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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Killingly Grange Winter Concerts

Mike Boulay

Mike Boulay and the Hope Valley Volunteers made some new fans Saturday night at the Killingly CT. Grange hall. This group lit the place up with their revved up pickin and fine vocals and smooth harmonies. This is a confident bunch of pickers who know how to please an audience. They run an entertaining and fun set poking fun at themselves with anecdotes about their playing and their history as a band. Mike Fischman quipped "the band used to be called, "Mike Boulay and Friends," but when Mike ran out of friends he had to call in "Volunteers." The comedy did not get in the way of the music, however, they were dead serious about the way they present their music, and it was good, mostly traditional with a boogie tune now and then. Band members are: Mike Boulay on guitar, lead and harmony vocals, Joe Giard on mandolin, lead and harmony vocals, Mike Fischman on banjo and harmony vocals, and Rory McLeod on bass. This is a band that you need to see. They perform at the "Wood River Inn" on Rt.138 in Richmond R.I. on the 3rd. Sunday of the month

Mike Boulay and the Hope Valley Volunteers


Mike Boulay


Joe Giard and Mike Boulay


Rory McLeod


Mike Fischman plays banjo, guitar, mandolin, and probably more, you may know him as the DJ at WRIU radio's "Bluegrass Breakdown," from the campus of the University of Rhode Island.

Mike Fischman

The host band of this series is "Nick Anderson and Shady Creek," Nick does the heavy work of finding good bands to fill out the bill of his winter series. He and his band always put on a good show at the Grange and he's developed a loyal following. Nick usually sticks to bands that fall under the "traditional" umbrella and that seems to be what his audience wants. The band members are: Monty McLanahan on mandolin and lead and harmony vocals, William Trickett on banjo, dobro, and harmony vocals, Elise LaFlamme on fiddle and harmony vocals, and Mark Doyle on bass and harmony vocals.

The Shady Creek Band


Nick Anderson


William Trickett


Monty McLanahan


Elise LaFlamme


Mark Doyle


To close out the evening, the two bands joined forces for a half dozen songs and tunes. It was high energy and a perfect ending to a terrific show.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joe Val Saturday

J.D. Crowe had an unfortunate accident while exiting his bus and broke some bones in his arm and was unable to perform Saturday evening so the BBU had to find a replacement band. With good luck they were able to find a top notch and well loved group, Dan Paisley and the Southern Grass, a group that has been to JV before and is a favorite with the JV fans. Danny knows how to belt out a "plumb pitiful" song, with heartfelt emotion. The inclusion of Donny Eldreth on vocals and mandolin was a treat.

Danny Paisley


Donny Eldreth


Donny and Mike Paisley


Ron Stewart



The Boxcars are in demand, they're heavily booked this season and for good reason. The talent in this band is awesome, each member could probably start a band of their own. Songwriting, singing, and certainly picking is just that good. Adam Steffey, Keith Garrett, and John Bowman contributed some fine vocals. They wowed the crowd with their energy packed set.

Adam Steffey


Ron Stewart


Keith Garrett


John Bowman


Harold Nixon>


Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers are as smooth a group as I've ever heard. Impeccably dressed and polished entertainers with top shelf instrumental breaks, lovely a capella gospel tunes and just a wonderful entertaining set.

Joe Mullins


Mike Terry


Evan McGregor


Joe and Tim Kidd


Adam McIntosh


The Whites are pure entertainers, engaging banter between the sisters, and Father, Buck, make you feel at home with them, like one of the family.Their vocals and harmony singing are flawless and the dobro work of Phil Leadbetter was the icing on the cake.

Buck White


Sharon White


Cheryl White


Phil Leadbetter


Sam Tidwell, a long tim player of Bluegrass music was honored with the BBU 2011 Heritage Award for Music. Sam is well known and respected in the Northeast and revered by countless musicians here. In 2007 Sam was honored as a "Bluegrass Pioneer" by the the International Bluegrass Music Museum. He's been active of late, performing at fairs and campground festivals. Sam surrounded himself with some fine New England musicians for a set after his award presentation. On guitar and vocals, John Stey, also on guitar and vocals Dave "Tex" Orlomoski. Joining their father on stage were sons, Billy on mandolin, Mark on guitar, and David on bass.

Sam Tidwell


Tex Orlomoski


John Stey


Billy Tidwell


Mark Tidwell


David Tidwell


The Berklee Bluegrass Allstars are some of the best students of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Each year Prof. Hollender brings a group to Joe Val to sort of showcase the talents and accomplishments of their students, and each year they blow you away with their talent.

Courtney Hartmann and Prof. Hollender


John Mailander and Jack Devereaux



Matt Wittler




Monday, February 21, 2011

Joe Val Friday Night

The 26th. edition of the Joe Val Festival opened to a full house at the Sheraton in Framingham, Mass. on Friday afternoon, parking was at a premium as were seats in the Hotels two restaurants. But all went well, parking spots were found, stomachs were filled and the great lineup of bands got underway. The music began with the Berklee Bluegrass Allstars who amazed the audience with their musical skills, they received loud applause after every number and got things off to a fine start.
Next up, Hot Mustard, a band featuing two banjos and two couples, the Stockwell's, Bruce and Kelly, and soon to be married, Bill Jubett and April Hobart. Fine pickin and strong vocals define this band and they were well received.
Northern Lights 1995 Reunion Band took the stage to a round of welcoming applause and showed why they were so successful for over thirty years. Great singing, stellar instrumentation and harmony. Many in the audience suggested they would have liked to see more of them over the three days, but you know, the weekend was packed with talent and I don't know how they could have gotten all the bands to fit the time schedule.
Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen proved to be crowd pleasing with their amazing playing and great vocals. A group of super-pickers, Frank on mandolin, Mike Munford, whose incredible on the banjo, Lincoln Myers on guitar and Steve Custodi on bass.
The fabulous Tony Trishka and his band Territory closed out the night. Michael Daves was terrific with his unique style of singing, something you'd probably hear in the early days of mountain music, really different. Late in the set Mike Munford joined Tony for some double banjo treats. In the photo below Tony and the band had been posing for a photo shoot in the hotel hallway and graciously allowed me to take this shot, they're good people.

Tony Trishka and Territory


Tony Trishka and Territory


Tony Trishka


Michael Daves


Tashina Claridge



Mike Munford joins Tony


Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen had a great set, these guys are really hot right now and they showed us why. Frank on mandolin, Mike Munford on banjo, Lincoln Myers on guitar, and Steve Custodi on bass.

Frank Solivan


Lincoln Myers


Mike Munford


Steve Custodi

The Northern Lights 1995 Reunion Band

Taylor Amerding


Bill Henry


Jeff Horton


Jake Amerding


Alex MacLeod

The Hot Mustard band has been active in the New England area lately and once you hear them you will become a fan, their easy on stage presence makes them quite enjoyable.

April Hobart


Bill Jubett


Bruce Stockwell


Kelly Stockwell


I will be posting pics of the Berklee Bluegrass Allstars tomorrow and will finish up with Saturday's lineup also.