Monroe Crossing at the 2019 Jekyll Island New Year’s Festival – photo © Bill Warren
The 43rd Jekyll Island New Year’s Bluegrass Festival has come to an end. It has been a dandy. Congratulations Norman and Judy Adams.
Every successful music festival needs top notch musical talent, along with a couple other “must haves.” The MC is the face and voice of the festival, and Sherry Boyd is that face and voice at the Adams festivals. She is one of the best. Likewise, a sound company can make or break a festival. Blue Ridge Sound always makes the musicians and the audience happy. John Holder brings Geoffrey Keyes and Jackson Bethune to assist him at the shows, and they are among the very best.
Friday’s show was kicked off by Volume Five, one of the most in-demand bands on the circuit. They are a past IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year. The Farm Hands followed. They are past and current winners of many SPBGMA awards, and have become a fan favorite in a fairly short period of time. Next up was the solid southern Gospel of The Inspirations. They have been providing great Gospel music for over 45 years.
Monroe Crossing is on their annual trek to the sunny south from snowy Minnesota. They give every show a full measure of high energy music. Next up were The Gibson Brothers, with a new foil for the butt of some of their brotherly banter. Darrin Nicholson of Balsam Range, who filled in on mandolin, gave as good as he took!!
Jeff Parker and Company closed out Friday’s show. This was the first festival performance for Jeff’s band, and Parker was understandably nervous. “I was a sideman for over 25 years. This is a whole new thing.” Joey Cox has come out of musical retirement to be part of the band whose last stint was with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Colin Ray is a talented graduate of ETSU that will soon become a force in the music. Andy Brown is the bass player. The rest of the band left him on stage alone to do Grandfather’s Clock. He showed the audience why Jeff has hired him! This is a band to see – great music and the Parker humor shines through.
Saturday was also a day of top flight entertainment which started out with Carolina Blue. They are one of the best traditional bluegrass bands today – both musically and in appearance. Put this band on your “must see” list. Kenny and Amanda Smith were up next. They have won too many IBMA and SPBGMA awards to try to list. Danny Roberts of the Grascals filled in on mandolin with them. Everyone needs to ask Kenny about his chili and how it relates to popcorn!! Kenny said he had some mechanic work to do when he got home: “I need to put a rear end in a recliner!”
Little Roy Lewis made his 43rd appearance at this festival. If the math is correct, the first 33 were with the legendary Lewis Family, and the last 10 as the Little Roy and Lizzy Show. His energy is something to behold! Lizzy does her best to keep the stage under control – sometimes more successfully than others.
The vintage country show of the Malpass Brothers has rapidly become a staple at many bluegrass festivals. Chris has been playing Charlie Louvin’s guitar for quite some time, and Taylor received a great surprise for Christmas. He now has Ira Louvin’s mandolin! Doyle Lawson has been the caretaker of this gem, and that honor now passes to Taylor. It is special to see those instruments be played together again. Lizzy and Sally Berry joined Chris to sing a tune during the band’s evening show, but not before they took a minute to promote Sally’s new solo project. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage closed out the festival as only the “Queen of Bluegrass” can.
Take the opportunity to see one of Norman and Judy’s festivals if you can. The next one is at the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch in Palatka, Florida February 14-16.
Next stop for the Candidpix.info camera is the Yee Haw Music Fest in Okeechobee, Florida. It runs from January 15th through the 20th.
Support your local bluegrass music!