Wednesday, December 5, 2012
It's always nice to listen to masterful musicians in performance, I can't think of a better way to spend an evening. So it was with great expectation that we drove an hour to see a Christmas show in Northbridge, Mass., the first of six shows in three states, this one at the Northbridge Congregational Church. The evenings lineup was full of talent: The Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band, Amy Gallatin with Roger Williams and guest vocalists, Karen Wilber and Krissie Dick along with acclaimed songwriter Rick Lang. The talent loaded lineup brought in a full house and we were fortunate to find seats. The set list for the night was loaded with Rick Lang originals as well as traditional and contemporary Christmas songs from long ago and more recent covers. The music was excellent as expected given the talent on stage and the presentation included lots of humor from folks who are really comfortable in front of an audience, lots of easy banter and humorus teasing which drew laughter many times throughout the performance. Karen Wilber and Rick Lange sang several of Rick's compositions from the album "Season of My Heart," and the BVBG guys offered traditional and contempory material. Amy and Roger along with Krissie Dick filled out the set with their fine vocals of classic songs and some novelty tunes like "Santa Baby." The instrumentation of the evening was great, and the whole evening was well paced and great fun. The series continues at locations noted on the Blackstone Valley Bluegrass website
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Pomfret Senior Center has a brand new look. Completely refurbished and modernized, very open, bright and comfortable, its kitchen gleaming and full of gadgets that make preparing food easy. A nice setting for the first Bluegrass show in this new venue. The newly formed band called "DiQuattro and Day" took the stage at eight and energized the packed house with a mix of traditional Bluegrass and ballads from early country and folk. The harmony of the duo is exceptional and the lead singing of both performers was highly enjoyable. Cathy Day is well known for her talent as a Bluegrass fiddler and vocalist and recently joined up with Bob DiQuattro after meeting him at a jam and realizing they had a fine harmony blend. The performance was well received by the enthusiastic audience who called for encores and helped make the night, as DiQuattro put it, "electrifying". The duo was backed by three veterans of the Bluegrass scene, Tom Bowman on bass and harmony, Cheryl Plecan on bango, and Jim Plecan on mandolin.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Della Mae has been called Neo-bluegrass, edgy, progressive and other terms to describe their music and the way they deliver it, I just say it's really good, high energy acoustic music coupled with great original lyrics and wonderful vocals. Their performance at the Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival on friday was just great, stellar picking and singing and good rapport with the audience.
Celia Woodsmith and Courtney Hartman
Jenni Lyn Gardner
Celia, Shelby Means, and Courtney
Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Nick Anderson and Shady Creek Bluegrass Band will be appearing at the Mohegan Sun Casino BBQ Fest on Sunday June 3rd. The band will take the stage at noon and will be followed by 5 time Grammy winner, Blues man, Robert Cray. This is a nice break for a great band of veteran performers who are sure to please you with the fine vocals and super picking they are known for. Nick sings lead and plays fine rhythm guitar and performs traditional bluegrass in the original style. Nick is backed by some fine pickers in Monty McLanahan, mandolin and high tenor, Dan Menzone playing world class banjo, with superb bass in the hands of Dave Aston. This will be a great day for bluegrass and blues lovers, and yes, the fabulous barbecue is included in the price of admission which is $30.00. The Mohegan Sun Casino is located in Uncasville, CT. Mohegan Sun website
Dave Aston and Nick Anderson
Monday, April 30, 2012
The 2011/2012 Winter Concert Series at the Killingly, CT. Grange came to an end in great fashion with two fine bluegrass bands performing traditional bluegrass and early country songs and some hot instrumentals as well. The guest band, "Southern Rhode," based in Rhode Island and made up of veterans of the New England and Tennesee music scene offered some stellar vocals and wonderful harmony on the old classics and some 60's and 70's country music. Fronted by Alex MacLeod singing lead and playing rhythm guitar and Monty McLanahan singing high tenor harmony and playing mandolin, along with the talented baritone vocalist and guitar/fiddle player Greg Badigian and on the other side of the stage the well known banjo player and teacher Mike Kropp, who they say has taught most of the noteworthy banjoists in the region, and finally the guy who kept the boys in line and in time, Tom Bowman on bass and comic relief. Southern Rhode received some solid applause and would certainly be welcomed back to the grange next season.
The host band "Nick Anderson and Shady Creek," put on their usual fine performance with Nick singing lead as they sang their repertoire of traditional bluegrass and gospel tunes. Nick borrowed Monty McLanahan from the Southern Rhode group and had the fabulous banjoist, Dan Menzone as a guest for the evening, the steady beat of the bass came from the skilled bassist Dave Aston. Later in the evening Dan Menzone joined Mike Kropp for some double banjo tunes and that was very enjoyable. I was disappointed to see the Grange concerts come to an end for the season but we at least it ended with a wonderful show.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Dave and Rose Helman's Country Corner Coffeehouse located in So. Hadley, MA. was packed with Spinney Brothers fans waiting in excited anticipation for the Spinneys to take the stage. Hoping to see a great show they would not be disappointed. The band hit the stage at 8 PM and kicked off the set with the traditional number, "Cabin on a Mountain," and followed with the rollicking "Rollin' in My Sweet Babies Arms" and quickly had the audience stompin their feet to the beat of Darryl Hebb's bass. The band continued with their song selection of traditional bluegrass and a sprinkling of early country songs as well as some original material. Rick Spinney did his banjo version of "Home Sweet Home" to honor the late Earl Scruggs and the audience responded loudly in affirmation. The Spinney Brothers have become polished at presenting themselves and the set was nicely scripted and moved along smoothly. The brothers come off as being caring sensitive musicians able to relate to their audience and seem to put family and friends at the center of their music. Allen chose to show his yodeling skills to the folks late in the set with his rendition of the "Mule Skinner Blues" and it brought forth the loudest applause of the night. The brothers included many of the songs from their new album "Memories" that were well received. At intermission their product table was swamped with fans buying autographed copies of the "Memories" CD as well as older releases. The second set was as strong as the first with fine harmony and lead vocals accompanied by some great picking. The band is lead by Allen on guitar, Rick on banjo, Gary Dalrymple on mandolin, and Darryl Hebb on bass. It turned out to be a great evening of bluegrass represented by some fine artists.
Dave and Rose Helman
A Devoted Fan
Monday, March 26, 2012
The Country Corner Coffeehouse in South Hadley, MA will feature the Spinney Brothers in concert this Saturday evening, March 31 at 8:00 PM. The Spinneys have released a new album, "Memories," that is doing quite well on the bluegrass radio charts and are touring heavily on the national circuit. The band consists of brothers Allen, guitar and vocals, and Rick, banjo and vocals. They're joined by Gary Dalrymple on mandolin and Darryl Hebb on bass. This is sure to be a good show so come on out. Note: I'll post a review and lots of pics by Monday evening the 2nd. of April
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The BearBridge Band will be appearing at the Firebox Restaurant in Hartford CT this Sunday the 25th. of March at 5 PM. This band is made up of long time bluegrass musicians steeped in traditional bluegrass and old time music and always provide a fun time. You will hear some original music in the mix and some fine soloing to boot. The band is fronted by Robert Fraker on mandolin and vocals, his wife Lillian on bass and vocals, long time members, Tex Orlomoski, vocals and guitar and Dave Shaw, vocals and banjo. Always a treat to hear this band. The Firebox Restaurant is located at 539 Broad St., Hartford, CT and is well known for its excellent food and its penchant for "fresh and local" meat, produce and fruit.
Dave "Tex" Orlomoski
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Vanilla Bean Cafe located in Pomfret, CT was turned into an Irish Pub for several hours Saturday night. The band "Cashel Rock" made up of veteran New England artists, Peter Lange, guitar and vocals, Peter's daughter Rachel Lange, vocals, Carol Soucy, vocals and standup comedy, Tim St.Jean, vocals, bodhran, and mandolin, Vikki Baker, vocals, flute and tin-whistle, John Gilmore, bass and vocals, Cathy Day on fiddle and vocals, and Ed Clement, vocals and guitar, had the place jumping with their renditions of Irish drinking songs, ballads, and laments. At times funny as in "Finnegans Wake" and at times sad and nostalgic as in "Wild Mountain Thyme." But most of the night was raucous and fun as these excellent musicians kept the crowd fully engaged. And crowded it was as every bit of space was filled with fans of Irish music from at least three surrounding states, I haven't seen a larger crowd at the Bean. The audience was encouraged to join the fun by singing the chorus on many of the songs and they happily complied. The night ended to soon when after several encores the band had to stop to allow the Bean staff to clean up and close down. Oh well, St. Paddy's Day is only twelve months away.
Note: For full screen images click on the photo.
Note: For full screen images click on the photo.
Carol, John, Peter, Rachel, and Ed
Vicki Baker, Tim St.Jean and Cathy Day
John Gilmore, Peter Lange, and Ed Clement
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The Rhode Island based band Southern Rhode showcased to a nearly full room at the recent Joe Val Festival in Framingham, Mass. The band of veteran bluegrass artists consists of Alex MacLeod singing lead and harmony and playing guitar, Monty McLanahan, lead and harmony vocals and picking the mandolin, Mike Kropp on banjo, and Greg Badigian on fiddle and guitar, with Tom Bowman on bass. Southern Rhode's music ranges from traditional to newgrass with some originals included in the mix. They're very tight musically and the lead vocals shared by Alex and Monty are done with feeling and sincerity, especially Rodney Crowell's "Song for Life," that song really got the audiences attention and brought forth loud applause. The group can be heard at the Wood River Inn in Carolina, R.I. on the fifth Sunday of the month. Hopefully, after the showcase exposure, they will be able to generate more gigs.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Amy Gallatin sings country, swing, and bluegrass and does them all well. She's a veteran of the music scene both in this country and Europe who's very confident performing before audiences of all sizes. The banter comes easy for Amy and she always gets the audience involved. She is joined by Roger Willams, a highly respected resophonic guitarist and his son J.D. Williams on mandolin and Dave Hollender on banjo with Eric Levenson on bass. That's a top flight group in any arena.