Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kutztown, PA, Pickin' AllStar Jam Show

We had another great show at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania Thursday night. The auditorium was beautiful. We had traveled to Winchester, VA the night before. When we got up to travel on to Pennsylvania, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Actually, snow covered the ground all the way to the venue site. In addition to a nice trip, it was so much fun getting to hang out with friends in Bluegrass...many of which we do not get to see very often. Dale Ann Bradley, Amanda Smith, Kim Fox and I harmonized in the dressing room prior to the show. Hanging out with Michael Cleveland, Mike Bub, Josh Williams, Mike Compton and the rest, was a real treat. Nicky Sanders joined us on fiddle for this show. He did a wonderful job. Nicky had to be back in North Carolina the next day for a radio interview and performance with The Steep Canyon Rangers at the Orange Peel in Asheville. I sat down with Steve Gulley backstage, prior to the show's start, to interview him for an upcoming radio show. Steve and I talked about his new recording studio, his forthcoming duet project with Tim Stafford and the new Grasstowne project that is currently being recorded.

Below is an article from the Pennsyvania Newspaper, The Reading Eagle:

CONCERT REVIEW: Bluegrass extravaganza not only fun, but educational
By Susan L. Peña
Reading Eagle

The Kutztown University Performing Artists Series celebrated American roots music with a bluegrass extravaganza that was not only an evening of joyous music making, but a learning experience for nonaficionados.

The Bluegrass All-Star Jam, directed by bassist Mike Bub and emceed by Cindy Baucom — host of the syndicated radio show "Knee-Deep in Bluegrass" — thrilled the audience in Schaeffer Auditorium on Thursday night with an array of talent that Baucom called the "cream of the crop" of bluegrass.

What we learned is that bluegrass artists are an unpretentious lot, hardworking but with a twinkle in their eyes, and downright fabulous musicians. We also learned that there is infinite variety, not only in the music but in the sound of stringed instruments in the hands of experts.

The ever-shifting band, made up of soloists, backed one another as one by one they took the spotlight. Their offerings ranged from contemporary and original material to old-timey music to classic bluegrass to songs by Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson, with a little praise and country thrown in.

Featured on fiddle were Michael Cleveland, who played with finesse and a gorgeous tone, and Nicky Sanders, a more aggressive player; on dobro were the formidable Rob Ickes and the subtle Phil Leadbetter; on bass were Bub (who also sang "I’m the Luckiest Man ‘Twas Born") and Missy Raines, whose solo in Dylan’s "Nashville Skyline Rag" was full-bodied and tuneful.

On mandolin were Mike Compton, as powerful as a high-speed train, and Alan Bibey, whose Gypsy swing version of "Sweet Georgie Brown" with guitarist Kenny Smith was one of the evening’s highlights.

On banjo were the quicksilver Terry Baucom (Cindy’s husband) and the impeccable Sammy Shelor of Lonesome River Band, who played a Civil War-era tune.

There were several guitar/vocalists, all of them excellent: Smith and his wife, Amanda; Steve Gully, who sang his own songs and the wistful "Angel on Its Way" with co-writer Tim Stafford; Don Rigsby, whose version of Bill Monroe’s "Kentucky Waltz" was another standout; the deep-voiced Kim Fox, who gave a lovely rendition of "Help Me Make It Through the Night"; Josh Williams, a fine vocalist, and Dale Ann Bradley with her velvet voice in "Run, Rufus, Run."

Next week the show travels to Stillwater, OK

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