It was a fun night Friday, as Mountain Heart took the stage at the CoMMA (City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium) in North Carolina with Tony Rice on guitar and Terry Baucom on banjo.
The first half of the show was all Mountain Heart. This talented group of musicians and singers entertained the audience in a big way. They are known for their on-stage energy and artistic rendering of a varied set list. Josh Shilling is an amazing singer (I also enjoyed him very much on the piano---especially his solo on 'Me & My Guitar'!) Aaron Ramsey is a mando-monster, who also handled the lead vocals on 'Little Sadie'. I understand that song will be included on the next Mountain Heart studio recording. Terry said of Aaron, "I like him a lot. He's quiet and does a lot of listening...I like that". Barry Abernathy handled the majority of the band's MC work and kept the audience laughing a lot of the time. His north Georgia personality goes over well to the crowd every time. I enjoyed his vocals, too. Clay Jones is a hoss on guitar. I have known this for more than 25 years. We got aquainted at Fiddlers Conventions years ago and did quite a bit of jamming as teenagers. Clay and Terry had worked together in the 90's when Lou Reid Terry Baucom & Carolina formed. They recorded two projects together, 'Carolina Blue' and 'Carolina Moon', which are two of my favorites! Terry really enjoyed getting to pick with Jones again. Jim Van Cleve is another one I met years ago while jamming at Fiddlers Conventions around the region. It was clear early on, that Van Cleve had a bright future in the music field. When he takes a break, everyone sits up and takes notice. His delivery is so tasteful. A critical position in any band is the bass player...and Mountain Heart has one of the finest in Jason Moore. Whether he is front and center on a solo or just holding down the rhythm section, he cuts his gig!
After Mountain Heart spent a few minutes meeting fans and friends at the merchandise table during the intermission, the second half got underway with Tony and Terry coming on stage with the band for a hard driving set of music that included many tunes that Tony had recorded over the years: Blue Ridge Cabin Home, Cold On The Shoulder, Me & My Guitar, Salt Creek, Ginseng Sullivan, etc. It was like an on-stage jam with the band consulting with Tony on which tune to present next. Tony and Terry were playing the same Fiddlers Conventions around North Carolina as teenagers, so their history goes way back. They have also recorded quite a bit over the years, too. In the 80's, during the tour of The Bluegrass Album Band, Terry traveled with the band to play fiddle, when Bobby Hicks would have to leave the tour because of his busy performing schedule with Ricky Skaggs at the time. So those two enjoyed jamming together again on some great 'Grass' with Mountain Heart. At the end of the evening, they received a nice encore and came back to the stage with Your Love Is Like A Flower.
Thanks to The Men's Club of Morganton for presenting this show, along with the Red White & Bluegrass Festival. A couple of video clips and more photos coming soon.~CB