Malpass Brothers with Rhonda Vincent at the 2020 Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren
The 44th annual Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival has come to an end. Congratulations to Norman and Judy Adams on a great run, and best of luck to Ernie and Debi Evans as they begin their own run managing the Adams’ festivals.
Preacher Mike and Mary Rose Robinson brought their Gospel Sing ministry to Jekyll, and had a good time jamming too.
Friday was started off by the Farm Hands with a mix of traditional and Gospel bluegrass music. Tim Graves is the nephew of the legendary Uncle Josh Graves. He honors Josh with several of his tunes.
The “Lady of Tradition,” Lorraine Jordan, and the Carolina Road Band was up next. Lorraine plays traditional bluegrass with some of her great “countrygrass.” She has a new lead singer in Alan Dyer, an experienced veteran of the music. Lorraine is also the promotor of Christmas Bluegrass in the Smokies.
The Primitive Quartet followed. They have nearly fifty years of bringing Gospel bluegrass to their audiences, and have long been a favorite of the Jekyll Island crowd.
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver brought top notch music next to the stage. Doyle’s musicianship and harmonies are unequalled. Josh Swift announced on Sunday that he has left the band. He has also had a good run. We all wish him the best in his future endeavors. Everyone will miss the banter between Doyle and Josh!
The Appalachian Road Show closed out Friday’s entertainment. This new band is a group of skilled masters of bluegrass who present the music of the mountains in the best possible way. See them if they are in your area.
Saturday was kicked off by Preacher Mike’s Gospel sing. A big crowd joined in the playing and singing.
Kentucky Just Us opened the stage show. They are a family band from – guess where – Kentucky. They provide a good mix of traditional and Gospel bluegrass along with some humor. This is a young band to watch for in the future for their soaring vocals and clever presentation.
The US Navy Band Country Current followed. This band is one of the Armed Forces best. Two of its long term members, Kenny Horton and Pat White, are retiring from the Navy later this year, with auditions open for replacements. This would be a wonderful career opportunity for motivated young musicians.
The Little Roy and Lizzy Show was up next. Roy Lewis has played all 44 of the Jekyll Island festivals. That’s quite an impressive record. Lizzy is recovering from major surgery and spent the performances seated. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery, but she did pull some unexpected double duty. Rhonda Vincent’s bus broke down on the way to Jekyll. Lizzy found them a rental van and arranged for a repair part. The Malpass Brothers completed the passing on of the repair part to the bus driver. The bus made it to Jekyll to pick up the Rage. Lizzy played and sang with her normal enthusiasm. Everyone wants to see Little Roy’s record continue.
Rhonda followed. She introduced her new dobro player, Jeff Partin. Rhonda is, by far, one of the most popular and hardest working people in any genre of music. Every fan gets a picture and a chat with her if they wish. Her music is top flight too! She showcases every member of her band. The Malpass Brothers were invited to join her for the evening set. They provided a couple of great tunes, along with some shenanigans!
The Malpass Brothers closed out the festival with their vintage country show. They take an audience back to the heyday of country music: Haggard, Jones, Snow, The Louvin Brothers, and all the rest.
Blueridge Sound once again provided the best live audio in the business. John Holder started the company in 1995 – 25 years – Congratulations John! He has been doing sound for 40 years. Later this month he will be taking on an additional role. John will be doing a series of webinars for IBMA. The webinars will be professional tips for soundmen. John, who describes himself as a “seasoned veteran,” firmly believes that it is his obligation to pass on his knowledge to anyone who wants it. Be sure to watch for announcements regarding these presentations.
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