Monday, April 23, 2012

Coming Soon! Bluegrass Hounds! Four-legged ones!!

Maggie says, "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille!"
       The Collierville Historic Town Square Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam is enjoyed by all, including "man's (and woman's) best friend". Maggie here owns Don and Faith, a fine performing couple.
       Maggie asks that pets stay on their leashes and with their owners. The more aggressive, barking dogs would probably be happier at home.
       While she is quite the lady, she also asks that if your pet fouls the footpath at the Square, you should quickly deal with the situation with a baggie and rapid disposal of same. On hot nights, bring water for your pooch. We're now sniffing out more photos of our bluegrass hounds!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Bluegrass Yo-Yo

Bluegrass music is a lot like my old Duncan Yo-Yo here. It's up...and it's down! Sometimes, it even requires a new string or two! It may also contain fake jewels, like this yo-yo. It takes a lot of practice to get really good at spinning a yo-yo and by the same token, it takes a lot of practice to get really good (or even pretty good) at playing bluegrass music.

Recent surges in bluegrass music came with permit slips for the general listening public. Something about the music and the artists gave folks permission to listen and even to like the music. New Grass Revival (John Cowan, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, and Pat Flynn) took things to unimagined places! They introduced the listening public to a whole new world!

Then, Ricky Skaggs' version of "Uncle Pen" in a video with Bill Monroe doing a little buck dance, showed listeners/viewers the more traditional sound. People started dancing in the subways and living rooms of America. Another surge! Hey, we really can get into this music!

Needless to say, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (OBWAT, to keep it short) had the entire country laughing and singing "Man of Constant Sorrow". Longtime fans already knew the drill, but seeing it on the screen reminded them of the Barn Dance, the Opry, the flat-bed trucks where many a band has stood in the hot sun to perform for the folks in this little town, then the next, and the next, and so on. English majors and other readers of serious literature recognized OBWAT as a loose adaptation of "The Odyssey". Dan Tyminski in the guise of George Clooney, and Alison Krauss, among other very talented musicians, made the movie an instant hit, introducing new fans of all ages to bluegrass music.

Here are some fun photos taken along the bluegrass music trail! Enjoy! More to come later!

Dulcimer players at Collierville UMC weekly winter jam 2010

Ruby Jane Smith and Max Frost play for guests at Wolf family house concert 2011

Roby Cogswell and friends jam at Breakin' Up Winter Lebanon, TN 2011
Old-Time String Band Annual Festival 1st weekend of March
Lee Cagle teaches youngster about the mountain dulcimer at Collierville gazebo 2010
County Line Old-Time Jam Collierville Sheffield Antiques Mall 2009

Thanksgiving Mandolin Tasting at the Thompsons' 2009

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sheryl Jaynes-Andrews--A Flower of the Forest

Sheryl Jaynes-Andrews (March 15, 1942 - April 12, 2012)

Sheryl Jaynes-Andrews was my friend and high school classmate. She is now, according to Scottish lore, a flower of the forest. Sheryl loved her Lord, her large family, her many friends, her dog Mia, her work, everything in nature, and Martha's Vineyard. While cancer may have taken her life, it could not conquer her indomitable spirit! I shall borrow some words from Vince Gill's powerful song, "Go Rest High," to bid a fond farewell to this amazing person.

"Go rest high on that mountain
[Child] your work on Earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Claire Lynch and Matt Wingate Dropped by to Pick and Sing for Fans at the Wolf River Cafe, Rossville, TN, in 2011

Claire with fan Clay who is in shock!
In the spring of 2011, Singer-songwriter Claire Lynch and her bandmate Matt Wingate dropped by to pick and sing a few for fans at the Wolf River Cafe in Rossville, TN, before heading back to Nashville. Oh my! How good is that?

Claire, Lauren, and Sarah in 2011 
Here it is spring again, and Claire and Matt are coming back to West Tennessee on Friday, May 11, 2012, and this time, they're bringing another world-class musician with them named Bryan McDowell. Performing as The Claire Lynch Trio, they will appear at the acoustically splendid Collierville United Methodist Church Sanctuary on the Square at 104 N. Rowlett in the heart of beautiful downtown Collierville, TN.

The Trio will arrive in town by 2:00 PM, just in time to do a sound check in the Sanctuary. After the sound check, and after they rest up for a minute or two, they will prepare for their Master Classes at the Sanctuary. The Master Classes will run from 4:00 to 6:00 PM CDT, with Claire handling songwriting and singing strategies; Matt demonstrating guitar improvisation; and Bryan tackling fiddle and mandolin techniques. Attendees in the classes will pay the artists directly in the sessions they attend, and the artists receive 100% of the fees for those classes. Classes are $30 each.

Listening to Claire Lynch's CDs today, I can tell you without reservation that you are in for a real treat! I can't properly describe Claire Lynch's voice and her talent on the guitar, but I can tell you that she gets better and stronger with each passing year. I heard Claire and the Front Porch String Band any number of times many moons ago at Harvester Lane in Frayser and later as the Claire Lynch Band at the Lucy Opry inside the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center (BPACC). Good, I thought, very, very good. Better than that, even! It was a sound I had never heard anywhere else! When I hit Jemison, AL, for a festival in the summer of 1981 or so, and Claire tore into "Kennesaw Line", I just cried! This year's 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, near Corinth, MS, and Savannah, TN, has Claire's version of Don Dunnaway's hauntingly beautiful "Kennesaw Line" running around in my head again.

Kacey, Claire, and Matt in 2011
Enough, or I'll be tearing up again. I want you to know that the Master Classes are from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Earlier postings had an incorrect listing for the time of the classes. The concert by The Claire Lynch Trio will be at 8:00 PM at the Sanctuary on the Square. Concert tickets will be on sale at McGinnis Hardware (next door to the Sanctuary on the Square) or Common Cup Coffee Shop during the hours when the coffee shop is open..You may also buy your tickets at the door prior to the performance. Ticket price is $15 each for the concert, and the Claire Lynch Trio will share the proceeds of the concert with the Reelfoot and Golden Cross Ministries of the Collierville United Methodist Church. We are so grateful to the Trio, the church and the ministries for their generosity.

Join Claire, Matt, and Bryan and their many friends in this area of Tennessee for a wonderful evening of bluegrass music played and sung by the best! Get your tickets for the concert early, as this one will likely sell out!

Pick away!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Claire Lynch Trio Is Coming to Collierville on Friday, May 11, 2012


Friday, May 11, 2012

Claire Lynch--2010 Bluegrass Female Vocalist of the Year with her Claire Lynch Trio

Live Performance         Show Time: 8:00 PM CDT

Collierville United Methodist Church Sanctuary on the Square
104 N. Rowlett Street, Collierville, TN 38017

Plus:  Master Classes  4:00-6:00 PM
Claire LynchSongwriting and Vocals
Matt WingateGuitar Improvisation
Bryan McDowellFiddle and Mandolin 

About Claire Lynch:
Making records since she was 19, Claire Lynch has long been recognized as a creative force in acoustic music, and she is at the forefront of women who have expanded the genre. She's been named bluegrass "Female Vocalist of the Year" twice, most recently in 2010, and she was nominated again in 2011. She's received two Grammy nominations, countless specialized awards and other honors--along with reverent standing ovations for her shows at prestigious music festivals and theaters around the world for over two decades.

Lynch has crafted one of the most instantly identifiable sounds in acoustic music. Her style encompasses classic bluegrass and thoughtful infusions of contemporary folk, country, rock, and swing. As a songwriter, Lynch has had her songs recorded by Kathy Mattea, Patty Loveless, and others, and she has performed as a backing/harmony vocalist with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Pam Tillis--just to name a few. The Claire Lynch Trio is a tight meld of some of the best in the business--Matt Wingate and Bryan McDowell are award-winning bluegrass and acoustic stars in their own right. In fact, The Bluegrass Blog recently said, "Lynch just might have the best backing lineup of her career." "Lynch has earned her place among the great artists of contemporary folk, bluegrass, and Americana."   

Concert Tickets for the Claire Lynch Trio: $15 each, available next door to Sanctuary on the Square at McGinnis Hardware (M-F 7a to 5:30p and Sat. 8a to 5:30p). Tickets also available during hours of operation at the Common Cup Coffee Shop at 454 W. Poplar Avenue.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Emmylou Harris

Happy Birthday to Emmylou Harris (b. April 2, 1947). Welcome to the ranks of those of us who are 65+. 

If you have any Emmylou Harris stories you can tell us, let's hear 'em. "Roses in the Snow" is likely to be playing in your head for the rest of the day. Emmylou is one of the finest performers we ever heard!

Pick away!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Your First Bluegrass Festival / Show

Remember your first bluegrass festival or show? Where was it? What year was that? How was the weather? What bands were there? What was the best / worst part about the festival or show?

OK, I'll tell you my first festival ever! The month and year? May of 1980. That sounds like the Dark Ages now! I drove probably 500+ miles to Mountain View, AR. I had never been to Mountain View, AR...I continued driving until I saw the hand-lettered sign that read "Sylamore Bluegrass Show featuring The Tennessee Gentlemen," and I knew I had hit paydirt! This was it! I was down by the Sylamore Creek in Mountain View, AR, for my very first bluegrass music festival. The weather was cold in the Ozark Mountains in May of 1980. That was back when we used to have real weather.
Beautiful hand-lettered sign pointing the way to 'today's show' at Sylamore Creek. Wonder where that sign is today? It would look great among my other memorabilia! Slower traffic? Definitely!

The Tennessee Gentlemen in 1980: Richard Bailey (banjo), Troy Castleberry (mandolin, voc.),  Donny Catron (guitar, voc.), Steve Gregory (bass and voc.)

The Tennessee Gentlemen, The Wooten Brothers, and maybe Blue Mountain Bluegrass were performing that chilly May weekend. I was there with my cassette recorder. I had never even recorded a cassette tape. I still have that tape. I must confess that my cassettes are gradually breaking down and becoming harder to play with each passing year. Bummer! Thank goodness for CDs and digital recording in the present day.

The best part of the festival was hearing this magical bluegrass sound that I had begun to love only a few short months before this first festival. The worst part of any festival is that the time flies and it doesn't last long enough.

Your turn. . . .

Pick away!