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

Monday, July 21, 2008

Buttery Brook Festival

The fifth annual Buttery Brook Bluegrass Festival got off to a hot and humid start saturday under threatening skies in So. Hadley Mass. The concert area is in sort of a shallow bowl surrounded by grassy hills which made for good viewing and the music could be heard easily from any area. Most of the audience sat on the hill under the trees but for those who like to be close to the band there was a tent close to the right of the stage and lots of grass right in front. There was a good crowd on hand even though Grey Fox was in full swing in nearby New York.
The featured band, "Travers Chandler and Avery County" came on just before a thunderstorm which thinned the crowd considerably, but those who stayed were treated to some rollicking, gritty traditional bluegrass played with intensity by some very talented musicians, who, by the way, were dressed to the "nines" and sporting some colorful footwear, (Travers in orange shoes with white uppers and Jay Armsworthy in black shoes with white uppers) They were going for the "speakeasy" look of earlier days. At any rate they put on a heck of a show with fine vocals and super pickin and got some laughs with their antics, at one point Travers and Jay were jumping in time to the music, I mean in sync jumping at least six inches off the stage and never missed a note. They proved to be crowd pleaser both as musicians and entertainers.

Travers Chandler and Avery County

Mike Mumford Travers Chandler Brad Wood and Jay Armsworthy

Mike Mumford

Travers Chandler

Jay Armsworthy


Hailing from Cape Cod, Mass., "Crabgrass" is a band made up of veteran musicians who sing and play with confidence and ease, trading lead vocals, as they all can step up to the mike and tear it up. They play old and new bluegrass equally well and all are fine instrumentalists. They do tunes such as: "Big Spiked Hammer"; "Blues Stay Away"; "I Dont Do Floors" and so on, a real treat to hear. On banjo and lead vocals, Les Beavan, Chris Miner on mando and lead vocals, Steve Finch and Dan Fortier, guitar and lead vocals, and Steve Healy on bass and lead vocals.


Steve Finch

Chris Miner

Dan Fortier

Twelve year old Joshua Alan Williams and his band North Country were a big hit with the audience. Joshua seemed right at home and perfectly confident in his delivery of early country tunes and some traditional bluegrass. He's got a strong tenor voice and is a joy to hear. Joshua's accompanied by his father Dan on guitar, Jon Roc plays the mandolin and Herman McGee plays banjo.

Joshua Alan Williams

The Bristol Boys deliver a mix of early country, (Jimmy Rodgers, Hank Williams Sr.)and traditional bluegrass. Matt Nozzolio sings lead and plays a bluesy dobro while Dave Orlomoski plays guitar and sings lead on occasion. Dave Aston plays bass and often takes breaks that are a treat to hear. I particularly enjoyed the train songs the band does, with Dave singing the "Wreck of the Old 97" in his smoky mellow voice and Matt doing "Peach Picking Time in Georgia" in his clear tenor voice. They sing well, good harmony, and the pickin is sweet.

The Bristol Boys

Dave Orlomoski

Matt Nozzolio

Unfortunately we had to leave before Mac and Hazel McGee and White Mountain Bluegrass took the stage, but my friend Matt said "they did a fantastic job..." and, "few singers can project a song like Hazel does, and her harmonies with Mac are what bluegrass is about." My thanks to Dave Helman of "Country Corner Productions" and his pleasant staff for a fun, and well run festival.

1 comment:

  1. John -- Great writeup and photos, though couldn't you have made them Bristol Boys look thinner and younger?
    If I may add a comment about White Mountain -- they did a fantastic job in what was probably the hottest and muggiest part of the day. Few singers can project a song like Hazel does, and her harmonies with Mac are what bluegrass is about.
    Thanks for posting, and it was good to see you and Margaret.