American Revival Tour – Week 1

Casey Henry with her signature Kel Kroydon banjoCasey Henry has agreed to send us occasional updates from The American Revival Tour, where she is performing with Dixie Bee-Liners. Also on the tour are Sierra Hull & Highway 111 and headliners Uncle Earl.

Here is Casey’s report.

The arrival of November saw The Dixie Bee-Liners, Uncle Earl, and Sierra Hull and Highway 111 burning up the roads of the southeast in the first week of our much anticipated tour – American Revival: Celebrating the New Stars of American Roots Music.

When three bands of young-ish people get to travel together for four weeks, hi jinx will ensue. We have a long-running tour game involving sausage, but I’ll leave that for another time. Our most fun show, by far, was Halloween at the American Theater in Hampton, VA. Buddy Woodward, Bee-Liner mandolin player, is great at zombie makeup and we took full advantage of his talents. He also helped out Sierra’s band, giving fiddler Christian Ward a slash across the face, bassist Jacob Eller a bullet hole in the head, and transforming guitarist Clay Hess into a very convincing wolf-man. Ron Block went as Ron Howard—no makeup needed! Uncle Earl was four bad witches and one good witch.

Punch Brothers Chris “Critter” Eldridge and Noam Pikelny came for the night’s show. Critter dressed as a Christmas party guest, complete with battery-powered lights. Noam borrowed a spare witch hat and grey wig from Uncle Earl. They joined the Earl girls on stage to sing Happy Birthday to their fiddler, Stephanie “Pumpkin” Coleman, who turned 24.

Our post-show Halloween celebration took place at a little martini bar down the street—Six—where we had tapas and cocktails and played with the motorized witch hat KC Groves had found at the grocery store. It played Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead, and wagged its bell-adorned, pointed tip merrily back and forth.

Monday night we played at the Birchmere in Alexandria, a legendary bluegrass venue. For most of the Bee-Liners it was the first time we’d played there and we were honored to get to take the stage where the Seldom Scene ruled for so long. I actually had my fifteenth birthday party at the Birchmere. My parents took me and a group of my friends to see the Johnson Mountain Boys play. My friend Nancy Peterson, who came to the show last night, was at that party. She said it was like coming full circle, getting to see me play on that same stage.

Today is a travel day—more than 500 miles down to South Carolina. The Bee-Liners are stopping by WAMU this morning to play a little in-studio music and then hitting the road.

For more pictures and anecdotes, see Sierra Hull’s blog. I feel this must be the most-blogged-about bluegrass tour ever!