Big doin’s at Sertoma Youth Ranch ’19

A rendition of the Star Spangled Banner opens the show at Sertoma Youth Ranch – photo © Bill Warren

The Sertoma Youth Ranch is nestled in a grove of live oaks providing an idyllic setting for a bluegrass festival. Bright sunshine and cloudless skies greeted festival goers all weekend.

There are a number of things that are becoming regular occurrences at all of the Evans Media Source festivals. One is Brink Brinkman leading a song writing workshop. Brink describes what he does as, “Drinking coffee and making stuff up.” He does a super job of doing those two things. Another is the ice cream stand manned by Stacie and Don Stratton. Stacie will sell you a root beer float while Don tells stories of life on the road. Oh – the homemade ice cream is really good.

Clarence Canada hosts a mandolin workshop at all of the festivals, and Jo Odom runs a tight ship as MC. Every musician can be subject to her discipline, and as a result they all respect and appreciate her. Ernie has a solid sound crew that do an excellent job. Larry Payton, Josh Griffin, and Clarence Canada create a top notch system for all of the bands. They are always greeted with a smile.

Most of the musicians park behind the Sertoma stage. I ran into Mike Andes, Don Rigsby, Chris Davis, and Ted Lehmann swapping stories.

Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers opened Friday’s show. The Mountaineers are well known for their mountain music style. Don Rigsby and the Fly-by-Nights followed with more of the old style mountain music. Rigsby weaves a musical story that leaves his audience in awe. Guitar master Booie Beach joined the Fly-by-Nights in the evening set. Larry Stephenson is celebrating 30 years leading his band. He has a group of the best young musicians surrounding him. Larry takes the crowd for a 30 year ride in his performances. Nothin’ Fancy closed out the Friday show with their great music and some on-stage shenanigans.

The Saturday show kicked off with another EMS tradition – an acapella version of the National Anthem by these four gals. Bandana Rhythm came in from North Carolina to entertain the crowd. The band is Nathan Stewart, former mandolin player in the Little Roy and Lizzy Show, his fiancé Rachel Hopson, and her brothers. They provide a high energy show. Next up was Alligator Alley. They are a Florida family band that is well known throughout the state. Brad Hudson teamed up with Darrel Webb to provide two sets of classic country music. Darrell followed up with one of the final performances of the Darrell Webb Band. Darrell is now part of the Appalachian Road Show.

Balsam Range closed out the festival. They were joined by Zeb Snyder. He is one of the young guitar wizards. Darrell Webb joined in on the fun with his electric guitar. What a jam!

The cameras are headed north for the rest of the year. Next stop is the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival on March 29 and 30. Please join Joe Mullins and his family at this great indoor festival.

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