Jeff White and Laura Weber Cash (3/12/17) – photo by Amy Richmond
Sunday March 12, 2017 saw the joyous wedding of musicianers Laura Weber Cash and Jeff White at Luton’s Methodist Church on the Old Springfield Pike in Goodlettsville, TN, just north of Nashville metro limit. Officiant was Pastor Jerry McAnulty.
Both the bride and groom are well-established artists within the Nashville community. Jeff is currently mandolinist with The Earls Of Leicester, and has worked previously with Alison Krauss & Union Station, Vince Gill and many others. Laura is a champion fiddler who has performed with Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, and several other country acts.
This church, and neighborhood, knows how to do weddings for bluegrassers! Other celebrants down through the years have included Mr. and Mrs. Mike Armistead (Tennessee Mafia Jug Band), Mr. and Mrs. Rob McCoury, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Bowman.
The weather was great, and the congregation was described as exuding “much love and joy,” “the sweetest, magical spirit,” and, in the words of the glowing bride, “like nothing I’ve ever felt before”.
Well-known pickers and singers helped out with the ceremony. The Chieftains harpist Triona Marshall played while the congregation was being seated. She was joined by Matt Malloy with his flute, and then all The Chieftains performed Give Me Your Hand in lieu of the traditional bridal march. Vince Gill sang When Love Finds You; during which Jeff turned to Laura and said ‘I’m going to sing with him,” to which Laura replied “Please do!” The Earls of Leicester went decidedly off the Flatt & Scruggs songbook with George Jones’ Walk Through This World With Me. Two fine fiddlers attended the bridge and groom — Sherry McKenzie was Laura’s Maid of Honor, and Michael Cleveland was Jeff’s Best Man. The Chieftains played the newlyweds out.
The party moved a few rods down the road to Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge, or “the old store” (all recently spruced up for the reception) at the residence of Mike and Michelle Armistead, where a huge tent was pitched. Laura wore her beautiful custom-made wedding dress throughout the meal and during the pickin’ inside the old store that continued into the night. Too much fun was being had to waste time changing. Her old pal and fiddle teacher, guitarist Joey McKenzie from Burleson, TX (of the Western Flyers) gave the official toast.
The pickin’ that followed was “epic.” Jeff and Laura, wielding guitar and fiddle, sat at the poles of the pickin’ circle, surrounded by friends and family. A notable number was San Antonio Rose featuring Buck White, with Laura and Jeff harmonizing. Jeff and Ronnie McCoury dedicated their performance of Our Love Never Dies to Mike and Michelle Armistead in memory of Mike’s parents Linda and Lester. Laura played Benny Martin fiddle tunes like Old Fiddler Waltz and Shave and a Haircut in spite of her pretty wedding manicure. The list of participating musicians is literally too long to report.
Late in the evening (and about sundown? no, probably later than sundown), three dancers from the Chieftains’ troupe, Cara Butler and the Pilatzke Brothers, Jon & Nathan, took to the boards for a ROUSING old-time Irish/Canadian step-dance to “the greatest of all…Jenny Lynn.” It’s easy to watch and listen to this and think back to the 1920s when Uncle Pen and little Willie Monroe did the same in Rosine, KY. (NOTE TO IBMA: Bluegrass needs more dancing again.) Videos and photos are cropping up on YouTube.
The Irishers dancing to Jenny Lynn (joined by exuberant West Virginian Lisa McCoury, who cuts a mean rug herself) “blew it up” for the evening, according to Laura. Everyone felt “you can’t beat that!” and called it a night.
Mike and Michelle Armistead said “we were proud to continue the Armistead tradition of hosting pickin’s, for Jeff and Laura.” (This writer can attest that the word “legendary” applies to musical gatherings in the old store.)
To sum it up, attendees Bonita & Andy Cartoun of Newtown, CT said “Jeff and Laura’s wedding was an amazingly joyous day. Music, love and friendship on a beautiful Tennessee day on The Old Springfield Pike.”