Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival 2015 - Friday: Review

The day begins with Johnny Adams and Lamar Moss's open jam at the silos. It's a supportive jam where everyone who shows up is welcome and urged to participate, but never pressured. An hour or more of singing and pickin' together each morning just can't be beat. This week at Dumplin Valley has been warm, sunny, and drier than it really should be, but there's not much complaint about not having rain,

The Becky Buller Band

This will probably be the last time in history that Becky Buller will open a festival. The dynamic, multi-instrumentalist fiddler, singer, songwriter, comedienne is simply too dynamic not to be heading quickly to headliner status at festivals everywhere. Her patience in waiting to form her own band while establishing herself as a critical piece of other bands and having her songs sung by performers of almost every stripe has proven to be the sort of apprenticeship that can stand as a model for future success. When asked how she was able to wait so long, she simply commented, "It wasn't time." Well, Becky Buller's time is now! She's surrounded herself with a group of busy professionals who all have other work to pursue. This weekend, the standout band was composed of Dan Boner from ETSU on mandolin, Beth Lawrence of Sister Sadie (and one of the chief fill-in bass players with every band you can think of) on bass, along with singing harmony, and solo vocals, Brandon Bostic, currently touring with Patty Loveless, joined in on guitar and vocals, while Ned Luberecki, who plays with Chris Jones & the Night Drivers along with teaching banjo lessons on Sirius/XM radio, performed his usually reliable, even virtuoso, work on the banjo. It would be a strong plus if the Becky Buller Band were both touring and recording together as a single unit. The whole package was thoroughly entertaining and musically satisfying. Ask your local promoter to book the Becky Buller Band. Oh, did I mention that Becky's nominated for seven IBMA awards this year?

Becky Buller 

Brandon Bostic

Ned Luberecki

Beth Lawrence

Dan Boner

Becky Buller

Co-Promoter: Joe Soward

The Crowe Brothers

The Crowe Brothers, coming from just across the Blue Ridge in Maggie Valley, NC have been, for me, an acquired taste, but one which offers lasting quality and a feel for the old tones and mountain tunes, along with contemporary songs that hit just the right notes. Josh and Wayne Crowe are celebrating their fortieth year of performing together. Their distinctive raw sound and high energy combined with impeccable musicianship mark them as a band to remember. Steve Sutton, on banjo, first played for Earle Scruggs at age seven and carries on the tradition in style. Bryan Blaylock on mandolin is better than good. 

Josh Crowe

Wayne Crowe

 Steve Sutton

Brian Blaylock

The Crowe Brothers

The Crowe Brothers - Living in My Mobile Home - Video

Emcee - Freddie Smith from WDVX Knoxville

Josh Williams & Friends

Josh Williams has been named IBMA Guitar Player of the Year three times as well as Emerging Artist of the Year in 2010. He's simply a great guitar player who also has a fine baritone voice, which he uses with subtlety and strength. He's a fine addition to Rhonda Vincent & the Rag, where he serves in a too little recognized band composed of some of the finest musicians in bluegrass. It's always a pleasure to seem him leading glorified jams from the stage. This show was no exception, as he came together with band-mates from the Rage for two sets. 

Josh Williams

Hunter Berry

Mickey Harris

Aaron McDaris

Brent Burke

Josh Williams & Friends - On and On - Video

The Peanut Gallery

Volume Five

Volume Five comes from northern Mississippi where Glen Harrell has been a solid member of bluegrass bands for some years, especially noted for his work with Marty Raybon and David Davis. A few years ago he decided to put together his own band, and Volume Five has carefully been developed into a tuneful and enjoyable band featuring Harrells fine voice along with a group of strong sidemen. The recent addition of flat picker/singer Colby Laney has cemented the band, which is a nominee for IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year at the Awards show coming up in a week. 

Glen Harrell 

Chris Williamson

Patton Wages

Colby Laney

Harry Clark

Glen Harrell

Volume Five - See the Big Man Cry, Momma - Video

In the Green Room....
Ned Luberecki & Hunter Berry Jamming

Sonny Osborne was There!

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Rhonda Vincent remains perhaps the hardest working and strongest performer on the bluegrass circuit, a world that makes enormous demands on its artists for less recompense than such artistry deserves. Her voice, after years of touring, remains strong and true, while her band leadership has coalesced into a unit that both supports its leader and stands out as individual musicians. The band has had few changes in recent years, with young Brent Burke emerging as one of the finest Dobro players on the bluegrass circuit. No one works harder to cultivate her fan base or provide them with her own unique brand of personal attention than does Rhonda Vincent. 

Rhonda Vincent

Josh Williams

Aaron McDaris

Mickey Harris

Rhonda & Mickey

Hunter Berry

Brent Burke

Rhonda Vincent

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage - Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Joe Soward Grabs a Well-Earned Rest

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