Bluegrass Corner


Summergrass. Wow, what a great Summergrass weekend! Many of us look forward to the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival all year long, and 2016’s event took the town by storm over the weekend of August 19-21. The weather was perfect, warm with cool breezes, the food service was excellent, as were the workshops, jamming, and other activities. The music—ah, the music—was stellar!

The Gibson Brothers are at the very top of the bluegrass game and they showed it, wowing the crowds in a number of mainstage shows. Lee and Eric Gibson sing brother harmonies as well as anyone, including the Louvin Brothers, the Everly Brothers, and other great brother duos of the past. Complemented by mandolin player of the year Jesse Brock and standout young fiddler Clayton Campbell, and anchored by one of the finest bass players in the business, Mike Barber, this group is really top notch. On top of that, they pen some excellent original material. Look for a new record release on Rounder Records in early 2017 featuring all original material.

It was also great to see David Parmley and his new band—Cardinal Tradition—deliver complex, beautiful, harmonies. David, when he was but a teenager, with his Dad Don Parmley (now deceased) anchored the Bluegrass Cardinals, a top group of the 1970s and ’80s. The Bluegrass Cardinals released several classic records, visited the White House, and rode a huge wave of popularity. Some local old timers like me may remember seeing them perform at the Old Time Cafe in Leucadia when they were on the rise, when David was about 14. It is great to see David and his tight new group carry on that tradition.

Summergrass also brought Bluegrass Etc., perennial favorites Rocky Neck Bluegrass, and more regional and local bands, as well as the traditional kid’s performance featuring youngsters who studied in the three-day Kids Camp, performing on stage with their instructors. Many of us will be basking in the glow of Summergrass 2016 through the long winter, anticipating next year’s event in August 2017.

Check out the great photos Dennis Andersen took on page 15 of the print version!

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