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Pomfret, CT, United States
I use this blog to maintain and promote bluegrass and to showcase artists and festivals.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

BBU presents the Gibson Brothers

I’ve never been disappointed by a performance by the Gibson Brothers since first hearing them at Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival in New Hampshire back in 93 or 94 when brothers Leigh and Eric were backed by Mike Barber on bass and Mike’s dad Junior Barber on resophonic guitar. They were already good performers back then and over the years they’ve just gotten better. So good that they won the prestigious IBMA “2012 Entertainers of the Year” award which surprised Leigh Gibson who thought it would take a little longer to reach that plateau. But it didn’t surprise those of us who have been fans for years. Decades of hard touring have made the Gibson sound powerful, exciting and always fresh. Their songwriting skills have set them apart from many bands on the circuit today as most of their sets are populated with self written songs. Songs of hardship, struggles and overcoming the heavy loads many of us face in our journey through life. After listening to the Gibson Brothers one thing pops to mind: These guys are really good people who deserve the success they are enjoying of late. Last night’s BBU sponsored concert at the beautiful “Museum of National Heritage” in Lexington, Mass. was sold out by ShowTime and with good reason. Opening for the Gibson’s was Mike Compton picking Monroe style mandolin and Joe Newberry on the frailing banjo. Joe wrote two songs for the Gibson Brothers “Ring the Bell” album: “Jericho” and “I Know Whose Tears.” The duo performed old timey tunes and were a big hit with the audience. The Gibson’s followed with songs from their large collection of self written material and a few new songs from their new album to be released in late March. One of the new tunes, “I’m Dying to find Someone to Live For,” written by Loretta Lynn and Shawn Camp sounds like a hit to me. The Gibson’s are backed by top tier musicians Mike Barber on bass, Joe Walsh on mandolin, and Clayton Campbell on fiddle. These guys are such a huge part of the Gibson Brother sound, there solos are innovative and exciting and add to the experience of the Gibson Brothers. The band received standing ovations several times and two encores.

Eric,Leigh,Mike Barber,Mike Compton, and Joe Walsh

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson and Mike Barber

Joe Walsh

Clayton Campbell

Leigh Gibson, Mike Barber, Joe Walsh, and Mike Compton

Mike Compton and Joe Newberry

BBU President Stan Zdonik

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas at GrassRoots

It's always nice to listen to masterful musicians in performance, I can't think of a better way to spend an evening. So it was with great expectation that we drove an hour to see a Christmas show in Northbridge, Mass., the first of six shows in three states, this one at the Northbridge Congregational Church. The evenings lineup was full of talent: The Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band, Amy Gallatin with Roger Williams and guest vocalists, Karen Wilber and Krissie Dick along with acclaimed songwriter Rick Lang. The talent loaded lineup brought in a full house and we were fortunate to find seats. The set list for the night was loaded with Rick Lang originals as well as traditional and contemporary Christmas songs from long ago and more recent covers. The music was excellent as expected given the talent on stage and the presentation included lots of humor from folks who are really comfortable in front of an audience, lots of easy banter and humorus teasing which drew laughter many times throughout the performance. Karen Wilber and Rick Lange sang several of Rick's compositions from the album "Season of My Heart," and the BVBG guys offered traditional and contempory material. Amy and Roger along with Krissie Dick filled out the set with their fine vocals of classic songs and some novelty tunes like "Santa Baby." The instrumentation of the evening was great, and the whole evening was well paced and great fun. The series continues at locations noted on the Blackstone Valley Bluegrass website

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DiQuattro and Day

The Pomfret Senior Center has a brand new look. Completely refurbished and modernized, very open, bright and comfortable, its kitchen gleaming and full of gadgets that make preparing food easy. A nice setting for the first Bluegrass show in this new venue. The newly formed band called "DiQuattro and Day" took the stage at eight and energized the packed house with a mix of traditional Bluegrass and ballads from early country and folk. The harmony of the duo is exceptional and the lead singing of both performers was highly enjoyable. Cathy Day is well known for her talent as a Bluegrass fiddler and vocalist and recently joined up with Bob DiQuattro after meeting him at a jam and realizing they had a fine harmony blend. The performance was well received by the enthusiastic audience who called for encores and helped make the night, as DiQuattro put it, "electrifying". The duo was backed by three veterans of the Bluegrass scene, Tom Bowman on bass and harmony, Cheryl Plecan on bango, and Jim Plecan on mandolin.

Bob DiQuattro

Cathy Day

Cheryl Plecan

Tom Bowman

Jim Plecan

Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Park Bluegrass 2012

Della Mae has been called Neo-bluegrass, edgy, progressive and other terms to describe their music and the way they deliver it, I just say it's really good, high energy acoustic music coupled with great original lyrics and wonderful vocals. Their performance at the Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival on friday was just great, stellar picking and singing and good rapport with the audience.

Celia Woodsmith and Courtney Hartman

Jenni Lyn Gardner

Kimber Ludiker

Celia, Shelby Means, and Courtney

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shady Creek at Mohegan Sun Casino

The Nick Anderson and Shady Creek Bluegrass Band will be appearing at the Mohegan Sun Casino BBQ Fest on Sunday June 3rd. The band will take the stage at noon and will be followed by 5 time Grammy winner, Blues man, Robert Cray. This is a nice break for a great band of veteran performers who are sure to please you with the fine vocals and super picking they are known for. Nick sings lead and plays fine rhythm guitar and performs traditional bluegrass in the original style. Nick is backed by some fine pickers in Monty McLanahan, mandolin and high tenor, Dan Menzone playing world class banjo, with superb bass in the hands of Dave Aston. This will be a great day for bluegrass and blues lovers, and yes, the fabulous barbecue is included in the price of admission which is $30.00. The Mohegan Sun Casino is located in Uncasville, CT. Mohegan Sun website

Dave Aston and Nick Anderson

Monty McLanahan

Dan Menzone

Monday, April 30, 2012

Southern Rhode and Shady Creek

The 2011/2012 Winter Concert Series at the Killingly, CT. Grange came to an end in great fashion with two fine bluegrass bands performing traditional bluegrass and early country songs and some hot instrumentals as well. The guest band, "Southern Rhode," based in Rhode Island and made up of veterans of the New England and Tennesee music scene offered some stellar vocals and wonderful harmony on the old classics and some 60's and 70's country music. Fronted by Alex MacLeod singing lead and playing rhythm guitar and Monty McLanahan singing high tenor harmony and playing mandolin, along with the talented baritone vocalist and guitar/fiddle player Greg Badigian and on the other side of the stage the well known banjo player and teacher Mike Kropp, who they say has taught most of the noteworthy banjoists in the region, and finally the guy who kept the boys in line and in time, Tom Bowman on bass and comic relief. Southern Rhode received some solid applause and would certainly be welcomed back to the grange next season.
The host band "Nick Anderson and Shady Creek," put on their usual fine performance with Nick singing lead as they sang their repertoire of traditional bluegrass and gospel tunes. Nick borrowed Monty McLanahan from the Southern Rhode group and had the fabulous banjoist, Dan Menzone as a guest for the evening, the steady beat of the bass came from the skilled bassist Dave Aston. Later in the evening Dan Menzone joined Mike Kropp for some double banjo tunes and that was very enjoyable. I was disappointed to see the Grange concerts come to an end for the season but we at least it ended with a wonderful show.

Southern Rhode

Alex MacLeod

Mike Kropp

Greg Badigian

Mike Kropp and Dan Menzone

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Spinney Brothers at Country Corner Coffeehouse

Dave and Rose Helman's Country Corner Coffeehouse located in So. Hadley, MA. was packed with Spinney Brothers fans waiting in excited anticipation for the Spinneys to take the stage. Hoping to see a great show they would not be disappointed. The band hit the stage at 8 PM and kicked off the set with the traditional number, "Cabin on a Mountain," and followed with the rollicking "Rollin' in My Sweet Babies Arms" and quickly had the audience stompin their feet to the beat of Darryl Hebb's bass. The band continued with their song selection of traditional bluegrass and a sprinkling of early country songs as well as some original material. Rick Spinney did his banjo version of "Home Sweet Home" to honor the late Earl Scruggs and the audience responded loudly in affirmation. The Spinney Brothers have become polished at presenting themselves and the set was nicely scripted and moved along smoothly. The brothers come off as being caring sensitive musicians able to relate to their audience and seem to put family and friends at the center of their music. Allen chose to show his yodeling skills to the folks late in the set with his rendition of the "Mule Skinner Blues" and it brought forth the loudest applause of the night. The brothers included many of the songs from their new album "Memories" that were well received. At intermission their product table was swamped with fans buying autographed copies of the "Memories" CD as well as older releases. The second set was as strong as the first with fine harmony and lead vocals accompanied by some great picking. The band is lead by Allen on guitar, Rick on banjo, Gary Dalrymple on mandolin, and Darryl Hebb on bass. It turned out to be a great evening of bluegrass represented by some fine artists.

Allen Spinney


Rick Spinney


Gary Dalrymple


Darryl Hebb


Dave and Rose Helman


A Devoted Fan