Sunday, January 21, 2018

JONI BISHOP
BRINGS IN THE HOLIDAYS
IN STYLE!
Olive Branch, MS   December 20, 2017
 
Richard and Mary's home in Olive Branch, MS
      IT TAKES MORE than a broken leg to stop JONI BISHOP! The talented Nashville, TN, artist and musician is automatically scheduled to play an annual invitation-only  Christmas house concert in Olive Branch, MS. So, several weeks before the appointed time, Joni is on a ladder at home cleaning out gutters. She falls, breaks her leg, goes into surgery, goes into rehab/physical therapy, and with the help of the host of the event, she makes it on time to the concert. That Joni is a trouper! Friends RICHARD and MARY, who host the event, figured that if Joni were feeling better and the doctor cleared her, Richard would drive to Nashville, load up Joni and her wheelchair, and bring her to Olive Branch. Following the concert, Richard took Joni and her wheelchair back to Nashville. Done! That's what friends are for!
Poinsettia and this way to the music
Joni chats with a fan
 
     The 75 or more guests were more than delighted to see and hear Joni again. It would not have been the same without her. Richard and Mary are splendid hosts who fill their home with decorations, food and beverages, and lots of carefully-placed chairs for the guests. Richard picked out a spot for a slightly-elevated stage for Joni, and after lots of visiting and chatter in the room, Joni is wheeled into place on the stage, seated in a chair, and she places the afore-mentioned leg on a beautiful red pillow. Let the games begin! Did we mention that there are red and green lights blinking and moving on the drapes, the ceiling and walls, and everywhere else? It's the spirit of the season!
 
Joni plays her cigar box banjo
Mom and child who is lighted up
     Joni Bishop doesn't just play and sing. She writes songs and gives everything a unique arrangement. She also paints,and makes instruments out of cigar boxes and anything else she can find and turn into something to make music. She displays samples of her work, along with several CDs that she has for sale.
     On this particular night, here are the songs that Joni played for the guests:  Little Drummer Boy, Endless Christmas (original), God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / Soul Cake (a counterpoint arrangement), Go Tell It on the Mountain, What Child Is This / Mary Did You Know, Toys (original), Somebody's Tallkin' 'Bout Jesus (cigar box instrument), Road to Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland, and Twelve Days of Christmas (with cue cards held up by young Parker and his friend). Pause for a brief intermission to enjoy food and spirits and chat some more.
Parker and his friend enjoying the music
Cue card girl--We needed her
 
Following the intermission, Joni resumed with Stone by Stone, Mary Had a Baby, Because of Christmas Day (drums found at the Goodwill Store), Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, We Three Kings, I Saw Three Ships, Christmas in the Trenches (John McCutcheon cover), It's Gonna Be All Right, I'll Fly Away, Silent Night (sung in Latvian [family originated in Latvia] and also in English), and Joy to the World (with audience participation). Oh! It's just the grandest time ever!
     Special thanks to Joni Bishop, Richard and Mary, and everyone else who pitches in annually to make the concert great!
 
Joni performing on her guitar

 

For more information:
Joni Bishop www.jonibishop.com Facebook and other social media
Albums we love: One Wondrous Star, Threads, and Steal Away Home
 


Saturday, January 20, 2018

 
CAROLING IN THE CAVERNS 
BLANCHARD SPRINGS, ARKANSAS--   
A Christmas Gift Like No Other!  
 
Blanchard Caverns
Christmas tree inside Visitor's Center
 
 
 
 

  
     CAROLING IN THE CAVERNSat the Visitor's Center in Blanchard Springs, Arkansas, truly is a Christmas gift like no other! We have been lucky enough to see the event probably more than we can count. We love the trip to Mountain View, AR, our stay at Pinewood Cabins, the caverns, our musical friends, the trip to JoJo's Catfish Wharf, and a favorite spot for breakfast called the Rainbow CafĂ©. We love all of that! We would be remiss if we failed to mention Dale, a ranger at Blanchard Springs who assists in our getting around while at the Visitor's Center. Thanks, Dale! And Mary Gillihan, too, who helped me to the bleachers in the cave.
 
View from porch at JoJo's
View from porch at JoJo's
      Contact the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce next holiday season and order tickets to a performance. The shows begin on Thanksgiving weekend and run through a few days before Christmas. The caverns themselves are millions of years old, and the scene inside is breathtaking!
 
Carolers L to R: Irl Hees, unknown photo bomber, Ron Haines, Matt Jones,
Pam Setser, Mary Gillihan, Robert Gillihan
 
     The carolers were decked out in Christmas finery, and their vocal and instrumental work were splendid as usual. Here are the names of those hard-working local musicians: Mary Gillihan (vocal), Robert Gillihan (guitar, vocal), Pam Setser (dulcimer, guitar, spoons, vocal), Ron Haines (guitar, vocal), Irl Hees (upright bass, vocal), and Matt Jones (vocal).
 

 
     This is the set list for that special Saturday afternoon: Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, For Unto You a Savior Is Born (Jesus Shall Be His Name), Do You Hear What I Hear, New Kid in Town, I Wonder as I Wander (Irl solo), Little Drummer Boy, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, God Rest Ye
Merry Gentlemen, Away in a Manger (with Robert Gillihan reading), Mary Did You Know, O Holy Night, Christmas Time's A-Comin', Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, Deck the Halls, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Ozark 12 Days of Christmas ("...and a possum in a gum tree"), Jingle Bells, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Silent Night, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
 
For more information:
Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce
Phone (Tickets/Information) 870.269.8068 or Toll Free 888.679.2859

MOLLY TUTTLE BRINGS IT  
TO CITY WINERY NASHVILLE  
November 30, 2017
L to R: Christian Sedelmyer, Molly Tuttle, Nat Smith
Royal Masat behind Molly
     IBMA GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR is an incredible honor for anyone! In 2017, the award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) went to a young woman named MOLLY TUTTLE (songwriter, guitar, banjo, clawhammer guitar, vocals), who arrived in Nashville by way of Santa Clara County, California , and her family's popular West Coast band called The Tuttles. Well, welcome, Molly!
Molly Tuttle on guitar with what
she calls one of her "cannons" from
Pre-War Guitar Company
Christian Sedelmyer, Molly Tuttle
Nat Smith, Royal Masat at back
     When we spotted her name on the calendar for City Winery Nashville, we knew we wanted to be there and to hear Molly and her friends, CHRISTIAN SEDELMYER (fiddle, vocals), NAT SMITH (cello) and ROYAL MASAT (bass).
L to R: Christian, Royal, Molly, Nat
L to R: Christian, Royal, Molly
     The lounge at City Winery is cozy and comfortable. The food and beverages, divine, and the evening with Molly, Christian, Nat, and Royal was over the top! The artists moved easily from one number to the next--expected from folks at this level who know their craft.
     Here is the selection of songs and tunes that we enjoyed: Some Days, Girl in My Shoes, Gentle on My Mind (John Hartford), You Didn't Call My Name, Old Man of the Mill (clawhammer guitar), Sit Back and Watch It Roll, Walden (Pond, couldn't get inside for a visit), Good Enough, Tall Buildings (John Hartford), My World Is Built Around You, Lightning in a Jar, Moonshiner (Peter Rowan), Bb Swedish tune (instrumental), Rain and Snow, White Freightliner, and the encore was Helpless.

L to R: Christian Sedelmyer, Royal Masat, Molly Tuttle, Nat Smith
 
Catch Molly and/or her friends any time you can. They are top-of-the-line!
 

For more information:
Molly Tuttle www.mollytuttlemusic.com  Facebook @mollytuttlemusic
Royal Masat  Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media 
Nat Smith www.nathanielsmithcello.com  Facebook @nathanielsmithcello and https://nathanielsmithcello.blogspot.com 

Friday, January 19, 2018

MINTON SPARKS INTRODUCES
STEPHANIE LAMBRING
TO FANS AT CITY WINERY
Nashville, TN  October 22, 2017
 
Minton Sparks
 
    
John Jackson
MINTON SPARKS
is noted for her stories about family and experiences she's had along the way. She sings, she buck dances a little, and she carries her hanky and the now-famous pocket book that figures into her routine. She also brings along her enormously talented guitarist to accompany her stories. JOHN JACKSON is an amazing instrumentalist whose work fits perfectly with Minton's stories. One more important thing that Minton does is that she introduces her fans to new artists that her fans may not have seen and heard. A real pro does that--brings the newer ones along and gives them a hand up.
Minton Sparks and John Jackson
 
     On the night that we were there, we had the chance to see and hear STEPHANIE LAMBRING who is originally from Seymour, Indiana. As it turns out, a special cousin of ours is also from
Seymour. He served the town as mayor and also as head of the Chamber of Commerce. We shouted for him and he came down to City Winery Nashville to have dinner and hear Stephanie perform. As for this writer, it was great to see all of them...Minton, Stephanie, and Cousin Bill.
     In our meager attempt to catch up on blogging, we won't tarry. We will dive right into Stephanie's set and then Minton's.
Stephanie Lambring on guitar
Stephanie Lambring
     Stephanie Lambring sings, writes her own songs, and plays guitar. Here is her song selection from that evening:  I Get Around, Oh Love I Don't Know Your Name, Hand Me Down, Disappointment, How Do I Look Like I'm Not Lookin', and At the Door of Jesus (title?). We look forward to hearing Stephanie again as she settles into the Nashville music routine.
      Minton Sparks is a familiar name in our blogs, so you already know that we have followed her career a long time, from Memphis to Oxford, MS, and to Nashville, TN. She is a spoken-word artist of the finest sort. Her subjects cover hopes for playing basketball for the late legend, Pat Summitt, of the University of Tennessee, to a bunch of her aunts who sound like chickens clucking, to mall parking lot carnivals, to gas station attendants, and most importantly (to us, anyway), her grandmother's pocket book that held small items and a big secret. She's Minton and we love her! Minton's subjects for that night at City Winery were as follows: You Gotta Walk This Lonesome Valley, Fill 'er Up?, Trella's Trash, Aunt Dixie in Dixieland, John 3:16, Vickie Pickle's Mama, Where Women End and Birds Begin, Cheryl Lynn, Gold Digger, Fight Club, Ticket Taker at the Carnival, It Could Happen to Anybody, Lunch Ladies and School Bus Drivers, Eastern Bloc Kites (sheets sown together), Tennessee Prison for Women (cousin is #501***), Her Purse, and another favorite, When You Comin' Home, Girl? 
Minton Sparks
 
For more information:
Minton Sparks www.mintonsparks.com  for CDs and DVDs, also see Facebook and other social media for Minton's performances and writing workshops
Stephanie Lambring www.stephanielambring.com and also see Facebook and Twitter 
John Jackson  www.discogs.com and search John Jackson also Google for more about John Jackson's musical career
CHRIS HILLMAN
HERB PEDERSEN
JOHN JORGENSON
MIKE BUB
 
 Hit City Winery Nashville at the Same Time!
October 1, 2017
L to R: John Jorgenson, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen
WE JUST HAD A FEELING that this was going to be a huge night! It was! A dream-come-true doesn't happen often, but when it does, you just buy the tickets and haul your freight to City Winery Nashville. Aging rockers, aging bluegrass fans, and younger ones of all ages will not forget this night. Here be legends of rock, country, and bluegrass!
 
L to R: John Jorgenson, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen
     Remember Chris  Hillman with the Byrds? Flying Burrito Brothers? The Desert Rose Band? Remember Herb Pedersen with The Desert Rose Band and The Dillards?  Monster talents John Jorgenson and Mike Bub were already in town and they rounded out the most splendid night of rock and bluegrass memories ever to appear on that stage or any. These four pals from the '60s to the present made music like no time had gone by at all! Guitars galore, mandolins, a piano, and one spot-on upright bass filled the room with the best music ever!
John Jorgenson
      Here is what we heard and it's still playing in my head as I type:  The Bells of Rhymney (Pete Seeger cover), Bidin' My Time, Love Reunited, Turn! Turn! Turn! (Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon), Given All I Can See (Mercy and Grace), If I Could Only Win Your Love (Louvin Brothers cover), Walk Right Back (Everly Brothers cover), Wheels (Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman), She Don't Care About Time (by Byrds bandmate Gene Clark, 1964-65), Eight Miles High, Set You Free This Time (Gene Clark song, John Jorgenson vocal), When I Get a Little Money, She Sang Hymns Out of Tune (Herb Pedersen vocal), Different Rivers, Wildflowers (Tom Petty cover), I'm Restless, Hey Boys (Herb Pedersen vocal), Together Again (Buck Owens cover), Such Is the World We Live In (Tribute to Chris Hillman's grandfather and great-grandfather), Wait a Minute (not John Duffey...Herb Pedersen [vocal] wrote it), Here She Comes Again, and Encore: Rank Strangers (The Stanley Brothers cover). Have mercy on my soul! What a divine night! Catch Chris, Herb, John, and Mike any time they get within 150 miles of you! It's worth the drive and the money!
 
L to R: John Jorgenson, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Mike Bub (at back)
Band:
Chris Hillman - vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin
Herb Pedersen - backing vocals, acoustic guitar
John Jorgenson - backing vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano
Mike Bub - upright bass 
 
For more information:
Chris Hillman www.chrishillman.com  New album Bidin' My Time 
Herb Pedersen www.herbpedersen.com
John Jorgenson www.johnjorgenson.com 
Mike Bub  Facebook @olebubbybass  Twitter @olebubby  or most Monday nights at Nashville's Station Inn www.stationinn.com  
 



Thursday, January 18, 2018

KENNY WHITE AND CHERYL WHEELER
TOGETHER AGAIN!  
City Winery Nashville  September 30, 2017  
 
MERCY! WHAT A TIME THIS WAS! Having never seen singer-songwriters KENNY WHITE and CHERYL WHEELER, we had no idea what we were in for! As we write this, we're catching up on the blog. Turns out it's a very cold January day in 2018. See? Told you we were behind in our blogging. We're so glad we wrote it down, because there's no way we could have remembered all the songs they sang, the catchy lyrics, or the wild banter between Kenny and Cheryl. Oh my! 
 

 
     On keyboard and vocal is Kenny White. Fabulous! He chats and sings his way through his brief set that goes something like this: Road Less Traveled, She's Comin' on Saturday, The Heavens Got It Wrong, Cyberspace, The Other Shore, and My Recurring Dream. The songs are what we would call story-songs, and they hold our interest. We hope to hear more from Kenny White!
     Singer, songwriter, comedienne, folkie, naturalist, Cheryl Wheeler enters with her guitar and gets situated in her comfy slacks and untucked golf shirt. We heartily approve of the casual look. She is open and honest about life and lifestyle. There is zero pretense here. None! She is enormously funny and deadly serious in the same sentence. We also hope to hear more from Cheryl Wheeler, though she doesn't get down South from 'up Nawth' very often. From the mind and voice of this fine performer, we hear the following: If I Die Before You, Summer Fly (songwriter Cheryl Wheeler, sung on a favorite album of ours by Maura O'Connell, who was in the house that night, by the way),
 
Maura O'Connell shares a moment with Cheryl Wheeler
Little Lonely Thing, Kenny's Song ( Now I Like My Husband Better Than My Wife), Wives and Lovers (songwriter Cheryl Wheeler, popularized in 1963 by Jack Jones), My Inflatable Plane, Kitty (Cheryl's Jack Russell Terrier), Dead People's Houses, The Year of the Yellow Cab (1915, written for Cheryl's dad's 75th birthday), My Cat's Birthday, Gandhi/Buddha (I Must Have Done Something Great to Get to Have You...followed by...I Must Have Done Something Bad to Have You, Potato (Po-ta-to [syllables of the word must fall on the right beats]), and Cheryl's encore was Driving Home. The song titles and the themes of her songs totally fit with Cheryl Wheeler's very being. We're fans! We bought terrific albums from each artist: "Cheryl Wheeler Live featuring Kenny White" and Kenny White "Long List of Priors".
 
For more information:
Cheryl Wheeler  www.cherylwheeler.com also Facebook and other social media
Kenny White  www.kennywhite.net  E-mail  kennywhitenews@aol.com
Maura O'Connell  www.mauraoconnell.com
City Winery Nashville, 609 Lafayette Street, Nashville TN 37203  www.citywinery.com/nashville/ 
The Farm Hands Bluegrass Quartet 
Make Their Way Back
to Bluegrass Monday
Collins Theatre in Paragould, AR
September 25, 2017
L to R: Don Hill, Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley, and Keith Tew
     KASU 91.9 FM Public Radio on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, has long been noted for being exceptional by having very talented bluegrass bands and artists at their familiar 4th Monday event called "Bluegrass Monday," which is hosted by KASU 91.9 FM Program Director, Marty Scarbrough. A half-dozen or so local sponsors make it all possible. Winter (except for December and the Christmas holiday) and summer, the artists come in and play to what is usually a packed house filled with bluegrass music fans.
Tim Graves, Don Hill and Daryl Mosley
at rear, and Keith Tew
Don Hill, Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley
     September of 2017 was no exception. THE FARM HANDS BLUEGRASS QUARTET from around Humphreys County, Tennessee, is one of the most popular groups to appear at Bluegrass Monday. They are prompt, professional, and prepared. Band members are as follows: TIM GRAVES (Dobro(r), vocals), nephew of that "other" Dobro(r) player you may have heard of, Uncle Josh Graves; DARYL MOSLEY (bass, vocals); KEITH TEW (guitar, vocals); and DON HILL (banjo, vocals). All the members are friendly, approachable, and upbeat. They seem to be very glad to play their energetic style of music, and they don't hesitate to give credit to the Man upstairs, who is responsible for it all.
L to R: Don Hill, Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley, and Keith Tew
     Here is what we heard on that thrilling night of music:  Set 1 Anywhere Is Home, It's the Natural Thing to Do, Foggy Mountain Rock (Dobro(r), The Way I Was Raised, The Old 109, Bible in the Drawer, Dig in the Dirt, Armstrong Pies (sponsor of The Farm Hands), They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy Anymore, Medley: I'll Fly Away, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and Somebody Touched Me; Set 2 Doin' My Time, Medley: Fireball, Maiden's Prayer, and Dobro (r) Chimes; Rural Route, Mama Prayed and Daddy Plowed, Medals for Mothers, Colors, Ask the Blind Man--He Saw It All, and I Saw the Light. Encore: On the City Streets of Heaven.
     Live performances at KASU's Bluegrass Monday are replayed on the 'Net and on KASU 91.9 FM on the Sunday following a band's performance. The show is called "Down Home Harmonies," and it is hosted by DJ Marty Scarbrough. The replay is usually heard sometime between noon and 12:30 PM Central, so if you miss the live performance, you have a chance to hear the replay. We highly recommend The Farm Hands Bluegrass Quartet for solid bluegrass entertainment!
 
For more information:
The Farm Hands Bluegrass Quartet  www.farmhandsquartet.com Check their website for CDs and merchandise
Pinecastle Music  www.pinecastlemusic.com
KASU 91.9 FM  www.kasu.org