Ralph II at the Life Church in Eustis, FL

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys at Life Church in Eustis, FL – photo © Bill Warren

Deano Graham has a small church in Eustis, Florida called Life Church, and Deano hosts Bluegrass Family Nights there.

The venue is one of those special places that are very intimate and allows for a great audience experience.

Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys were the featured entertainment Sunday evening. 

The Stanley sound is in good hands. I have discussed Ralph II and Stanley Efaw previously, so let’s talk about the rest of the band. Caleb Shifflett is a superior guitar picker. This has always been a signature of the Clinch Mountain Boys. Landon Fitzpatrick comes as close to the Dr. Ralph Stanley banjo style as anyone can. He is also a banjo builder and is currently working on a series of Stanley anniversary banjos. Randall Hibbitts is the grease that keeps the band operating smoothly. He drives the bus and the bass. The small venue allowed everyone to see and hear how a top flight band works together.

CJ McClellan joined the band for a tune in the second set. He is working hard to get more bluegrass in Florida.

Deano’s band, Grand Wagon Revival, gave the audience a set of bluegrass gospel during the intermission. Deano was joined by some of Florida’s top musicians. Gabriel Acevedo plays fiddle. He fronts Remedy Tree. Billy Swinson is a top notch mandolinist. Isaac Taylor has played banjo in a number of Florida bands. Deano’s son rounds out the group on bass.

Deano has a goal of expanding Bluegrass Family Nights to include jamming along with stage shows.

Now it’s on to a week of college softball before going to the EMS Spring Fest at the Florida Sands Ranch.

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