Larry Sparks at the 2019 Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies – photo by Melanie Wilson
The final day of Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies was an all star event that included a huge finale.
Saturday started off with well attended-instrument workshops in the morning at the convention center, followed by an uplifting and powerful bluegrass Gospel set from The King James Boys. The “Boys” wowed the audience with their uptempo, driving style complete with seamless harmonies.
Next to the stage was festival favorite, Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset. Many were heard saying, this was the best band Frances has ever had. They debuted a lot of new music from their forthcoming album and put on an amazing show.
The late afternoon audience enjoyed sets from Dewey & Leslie Brown, their first time at Christmas in the Smokies, and surely it won’t be their last. Then came the highly entertaining Gary Waldrep Band, who is a frequent flyer of this event, and looked forward to by the audience each time they’re on the lineup.
The family band Williamson Branch is always a delight to see not only for the obvious musical talent, but because the bluegrass community has been witnessing the young Williamson girls grow up. One could hear people saying, “can you believe how much Caroline has grown this year?” Their appearance was made even more special this year when all of the ladies, Mom, Debbie, and daughters, Melody, Kadence, and Caroline were inducted into the Daughters of Bluegrass.
Following supper break and standing in for the customary Paul Williams show, The King James Boys came back for another warmly received set expressing their excitement to perform there for the first time, and their honor to fill in for Williams.
Host band, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road were up next and delivered a stellar show for the crowd. It was full of great music, laughter, and a few tears during a song dedication to Lorraine’s mother, Janice. Lorraine also announced the newest full time addition to her band, North Carolina singer and guitar player, Allen Dyer.
When the legendary Larry Sparks took the stage to entertain everyone with his vast catalogue, you could hear many requests being yelled from the audience. We all enjoyed some of our favorite tunes from Larry and he shared some stories that brought us smiles and laughter.
The finale was nothing short of star studded, kicked off by Danny and Ryan Paisley, with members of Carolina Road. The stage welcomed return visits from members of the Daughters of Bluegrass, the Garrett Newton Band, Larry Efaw, Gary Waldrep, The King James Boys and Dewey & Leslie Brown. Each act performed a song and they all ended with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road’s huge hit, Why Can’t Bluegrass Just Be True Grass Again.
Another successful Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies is in the books and fans were already lining up at the hotel counter booking their rooms for next year and reserving their coveted seats as each day of events wound down. Another fantastic lineup is planned for next year. Follow the festival on Facebook and get your tickets online.