Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival 2018

Paul Williams joins Joe Mullins at the November 2018 SOIMF – photo © Bill Warren

This past weekend saw what Tammy Mullins told me was the 29th edition of the March and November Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, held in the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio. Tammy is the “mechanic” that keeps the festival running smoothly. It goes down in the books as a memorable one.

Blake Williams again handled the MC responsibilities. Blake has become in demand as an MC. He has a deep catalog of bluegrass knowledge and an even “deeper” catalog of jokes!

Carolina Blue opened the show on Friday. They are one of North Carolina’s gems. 2018 IBMA Momentum award winner, Aynsley Porchak, is featured on the fiddle. Darin and Brooke Aldridge brought their band to the SOIMF stage to the appreciation of the audience. Brooke is the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year for IBMA. Special Consensus was up next. Greg Cahill has kept Special C on the road for over 40 years. They have the current IBMA Album of the Year, Rivers and Roads. The Grascals followed  Special Consensus. The Grascals have won many awards in the course of both the band’s career and individual musician’s careers. Kristin Scott Benson is the current Steve Martin Banjo Award winner.

Host band, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, took the stage prior to the supper break. The band has the latest IBMA Song of the Year, If I’d Have Wrote that Song. Joe invited Ohio Governor-elect Mike DeWine to join the Radio Ramblers on stage. He gave a brief speech and thanked Joe for his help during the campaign. The Governor-elect was there for a reason entirely unknown to Joe. He read and presented the “Humble and Kind Proclamation” to Joe. Information on the Humble and Kind Proclamation says in part: “The people receiving this are never told in advance. They are surprised, usually in front of family, friends, and people who care about them. It is an award to let them know that they have made a difference in the community.” Ohio State Representative Rick Perales has joined the effort and usually participates in the presentation. He was unable to be present, so the Governor-elect read the following Proclamation:

“On behalf of the Members of the House of Representatives of the 132nd General Assembly of Ohio, I am pleased to honor Joe Mullins for your devotion and selfless service to your community. Your kindness and generosity have made a lasting impression not only on yourself, but your family, friends, and neighbors. Your reach is visible in every corner of the community from your work with the Missionary Baptist Church, to your work with dozens of charities and fundraisers. You have left an impact on your community, and the selflessness you exemplify is apparent in every single endeavor. You take comfort in knowing that those around you have benefited immeasurably from your unyielding support to our local Veterans, and the vigor you have gifted with your music. Please allow me to offer my sincerest gratitude for your continued service to Fairborn and beyond. Your dedication and passion reflect great credit upon yourself, your community, and The State of Ohio.”

Rick Perales, State Representative, 73rd Ohio House District.

Bluegrass legend, Paul Williams, joined Joe to present some of Paul’s music to the ecstatic SOIMF crowd. Paul was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame in late September. Paul continues has amazing sing and song writing career.

Saturday brought more of the same. Joe Mullins, his family, and the Radio Ramblers’ families hosted a fundraiser breakfast. The fundraiser was for the IBMA Trust Fund, which helped the bluegrass community to the tune of $60,000 in the past year. Joe told me that close to two thousand dollars was raised. Donations were made at the door and there were “tip jars” on the tables. Tips allowed a person to make a request. Joe and his band were the servers. Jason and Randy served the biscuits and gravy. Joe and Duane poured coffee. No one was quite sure what Mike Terry was doing, but the ladies were putting dollar bills in his apron!!

Paul Williams and Bradley Walker sang a tune for the crowd. Pastor Joe from Monroe, Michigan brought a bag of turnips for Joe – and also a generous donation. It was a fun morning for everyone that participated.

The show was opened by The Garrett Newton Band. Garrett is a young man from North Carolina that has been mentored by Lorraine Jordan. The band has a good repertoire of traditional bluegrass music. Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper followed. Michael is once again the reigning IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year. This is his 11th time winning the award. Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road brought “Truegrass” to the Roberts Centre Stage. Lorraine is known as the “Lady of Tradition”.  

Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson, and Bradley Walker provided two sets of original music. They put on a performance that is a must see for all lovers of bluegrass and true country music. Joe Mullins brought the Radio Ramblers for a second performance on Saturday. Home court can be a great advantage, but it can also be a challenge. Joe and his band are definitely up to the challenge. Flatt Lonesome closed out the show with what is probably the best sibling harmony in bluegrass music.

Please join the camera for Christmas in the Smokies in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on Dec 5-8.