Chris Smith highlights young grassers at the 2017 Mansfield Jamfest – photo © Bill Warren
Saturday at the Mansfield Jamfest was another perfect weather day for an outdoor festival in Ohio. Chris Smith kicked off the day with his kid’s performance. Chris is working toward the future of bluegrass music by showcasing these youngsters.
MC, Chris Hill introduced South 79 from western Pennsylvania. They presented sets of music from the Jimmy Martin era. Band leader, Hershel Blevins, is a Sunny Mountain Boy alum. Vertical Limit came to the stage next providing the audience with traditional bluegrass music. Host band, Caney Creek, was up next. They are rapidly becoming a force in bluegrass music. Acoustic Edge is a country group that gives the crowd classic country music. They closed out the late show in rocking fashion.
Nostalgia took over part of the day. The Grascals filled in for the ailing Russell Moore. Singer John Bryan is on his honeymoon, so the Grascals needed a singer. Jamie Johnson answered the call. The Grascals sang some of Jamie’s music that they have not done since his departure 2 ½ years ago. Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers were joined by band founder, 87 years young Ed (Beanpole) Efaw for a couple songs during the afternoon set. Chris Smith was the banjo player for the Mountaineers for nearly 20 years. He and Beanpole had running jokes for the whole time that Chris was in the band. They reprised The Cabbage Head song to the great delight of the audience.
Two young men joined Caney Creek on stage in the evening. They are visiting from Tahiti. They explained that they listened to a Flatt & Scruggs record years ago and were bitten by the bluegrass bug. They go by the band name The Froggy Mountain Brothers. They are Laurent and Robin Hollinger.
Chris topped off the evening by reading names of people that have passed from cancer, and a list of those who are survivors. He then fulfilled a part of the festival mission by presenting a check to a needy family that is going through the tough times that cancer can bring.
Chris told me that he is already working on next year. Plan on joining in the fun August 23-25, 2018!