoter