About Me

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

Monday, August 25, 2008

Heritage String Band

Heritage String Band

Sunday was a sunny, warm and pleasant day and the last day of the 159th edition of the Brooklyn CT. Agricultural Fair, the oldest continuously running fair in the U.S. Fans crowded into their seats under the tent, while others chose to sit on the hillside or stand on the lawn to hear the Heritage String Band play tunes from the 1840's up to late 1890's. Appropriately surrounded by antique farm tractors and clad in period costumes the band played tunes such as: Darling Nelly Gray; Wait for The Wagon; Long, Long Ago and others that are familiar to Bluegrassers, Cripple Creek; Arkansas Traveler; Soldiers Joy and tunes that I haven’t heard before: Irish Soldier Boy and Ring, Ring Da Banjo. Each tune brought forth a short history lesson from band leader, Ed Quigley who explained the sentiments and events of the time, that shaped the thoughts of the writer. This made the songs even more enjoyable.
The band was able to hold its audience through an hour of music, which is unusual at a Fair, it’s more common for this type of audience to stay for one or two tunes and then move on, there’s just so much to see and do at a fair of this size, moreover, many of the same folks came back an hour later for the second set.
The bouncy, energetic repertoire, had everybody tapping their feet and many singing the lyrics to the songs, which surprised me, after all, these tunes were from the 1800's. The band provided extraordinary entertainment and it’s easy to see why they’re invited back year after year.

The rest of the band

Ed, known as the "Commander" formed the band in 2000 so that this music that he loves will be carried on. Ed does most of the narration before the songs are performed and also plays percussion

Ed Quigley

Jim is adroit at singing irish tunes from over three decades of performing at an Irish Pub, he also plays banjo, accordion and tin whistle

Jim McCrohon

Bud Savoie plays fiddle, banjo, mandolin and does some of the vocals as well, he also arranges many of the tunes

Bud Savoie

Leo plays a hot harmonica and adds some humor to the group

Leo Normandin

Dan Donovan sings lead and plays banjo, guitar and washboard and sings darn well too

Dan Donovan

Smiling Ken Taylor plays guitar in this band and sings some of the lead but he's also known for his fine bass playing with the Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band

Ken Taylor

Cherrie, nicknamed "Minnie Pearl" for her straw hat and long dress, keeps the band on track with her steady bass rhythm and energetic presence

Cherrie Westcott

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blackstone Valley Bluegrass

The Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band celebrated its tenth year together the other night at the place of its birth, Whitinsville, Mass. by doing what it does best, playing first rate bluegrass to a crowd of appreciative fans. The band brings together four veteran performers, individually, members of several New England bands, they joined together ten years ago to form the Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band but really didn't perform often as the BVBGB due to commitments to their other bands. Thats all changed now. The band has decided to increase the number of concerts and festivals they will play this year and travel farther afield in order to get their music heard by a broader audience. Brothers Bob and Dave Dick and bandmates Dan Nowlan and Ken Taylor are a tight knit group musically and also long time friends. They play a lot of their own material and covers that are early country and traditional bluegrass and gospel. Their playing is clean and energetic as is their stage personality, lots of picking on each other and humorous banter that delights the audience. The brother harmony is certainly in play but the three and four part harmony is a real treat. Each member can contribute lead vocals and instumental breaks that can stand on their own. They've just released their debut album titled "Debut," yes, Debut. This band, in my opinion, is on a level with national touring bands. If you get to hear them I think you'll agree. You can check their schedule here.

Bob Dick

Dave Dick

Bob,Dan and Dave

Dan Nowlan and Dave Dick

Ken Taylor

The Understudy

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Podunk Bluegrass Festival Weekend

All good things come to an end, so the saying goes, and although Podunk came to an end last Sunday the memories linger. It was wonderful. The festival was so organized and well run I don't think you could ask for more either from the fans view or that of the performers, everything was done right, the campground was clean and well groomed, the vendors were friendly, the food was good and diverse and of course the music was the best. All the bands it seems cranked it up a notch and all received robust applause and there were many encores. The Tony Trischka Band performed for two hours Saturday night and folks were still clamoring for more, that set, with banjo superstars: Marc Johnson, Bill Keith, Joe Mullins, Alan Munde, Ron Block, Pete Wernick and Ned Luberecki showing off their talent was just superlunary. Danny Paisley gave us his usual outstanding lead vocals and the band, Southern Grass was on the mark.

Danny Paisley

Donnie Eldreth Dan and Bobby Lundy

Blue Moon Rising, a young band of talented singers and songwriters pleased the crowd with their original material and fine pickin. Bandmembers are: Keith Garrett, mandolin; Chris West, guitar; Justin Jenks, banjo and Harold Nixon on bass.

Keith Garrett

Chris West and Justin Jenks on banjo

Michael Daves handled the vocals for the Trischka band and he did it well and he also played blistering guitar solos.

Tony Trischka Band

Ned Luberecki

Joe Mullins

Pete Wernick

Jon Weisberger

Ron Block

Bill Keith

A super picker, Michael sings like a mountain man

Michael Daves

Marc Johnson

Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley, singer, songwriters with more hits than you can shake a stick at thrilled the crowd with a bonanza of wonderful songs they have written over the years.

Jackson,Cordle and Salley

Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley

Carl Jackson

The Larry Stephenson Band

Jason Barie Kristin Benson Kyle Perkins

Four time winner of SPBGMA's "Male Vocalist of the Year", Larry Stephenson's fine tenor voice was a treat for the senses. Backed up by the talented band of : Dustin Benson, Klye Perkins, Kristin Scott Benson and Jason Brie.

Larry and Dustin Benson

The Steeldrivers rocked the crowd with their blend of edgy bluegrass and bluesy country. Each member of the band has played with the best of both country and bluegrass bands. They know how to entertain and did.

Tammy Rogers,Mike Fleming and Chris Stapleton

Mike,Tammy and Chris

The Muellers are another young band (except for Mom Karen, on bass, and Pop, Curt, on banjo)that display talent beyond their years. They feature twin and triple fiddling good vocals and musicianship.

Laurah Mueller

Laurah and Sarah Mueller

A very popular event at the Podunk Festival is the Kids Academy that brings together young folks who have never played together and in fact are at different skill levels and melds them into a functioning band in only two days. The Director, Tim St.Jean is assisted by talented musicians: Vicki Baker, Gail Wade, Cathy Day, Peggy Harvey, and Dave Dick.

Kids Academy

Tim St.Jean

The always entertaining Karl Shiflett and Big Country gave us their blend of early Country and Bluegrass, fans love em

Karl Shiflett and Big Country

Claire Lynch can't be beat, with that mesmerizing, smooth, clear voice that you just can't get enough of and she's surrounded herself with top shelf musicians: Jim Hurst with his rapid solos up and down the neck of his guitar that are not just fast but they sound good too, Jason Thomas, also a virtuoso playing fiddle, and Mark Schatz who is a master of the base and can hambone with the best of them, and did I mention, he clogs as well.

Jason Thomas

Claire and Mark Schatz

Jim Hurst

Claire Lynch

Friday, August 1, 2008

Podunk Day One

Rain and thunder turned into sunny and warm thursday at show time.A good crowd on hand for the opening of the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, a very well organized program that has taken all the needs of the artists and fans into consideration. For the present I'll just post some photos as time is not on my side.

Bryan Simpson of Cadillac Sky

A super high energy set by these cutting edge musicians.

Ross Holmes

Mike Jump


Matt Menefee

Cadillac Sky

Gravity from Sweden

Dale Ann Bradley

Getting Ready

After a 10 hour drive from Virginia the band, Nothin Fancy, still had enough energy to thrill the fans with their routine of songs, jokes, songs and more jokes. These folks are entertainers in every sense of the word.

Mike Andes of Nothin Fancy

Tony Shorter

Chris Sexton

Mitchell Davis

Tim D'Emore

Tim sat in for guitarist Gary Ferris who lost a family member