Granny Pam

Granny Tells You What's Going On
  • .: Welcome :.

    I have found enough energy to hop over here and spruce the joint up a little.

    Papa will be retiring at the end of February, and we may have more adventures to document. Or not. But I wanted to be ready!
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    Detour Bluegrass in Cadillac on Saturday May 8

    Posted By on May 7, 2010

    On Saturday, May 8, 2010 Detour Bluegrass will appear as part of the Gopherwood Concert Series in Cadillac, MI. Gopherwood concerts are held in the Cadillac Elks, 122 S. Mitchell St. There is parking in the rear near the elevator. According to the series website:

    At this time our online ticket sales have been suspended due to technical difficulties. We apologize for the inconvenience. Advance tickets can be purchased at Toy town in downtown Cadillac, or by calling 231-775-2813. Also, we have changed our ticket price structure. Student prices are now for kids age 13-20. Children 12 and under are FREE. We hope this will encourage you to come out to a Gopherwood show, and also help introduce your children to a wide variety of great music.

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    Detour, L-R Peter Knupfer, Kevin Gaugier, Jeff Rose, Zak Bunce, Scott Zylstra
    photo from Pickin on CF, © 2009 CandidPix.info

    Detour is an excellent band, one of few Michigan based outfits currently receiving national airplay and chart action on an album. Detour recently added singer/guitarist Missy Armstrong to their line-up, and we are anxious to hear her with the group.

    You can hear music from the latest Detour CD on their MySpace page.

    Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike in Holland, Ohio Friday Night

    Posted By on May 6, 2010

    Val Smith packs a ton of energy and power into her performances. She will appear with her band Liberty Pike Friday night at the Springfield High School Theater, Holland, Ohio. Showtime is 7 p.m. The address of the school is: 1470 S. McCord Rd., Holland, OH 43528.

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    Valerie plays music that pushes beyond traditional bluegrass; her music which is pleasing and surprising and a nice sort of way.

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    The current members of her band are (L-R) the beautiful and talented Rebekah Long, the fabulous Becky Buller, and the equally talented but not quite as beautiful Ernie Evans. Kentucky Border, A band featuring Ernie’s brother Gil Evens on bass, will open the show.

    Nothin’ Fancy at the Oakland Community College Bluegrass Series

    Posted By on April 22, 2010

    Nothin’ Fancy (www.nothinfancybluegrass.com) hits the stage at Lila Jones Theater, Oakland Community College, Royal Oak Campus Friday, April 22, 2010. Although there is another concert remaining in the series, this will be the last bluegrass performance in Royal Oak this year. The May appearance by J.D. Crowe will be on the Waterford campus.

    We first saw Nothin’ Fancy years ago at Jekyll Island, when they were a more regional band. Hard work and persistence has brought them to wider audiences. More recently, the group appeared at the City of Auburn Hills festival in September, 2009, where this photo was taken.

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    Nothin’ Fancy adds a little humor to some powerful playing and singing in their shows. I hope you will be able to come out a support this fine concert series on Friday.

    The Steve Martin Banjo Road Show

    Posted By on April 22, 2010

    Papa and I headed out to the Max M. Fisher Music Center on Monday to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The performance title, An Evening of Bluegrass and Banjo, fit the event perfectly.

    Photography is not allowed at the Max, although you wouldn’t have known it by watching the crowd. Papa left his cameras at home, so we enjoyed the show, and watched others take cameras out of their pockets and purses to take photos. The crowd included at least a couple of Steve Martin fans, a guy with a white suit and an arrow “through” his head, and another guy with Martin bunny ears.

    To be sure, I am not a Steve Martin fan; perhaps it is most accurate to say that I am neutral on stand up comedy. I am also not a movie gore, so I know little about Martin beyond his latest CD, The Crow, a TV appearance with Earl Scruggs, and a quick look at his show at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards Show last October. OK, I also know he reads and sometimes posts on a bluegrass discussion list I belong to. I am, however, a huge Steep Canyon Rangers fan; we once parked our motor home in downtown Ann Arbor in order to attend a Rangers show at The Ark.

    I purchased Martin’s CD before it was re-released by a major label, because it was a banjo CD, with a impressive list of supporting musicians. Perhaps there was a little curiosity involved in that purchase decision, too. The CD is pleasing, contains a variety of music which is well played and fun to listen to. It is a good CD, but not a bluegrass CD. The same thing applies to the show Steve and the Rangers presented Monday in Detroit. It was a good, entertaining show, which contained some bluegrass music. People who believe bluegrass music is the only music would probably not enjoy it as much as I did.

    One thing for sure, Steve Martin can play the banjo, and play it well. He plays a frailing style, and also a three-finger “Scruggs” style which is used in bluegrass. I like the mellow sound of an open backed banjo, as well as bluegrass style so the variety of music played on the show was pleasing to me. The show contained music from Martin’s CD, from the Steep Canyon Ranger’s catalog, and a couple of new songs. Within the first few songs Woody Platt was called upon to sing Daddy Played the Banjo, my favorite song from The Crow, which was sung on the CD by Tim O’Brien. Platt has a distinctive voice almost attacking the mic, and packing quite a punch in his vocals. I found Woody’s version quite pleasing, and Martin’s banjo made the song, just as it does on the recorded version.

    There were jokes, the most notable of which was the new “Toyota Banjo”, which just kept going faster and faster until someone stopped it. I was still trying to figure out when Toyota started making banjos and why anyone would play one (when great banjos with familiar makers are readily available) when the punch line came. No, I am not slow, just not used to comedy, OK?

    The Rangers did three songs while Martin took a break, the last one was the wonderful Wade Mainer song, I Can’t Sit Down. I couldn’t stay seated when that one ended. As often happens at non-bluegrass events, and I was not suspired that the only song the audience seemed to know was the Orange Blossom Special, on which Nicky Sanders did his usual awesome job on to end the show. There were two curtain calls, and the show finally did end with Martin’s comedy song, King Tut.

    Martin brings the five string banjo and it’s music to a wide audience, may of whom have never seen bluegrass or old time band play. I happen to believe that the wider exposure is a boost to the great music that I love. A wonderful evening, I am glad we had the opportunity to attend.

    Bean Blossom Website

    Posted By on April 22, 2010

    Somehow Bean Blossom’s domain registration lapsed, and has been grabbed by a cybersquatter, who is offering it for sale for an unreasonable profit.

    Bean Blossom has two new web addresses. They hope you can visit them at one of their new addresses and get more information our upcoming festivals including the Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival June 12-19, 2010 www.billmonroemusicpark.com and www.billmonroesbeanblossom.com.

    Thanks to Cybergrass for this heads up.

    Bring It On!

    Posted By on April 19, 2010

    Spring is the most beautiful time in Michigan, and also a time of much fun and work for gardeners. I am not a “real” gardener, but I do enjoy my flowers, and we get a lot of good out of our vegetable garden.

    I started a few plants vegetable indoors this year, and now I am not sure that was the best idea. I do not really have room for them, or at least room for them away from the cats. They are hanging on, so perhaps I will have something out of them to plant. In this area, Memorial Day is the safe planting date for tender plants like peppers and tomatoes, but I will be setting cabbage and broccoli soon.

    On the flower front, my daffodils are finished, but the tulips are really in their glory. I remember how hard it was for me to cut the sod out and add the border for the flower bed on the south side of the house. Finally GS2 helped with the last of the sod. I believe it was three or four years ago, and now the work is really beginning to pay off.

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    The tulips are wonderful this year, I believe it is their 3rd year, but it might be the second. The daisies are really set in good, and doing wonderfully. You can see it has been an early spring, the peonies are huge, I actually tied them up yesterday. A close look had me thinking of mother again.

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    Long before the flower bed, she and S-dad went over to Holland (Michigan) for the Tulip Festival. They had a wonderful time, and she brought me a couple of bulbs back. They are fancy, not plain like I planted in bulk several years back. Last year I met to mark and move the bulbs to a spot farther away from the peonies, and forgot. This year for sure!

    Tonight is the Steep Canyon Rangers/Steve Martin show at the Max Fisher Theater in Detroit. I am really excited about this show, hope it lives up to my expectations.

    RIP Gerald Evans

    Posted By on April 12, 2010

    We always just called him Gerald, and we saw him playing in bands, and with his own band, for a number of years. He was a great fiddle player, had an eye for talent, and we once saw him exhibit the patience of a saint. We later saw his father playing the fiddle and realized where some of his musical talent hat come from.

    Gerald Eugene Evans, Jr. died over the weekend, after a battle with cancer.

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    We last saw Gerald in March, 2009 at Wilmington, Ohio, where he was playing with Don Rigsby and Midnight Call.

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    That day, Gerald preformed his song, “Old Rocking Chair”, which has also been recorded by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers on their new Rebel Release, Rambler’s Call.

    We will miss Gerald.

    Joe Mullins Presents the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival

    Posted By on April 2, 2010

    Joe Mullins produces a wonderful music festival, in March and November of each year. The line-up features top bands and musicians, and the venue is also top-notch. Today I am featuring Summertown Road, which opened the show on Friday, March 26, 2010.

    Summertown Road’s newest member, Zach Rambo is a good addition to the group. He can sing lead and harmony, and does a great job on mandolin. We will be looking forward to seeing him with the group in the future.

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    Zach Rambo

    This is a band with no weak link. I always enjoy seeing Jack Hicks; it brings back good memories of him on stage with Conway Twitty, just a few year ago. Did I just tell my age?

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    Although Jack usually plays the banjo with Summertown road, he can play any of the instruments on stage, and probably some that are not there.

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    Here is Bo Elvis, aka Bo Isaac.

    It is hard to get a good photo for the bass player in the back, but he came out front on a few this time!

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    Randy Thomas.

    Bluegrass Music, Get it!

    Posted By on March 29, 2010

    We spend a great weekend down at Joe Mullins’ fabulous Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival. If anyone needs to know how to run a show, they need look no farther that that fine example, or any of the Adams & Anderson presentations. Today I am concentrating on an overview Southern Ohio festival. Papa is working on his pictures, and I will to do a quick review of each band’s performances later this week, when I can illustrate with them.

    Central to the Festival’s success is the nice facility; the Roberts Centre is a roomy conference center. I have never waited in line at the woman’s rest room, something I cannot say that for any other entertainment event that I have attended over the years. There is sufficient parking, and overnight RV parking is free. Although it is not a campground, but complementary parking is a real nice feature. The attached hotel, a Holiday Inn, fills up fast, but there are a variety of hotels in all price ranges located in the area.

    Although the room where the music is presented has super high ceilings (think gym), the sound crew does a good job of controlling the echo. The good result comes from several year’s experience in the building, and a desire to satisfy the festival’s customers. Mr. Mullins told us that the sound crew spent an entire day in the rafters, using lasers and aiming the speakers to minimize problems, and maximize sound distribution.

    Next to the music area another room contains vendors, artists product tables, and a snack bar; with tables allowing room to visit and eat. A separate room for jamming is located nearby, and there is jamming in halls after the show. A great recent addition is a buffet dinner just down the hall. We have enjoyed excellent food at a reasonable price, with quick service when we have elected to eat there. There is also a chain restaurant, Max & Erma’s, located in the adjacent Holiday Inn.

    Mr. Mullins serves as the MC for his own festivals. Although this might not be appropriate for all promoters, it is a perfect fit for Joe, who is one of several radio personalities on his four area radio stations. Joe’s band, The Radio Ramblers, also performs at each Festival. Wow! Imagine having the business Savoy to pull together two wonderful festivals each year, operate a broadcasting company, act as an MC, and also use what may be his most respected talent, playing that banjo and singing. Joe was member of the original Longview, along with James King, Dudley Cornell, Don Rigsby, Glen Duncan, and Marshall Wilborn. At that time many of us were impressed by his soaring tenor singing and ringing banjo, and nothing has changed there.

    This spring’s festival is history, but I recommend that you consider attending next November’s edition, November 11, 12 and 14.

    Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival

    Posted By on March 25, 2010

    There are a number of good reasons to be at the Roberts Centre, Wilmington, Ohio Friday and Saturday, March 26-27, 2010. It is the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, spring edition.

    Let me see, Doyle Lawson, Dailey & Vincent, James King, Summertown Road, Paul Williams, NewFound Road, Kenny and Amanda Smith and Larry Stephenson. Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers will also hit the stage. Joe acts as MC for his show, the each one we have attended has been superior.

    You’ve heard the hype, just give a little listen, and I know you will try to be there!

     

    See you there!