Mid-Michigan Bluegrass and Folk Jam Series

Cedar Creek Bluegrass at the Mid-Michigan Bluegrass and Folk Jam Series – photo © Bill Warren

The Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing, Michigan hosts the Mid-Michigan Bluegrass and Folk Jam Series monthly from the fall through the late spring. This is a free event due to the generous sponsorship of Granger Waste Services and Elderly Instruments.

The series is held in a beautifully refurbished barn on the nature center site. The lower level is set up for jamming and the upper level for stage performances.

This past Sunday was the final jam of the series year. It featured three acts on the upper level.

The first act was long-time Michigan folk/bluegrass artist Joel Mabus. Joel provides the stories behind the songs that he writes in his own wry way. Joel loves to entertain children at schools. He takes all of his instruments so the kids can hear the different sounds – even his kazoo! He gave this old picture taker a trip down memory lane as I first heard him at the Wheatland Music Festival at least 40 years ago.

Next up was a rising singer songwriter from the Lansing area, Jessey Adams. She has just returned from Nashville where she did some songwriting and performing. She does her original music along with older country favorites. Remember her name. You will see it in lights before long.

The final group was Cedar Creek Bluegrass featuring eleven year old Dante Flores. First – about the band. Cedar Creek Bluegrass was formed in the mid-nineties by Delmer (Bosco) Hackworth. The current lineup has Hackworth on guitar and vocals, Billie Irvine on banjo and vocals, Dave Howard on mandolin, and Mark Prater on bass and vocals. In Billie’s words: “We are Dante’s backup band today.” He switched over to bass and Dante was the featured banjo player.

Now about Dante – His passion for banjo started when he was eight years old. He is now eleven and a student of Kristen Scott Benson. He has been selected to attend the Béla Fleck banjo camp for the second time. His family makes every effort to get him to all of the Michigan jams and performances that they can. He did a full set of music with Cedar Creek, and did it very well. Billie said it best when he said that the music is in good hands. Younger brother, Ryker, has taken up the mandolin. He will be a good one also. Keep an eye out for these youngsters. They will make waves in the bluegrass world!

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