Monday, February 16, 2009
Joe Val Festival Friday
The Main Ballroom of the Sheraton Framingham Hotel was full of excited fans for the kickoff of the 24th annual Boston Bluegrass Union's "Joe Val Festival" last Friday evening and they were treated to a night of fabulous bluegrass from some of the finest bands in the country. All of the bands received rounds of enthusiastic applause and were asked for encores time and again.
The "Steep Canyon Rangers" led by Woody Platt gave one of their best performances ever and their record sales table was swamped. Charles Humphrey writes much of the band's material and acts as the bands MC Alecia Nugent and her band filled in for an ailing Bradley Walker, she put on a fine performance and at one point called Bradley Walker on her cell phone and asked the audience to wish him a speedy recovery, and of course they did, in unison, and very loudly. Bradley seemed to enjoy that and apologized to the audience for having to miss the show Straight Drive's music is just that, powerful first generation music, fast instrumental breaks, good rhythm and beautiful vocals by Jen Larson Joe Singleton has been a fan of New England bluegrass icon "Joe Val" for a long time and put his group, "Joe Sings Joe" together as a way to honor and pay tribute to the great tenor and he did just that with his wonderful high tenor voice on the songs that Joe Val made special years ago. By the audience's reaction I'd say he was a huge hit of Friday night. The band was made up of two members of the Joe Val band, Dave Dillon on guitar and Eric Levenson on bass and joining them was John Roc on mandolin, Rich Stillman on banjo and Mike Barnett on fiddle This group really impressed, not only did they play and sing like seasoned professionals, their demeanor on stage was cool and confident, completely sure of their abilities and the bluegrass fans loved them. I'll be posting again tomorrow with pics of Bobby Osborne, The Kruger Brothers with Adam Steffey and Bobby Hicks, Special Consensus, Josh Williams, Claire Lynch, Dry Branch Fire Squad and others.