Monday, June 15, 2009
Sam Tidwell Tribute Day
After a night of heavy rain and thunder the Sam Tidwell Tribute Day at Sterling Park Campground in Sterling, CT was blessed by a clearing sky and as hundreds of fans and friends quickly filled all the spaces in front of the stage, the promoters, Myrna Riquier and Fred Etheridge breathed a big sigh of relief, how many times have festivals been ruined by bad weather, all that effort for naught. I bet they were surprised and pleased by the large turnout, by my guess, about 400 people, I know the food vendor was as the lines for food seemed to never end. Well, anyway the event was a huge success and Sam was thrilled by the honor as so many of the folks he found time to mentor and encourage, especially in the early years, had returned to say Thanks! Sam and his wife Edie were instrumental in the creation and growth of Bluegrass and have been honored for same by the International Bluegrass Music Museum where they're included in the list of the "200 Pioneers of Bluegrass." The museum is currently working on a video oral history project that when released will include a segment about the Tidwells.We are all indebted to them for what they've accomplished and for the pleasure of their music and of course for Sam's famous "Maine jokes." Thanks to Myrna and Fred, it was quite and undertaking putting this all together.
The band gathered together here is: David Tidwell, Bill Thibodeau playing guitar, John Stey also on guitar and lead vocals, Billy Kimball, guitar and vocals, Bob Denoncourt on bass, Sam Tidwell on the banjo, Marcel Huguenin, vocals and guitar and Carl Rebello playing fiddle. There were different configurations during the set as old friends and picking buddies were invited up to do a tune. Jimmy and Moondi dazzled the crowd with powerful picking and vocals ranging from bluegrass to swing, they played mandolin, guitar and mandola equally well and were really sizzling when they chose to play fiddle tunes. Smokey was there to offer up a song for his old friend Sam and it was a pleasure to hear him, he's one of a kind, his voice just gets better with time Anna Mae and Rising Tide are a high energy group offering up traditional grass and gospel and a little bit of folk, Anna Mae has a powerful country style delivery and her band is loaded with fine pickers The rest of the band: Kadee Reynolds, percussion; Richard Silver on mandolin, Anna Mae, Bill Thibodeau playing the guitar and mandolin, Nancy Merrill on bass and Steve Peterson on the banjo Pine Creek calls Ct. its home, they're known for solid traditional bluegrass highlighted by tight harmony and solid vocals. This group can serve up three lead vocalists which is a plus for them and for the audience. Lead guitarist Fred Etheridge has played with Sam Tidwell and was honored to perform here today as well as co-produce this event. The rest of the band consists of Jim Beaver on banjo and lead vocal, Joe Mellet on mandolin and lead vocals, Nannette Addesso playing fiddle and singing lead and Mike Volatile providing steady bass rhythm This band has been perfoming for more than twenty years in the southern New England area with its mix of traditional and progressive style bluegrass. Members are Monty Mclanahan, vocals and mandolin, Dan Parker on bass, Nancy Hutchins, vocals and guitar, Dick Hutchins,banjo, Gary Hutchins providing lead guitar and Dan Gannon playing fiddle. Out of Maine, this band features Fred Pike Jr. guitar and bass,Quentin Yattaw playing mandolin, Debbie Burdin on guitar and bass and Bruce Bjork on the resophonic guitar A fine traditional band from Rhode Island. Nelson Hiller on mandolin, Mike Robino on bass, Rowland Mehlanbacher on guitar and vocals and Vince Peitte an banjo. John and Rich served as soundmen for the event. Sam invited them up to showcase their musical skills. Amy split the MC's duty with Marcel Huguenin, Amy is also a popular DJ at WHUS, Storrs, CT and promoter of Bluegrass shows in the area. Marcel's the former host of the "Magic of Bluegrass" at WHUS-FM and a fine singer and picker. He worked as MC for the tribute and also performed on stage with Sam and the band Dave has been a friend of Sam's for a long time and was happy to respond to a request to "come on up and sing one" Roger Moss is the promoter of the "Podunk Bluegrass Festival" in East Hartford CT as well as the "Winter Concert Series" held at the East Hartford Cultural Community Center. Jim Beaver leads the Pine Creek Band and is a DJ at the Bluegrass Cafe at WHUS, Storrs, CT.