Thursday at Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies held a number of its own surprises. NewTown kicked off the day’s entertainment with their edgy bluegrass music. They are preparing to go into the studio to record their next project. Mickey Galyean and Cullen’s Bridge followed, bringing traditional bluegrass to the stage. Alan Bibey and Grasstowne gave the audience full measure of Alan’s years of experience in the world of bluegrass music. Remington Ryde is doing a heavily James King themed show this year to celebrate their album honoring James.
Most bluegrass music followers know that Carolina Road lead singer, Tommy Long, has been in a year long battle with cancer. Lorraine Jordan has used fill-in singers for the year. Thursday evening featured two of the past lead singers, Brad Hudson and Jerry Butler, who took us back to their days with the band. As the band prepared for its encore, Tommy joined them on stage and gave the audience its biggest thrill of the night. He sang as strongly as ever. Tommy then took the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped out along the way with calls, cards, prayers, money, and encouragement. He thanked IBMA for a generous donation from the trust fund.
Tommy then made the statement that everyone has waited for: “I am cancer free!” Tommy, Lorraine, Carolina Road, and some of the festival staff joined the audience for a grand group picture. Lorraine said: “This is the largest Thursday evening crowd in the history of Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies!”
This has rapidly become a premier indoor winter festival. The festival is doing a 50-50 raffle each day to for the Tommy Long benefit. Thursday’s winner donated her winnings to the fund. Tommy and most of Carolina Road were able to join her for a picture. Lorraine and Carolina Road record with Pinecastle Records. Owner Lonnie Lassiter has been instrumental in helping Tommy through the past year. He joined Carolina Road to celebrate Tommy’s recovery. It was an evening of both smiles and tears of joy.
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver capped the evening with a super show that only added to the days good vibes.
Friday and Saturday shows begin at 11:00 a.m. with over a dozen great bands!