Thursday at the 2019 Sertoma Bluegrass Festival

Ivy Phillips, Rebekah Long, and Jaelee Roberts at the Spring Sertoma Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren

Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I went to bed to the strains of a group of jammers. Guess who ushered in the Thursday jamming?? Yep – some of the same group was up and going strong by mid-morning. It is always fun to be around a group of people who thoroughly enjoy their music.

The Sertoma Youth Ranch Spring Bluegrass Festival kicked off the Thursday show with some classic country music from Ernie Evans, Jr Davis, Rodney Parker, and Booie Beach. Booie was the lead guitar player for Larry Cordle for many years.

The day’s show was headlined by three Nashville-area bluegrass bands. First up was the Rebekah Long Band. Rebekah is stepping out on her own after a number of years working with Little Roy and Lizzy, and Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike. Promoter Ernie Evans was a member of Liberty Pike during Rebekah’s time there. He joined the band on stage for a couple tunes in the evening set. Long has been joined by two of the really strong young musicians coming out of the Nashville scene. First is 17 year old Jaelee Roberts, daughter of the Grascals’ founding member, Danny Roberts, and musician/booking agent Andrea Roberts. Jaelee is a multi-instrumentalist and top notch singer. She is joined by 16 year old Ivy Phillips, who has won numerous instrument competitions. She and Jaelee switch back and forth with mandolin and fiddle. They also do some twin fiddling. This is an up and coming band that we will all see and hear more of in the future.

At the end of the first set MC Jo Odom once again placed Les Sears’ hat on the stage to honor his memory.

Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys were up next. Donna is an IBMA Songwriter of the year, and her music showcases her talents. She has created one of the best shows on the bluegrass music circuit. Every song has special meaning to Donna, and she conveys that to her audience. Gail Pike was invited up on stage to do one of Donna’s songs, Back Home Feeling Again. Be sure to see her show when she visits your area.

The Grascals finished out the day in true Grascal fashion. Jamey Johnson was filling in for the ailing Terry Eldredge. Joey Lazio joined the band and he and Danny Roberts played twin Sorenson mandolins. The Grascals are celebrating 15 years as one of the bluegrass world’s premier bands. Adam Haynes and Kristin Benson did give us pause at one point. I wonder if Kristin is taking up a new instrument????

Friday brings the mountain sounds of Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers and the Don Rigsby Band, the high lonesome sound of the Larry Stephenson Band, and the high energy of Nothin’ Fancy.

Saturday gives the audience Bandana Rhythm, Alligator Alley, Brad Hudson, Darrell Webb, and Balsam Range.

Please join us for good music and good times.

Support your local music venues.