Bean Blossom 2015 – Day 4

Daniel Mullins will be reporting from the 2015 Bean Blossom Festival all week, as Internet service in the campground allows. Check back each day for his reports and photos.

Phil Leadbetter at Bean Blossom 2015 - photo by Daniel MullinsThe fourth day of the 49th Annual Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival could have been called the week’s “fun day.”

Tuesday’s shows got kicked off with The Punches Family, their first of two days at the historic festival. Delta Reign and their laid back style of acoustic music followed. Though The Moron Brothers capitalize on comedy, don’t sell them short on musical talent. They kept the audience in stitches and in awe with their comedy and talent.

Indiana’s Blue Mafia played to a hometown crowd, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they were playing in Timbuktu — they rocked the house. Their modern, soulful kind of bluegrass, highlighted by the wicked guitar stylings of Tony Wray, were a huge hit. This Hoosier band is surely on the rise.

Adkins & Loudermilk brought a boldness to the stage with the big voices of Dave Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk. Showcasing many original songs, they ensured everyone had a good time with their hard-driving approach.

Chris Jones & The Nightdrivers (or is it Chris Jones & Bluegrass Junction?) accounted for the second, third, and fourth Sirius/XM disc jockeys to visit Bean Blossom this week, as Kyle Cantrell was a guest emcee over the weekend. Chris’ signature voice echoed through “High Lonesome Holler” as the smooth sounds of The Nightdrivers soothed the crowd. Chris was one of several artists who paid tribute to the late Miss Dixie Hall during his sets, to whom this year’s festival is dedicated.

This was the first time I had seen Wildfire following their hiatus, and I was quite impressed. The trio of Robert Hale, Chris Davis, and Greg Luck was very strong, and they made me quite anxious for their upcoming album. An impromptu Wildfire reunion show took place as well, as founding members Phil Leadbetter and Barry Crabtree bum-rushed the stage. Speaking of Crabtree, he was definitely the MVP of the day, as he not only sat in on a few with Wildfire, but also played a combined four sets with Adkins & Loudermilk and Dale Ann Bradley.

The show concluded with the first class entertainment of The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. If you can’t have fun while seeing Leroy Troy and company, then you must hate America. Their original blend of old-time, bluegrass, stringband and early country music is as entertaining of a show as you will ever see. Their show even included a special guest; a member of the Memphis Mafia Jug Band (show promoter Tim Dillman) joined the band for Kansas City Star. I was thoroughly pleased that the band performed my favorite: Ghost Chickens In The Sky. Their playful take on Johnny Cash’s hit, Ghost Riders In The Sky, tells the tale of a flock of ghost chickens seeking revenge on their former farmer, and may be the greatest song of all time.

Day 4 was loads of fun, and I can’t wait to see what Day 5 will bring!

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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel is from southwestern Ohio and has been around bluegrass his entire life. He manages the Classic Country Connection, a music store in southern Ohio which specializes in bluegrass, classic country, gospel, and Americana music. He is the host of the Bending The Strings radio program, which plays a variety of bluegrass, newgrass, and Americana music. He also maintains the website for Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. photo by LuAnn Adams