When the audience at Randy Wood’s Concert Hall awaited the start of the Vassar Clements and Tony Rice concert back in December of 2004, they had every expectation of seeing a fabulous performance. Some may have known that the show was being recorded, and some others that it would be shot for a concert DVD release. Not many may have considered that, while all of those things were true, it would also come to pass that those would be among the very last live recordings that Vassar would make prior to his passing in August of ’05.
Also performing with Tony and Vassar that night were Scott Vestal on banjo, Tony Williamson on mandolin, and Warren Amberson on bass and lead vocals. Vassar’s cousin Carol Clements also was featured as a vocalist on the program.
While the DVD release may be some months yet, the audio CD is now available. Entitled, Vassar Clements, Tony Rice and the Low Country All-Star Band, this new live disc was released by a company Randy Wood formed for this purpose, which he calls Flatt Mountain Records.
The 12 live tracks include a number of Vassar’s signature tunes, like Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Kissimee Kid and Billy In The Lowground plus Rice staples Salt Creek, Wayfaring Stranger and Toy Heart (with Carol singing lead). Scott Vestal’s impressive take on Earl Scrugg’s Groundspeed starts the CD, which also features the band’s version of some popular bluegrass classics like Dark Hollow, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight (both sung by Warren), and Bill Monroe’s Wheel Hoss, which closes the set.
This is one that fans of either Vassar Clements or Tony Rice will want to add to their collection, which will also surely be a welcome addition to any bluegrass lover’s library. The CD can be ordered online, but no audio samples are up at this point. We’ll keep an eye out and post back should they become available.
Randy hopes to service bluegrass radio as his time allows, but will surely send out CDs to radio hosts upon request.