The first thing you need to know about Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival, in Snow Camp, NC is… direction is key. If you are not familiar with the many turns required to get there you will need to allow some extra time. The second thing you need to know is be prepared to use your level, both for your camper and your chairs. It was quite interesting to see how some seasoned festival goers solved the issue in the seating area. However, in the case of the concert area the gentle slope of the hillside provides everyone with a great view.
The lineup was a fine mix of regional and national artists. Lil John’s headliners supplied solid crowd pleasing performances. But most would agree that a few bands brought an unexpected level of entertainment. Those flying under the radar were, A Deeper Shade of Blue, Al Baton and the Bluegrass Reunion, and Travers Chandler and Avery County. It does not come as a surprise that these bands all share a deep traditional sound.
Chandler had amazing on stage energy especially considering both his show times were on the afternoon set. Given the temperature and the humidity levels taking it easy during the day and saving some flair for after sunset would not have been a bad idea, however Chandler and a couple others did not have the luxury. Lucky for him he is blessed with such a hunger for the music that the stage provides ample adrenalin in such cases.
“I just love it. I have been [playing music] close to 20 years and it’s still just unbelievable that I get to be up here on stage with my heroes,” he said. Chandler talked about his admiration of Charlie Moore’s music. He attributes his appreciation of Josh Williams to the similarities Josh’s singing shares with Moore. “I admit I have a man crush on Josh Williams,” he told the crowd from the stage.
Chandler’s band was among another interesting grouping of bands appearing at Lil’ John’s, those that have husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend teams sharing the stage. Travers’ girlfriend Jessica Smith sings and plays bass, Big Country Bluegrass includes the husband/wife team of Tommy and Teresa Sells, and band leaders Darrin and Brooke Aldridge were also there.
From stage Brooke mentioned the approaching one year anniversary of fiddle player Rachel Johnson joining the band. I asked Brooke what is was like to get to travel with another woman in the band. “It’s wonderful to have girly time. Darrin says I slept a lot before Rachel came along.”
I am sure that our Facebook readers can think of several other bands that include husband/wife teams.
In between listening to the stage acts and jamming in the campground visitors enjoyed fishing, golf cart paths and mule rides in an old fashioned covered wagon. At the end of the weekend everyone was left with another great Labor Day weekend full of memories of good times. The biggest difference this weekend is most of us have Monday to rest before heading back to work.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Amanda Webb is an accomplished writer with a full range of journalism experience including newspaper, magazine, television and web. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Growing up in Southwest Virginia, she received a heavy traditional bluegrass music influence from her father. She officially became a part of the bluegrass music community in 2003 when she married artist, Darrell Webb. Amanda and Darrell live in Tennessee with their two children.
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