Continuing my thoughts on the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, Wilmington, Ohio from yesterday. I was glad to see that younger players were in evidence at the festival. I think it is interesting that Joe Mullins (promoter/producer) has chosen to admit young people 16 and under free with a parent. I think this is genius. Folks, if children aren’t exposed to bluegrass they won’t know what it is. There is plenty of other music blaring from the MTV, radio, the internet, and other sources; but we may be the only advocate of bluegrass music a child knows. It’s our job to educate our children about their heritage. It takes only a minute to mention a little on the history of the music we enjoy, and some of it might stick.
In that same vein, I had almost forgotten what I like most about old time and folk music until Friday when I saw Leroy Troy. He took pains to explain the history of some songs, telling a little about the time it was written in, and relating it to the times. Although bluegrass artists often mention the writer of a song, there is precious little history passed along. That’s probably partly because most bluegrass fans also play the music, and may know and/or investigate the history themselves. It may also be because there is not much about the history and content of many bluegrass songs that the audience doesn’t already know. Anyway, I miss hearing about music as it is being played.
The first thing Saturday morning there was a set billed as, “Banjo Jam with Joe Mullins and Friends”. It was interesting to see that the banjo jam turned out to be a Joe and kids session. Children respond well to Joe, and he knows a little about them. I have noticed that about musical families, the generations relate to each other through a common interest, and it’s not always about getting the garbage out, or mowing the lawn. Fuel for thought.
Anyway, here are a few pictures from that part of the show:
It did my heart good to see Danny Paisley and Southern Grass hit the stage at Wilmington. I’m a big fan of Danny, and I sure wish I could see the band more often. As I told him, “I written your name on the survey six time, and I’m glad to see you here.” A lot of times, the audience needs to be won over to this group, but that wasn’t the case Saturday. Everyone seemed to love them from the first note played. They got a standing ovation and encore in the evening. A great moment for the band.
If you haven’t see Danny in a while, you’ll be amazed at the progress being made by Donnie Eldreth. That boy is really belting them out these days.
Other performers on Saturday were Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, The Grascals, Nothin Fancy and Leroy Troy. You’ve already see enough of Leroy, so here are the Radio Ramblers.
The Grascals did their usual high energy show. Jamie Johnson’s parents were in the audience, and wondered why Papa was taking their photo!
Nothin’ Fancy is an audience pleaser. They manage to change their show enough to keep it interesting, and it’s entertainment. A lot of folks commented about how much they appreciated a little fun. Chris Sexton (fiddle) was doing a little singing. In my opinion, he’s a good singer. Mitchell Davis (banjo) is a card, sometimes I wonder how he keeps a straight face through his antics.
And then there was Doyle, who arrived on the scene for one show on Saturday evening. There was no fiddle player in sight, he said that Alan Johnson will be rejoning the band soon. Since Josh Swift was on Dobro, there was no dead air. Doyle’s show was up to snuff, even great. The amazing thing about the man is how he can take a collection of musicians and singers and come up with exactly what he wants time after time. His sound and quality are mostly unaffected by band member changes. And he know how to select and arrange music.
So, that’s my short take on Southern Ohio this year. We had a blast. The music was wonderful, the crowd was good, the event was well organized and a good time was had by all. If you live within range, check out next spring’s show on Joe’s website, and be there! You can also see more of Papa’s pictures here.