Doyle and Del play Palatka 2019

The Del McCoury Band at the February 2019 Palatka Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren

Whenever Doyle Lawson and Del McCoury appear on the same day at a festival – well just wow! That was the case on Friday at the February Palatka Bluegrass Festival.

The day started with a couple of open mic performances. The first couple represented the Oregon Bluegrass Association and provided several old time tunes. Geoffrey Keyes worked the stage despite losing an argument with a table saw. He told me: “The fingers are throbbing a little.”

Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith opened the stage show. They were short-handed due to some illnesses. Summer, Brayden, and a cousin of theirs soldiered on. The Dry Branch Fire Squad followed. Ron Thomason can explain things in a way that leaves the audience scratching their collective heads. Here’s the first story: The bass player had left the band at the end of the year due to serious illness in his family. Ron hired Adam McIntosh, former DBFS guitar player to be the bass player. Two weeks ago the banjo player had quadruple bypass and is out for a while. So, the bass player came back for a while and Adam is filling in on banjo. Imagine Ron telling this!!

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver were up next. Doyle has two new singers in the band, but the “Doyle Lawson sound” is alive and well. Doyle’s singing is as strong as he has in some time. Penny Creek is a band from Florida’s band east coast who are really coming into their own. They are playing a lot of local venues and working hard, and that hard work is paying dividends. Del McCoury closed out the day as only Del can. His catalog is as deep as it can be after some many years of producing hits.

Saturday opened with a Gospel sing hosted by Mike and Mary Rose Robinson. They present this at most of Norman Adams’ festivals. Gilbert Nelson was on hand to present Wernick Method jam classes. There were several open stage performances. Norman and Judy spend Saturday morning renewing reservations for next year’s festival.

The Dry Branch Fire Squad opened the stage show with another dose of Ron Thomason’s wit and wisdom. The Moron Brothers followed with good music and humorous shenanigans. The Malpass Brothers brought their vintage country music to the Palatka stage. Lardo from the Moron Brothers joined them to play bluesy harmonica in the evening show. Lizzy Long and Sally Berry joined Chris Malpass in the evening shows. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage closed out the festival. The crowd joined Rhonda in singing Happy Birthday to Hunter Berry. Rhonda is very likely the hardest working entertainer on the circuit. Every fan that wants it gets a picture with her or an autograph. Her shows are always top shelf.

Congratulations to Norman and Judy Adams for presenting another one of their great festivals.

The cameras are headed to the Florida Bluegrass Classic for the next week.

Support your local music venues!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.