THE MOUNTAIN VIEW (AR) SPRING FESTIVAL 2013 was held at the Ozark Folk Center on March 7-9. The weather was sunny and chilly, but at least it wasn't snowing! It was a bit of a struggle to park in a lower parking lot and walk some distance to the shuttle stop in order to be delivered to the Ozark Folk Center. It was worth the inconvenience! The local planning committee did a fine job of lining up talent for the event. We will mention some songs from each group, as many of you have already seen most of the groups. We were distracted from some band performances by backstage personnel/announcers who came onto the stage during a band's performance to dance across the stage with a broom as an imaginary partner, to do "the twist" behind band members, and to strike a pose similar to that on the Monroe Crossing sign at the rear of the stage--directly in front of that sign. We are very glad that the same persons did not disrupt Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's program. We feel for those bands who were somewhat upstaged by the antics during their performances.
FRANK RAY & CEDAR HILL (MO) led off the event: Peter, You're the Man; Ozark Hills; Wayfaring Stranger; Nails and Bonds; The Floodplain of Despair; Gonna Have a Time; I've Got a Thing About Doors; Paint the Town; Echo Mountain; 'Til the End of the World Goes 'Round; For Me It's Hello; Pearlie; Orange Blossom Special; and You Won't Be Satisfied That Way.
MONROE CROSSING (MN) is the amazing band we all had heard about, but many of us had not seen yet. WOW! Here are some of their songs: Life is Like a Mountain Railroad, Who's that Knockin'; Joy, Joy, Joy; Judas is My Name; He Did Rise; Whispering Hope; When the Angels Carry Me Home; 40 Years of Suff'rin'; It's Easy to Get Lost When You Don't Know Where You're Goin'; My Girl ("Mo-Grass": Motown + Bluegrass); Potter's Field; Rocky Top; Encore: Uncle Pen . . . later set: Muleskinner; Heartache and Soul; Into the Fire; The Old Mountaineer; Chattanooga; Satan's Jeweled Crown; I'll Fly Away; Doin' My Time; At Last (Etta James-style); Man of Constant Sorrow; Softly and Tenderly; Nail that Catfish to a Tree; Listening to the Rain; Bread and Milk and You; McKinley's March/Boston Boy; Build Me a Cabin in the Corner of Gloryland; Rocky Road Blues; Rank Stranger; Bullet Train; Keep on the Sunny Side. . .still later: Honky-tonkin'; Blue Eyes; Cicadas; Heavenly Table; Hobos in the Roundhouse; Me and Billy; In the Pines; Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (The Hollies-style, standing ovation); Orange Blossom Special (2nd standing ovation); and Wayfaring Stranger.
DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER (TN) is a band with a 40-year history of absolute top-quality gospel and traditional bluegrass music. Here is their selection: Lay Your Burdens at the Feet of Jesus; One of These Days It Won't Be Long; Lay Down the Hammer of Sin; I Have Found the Way; Then I Saw Him Walk Out of the Sky; God Can; Just Hold on a Little Longer; Greatest Creator (a cappella); We Need the Light; He Made It All Right; How Do You Say Goodbye to Sixty Years; I'm on My Journey Home; Helped and Protected by God's Love; Little Mountain Church House; What a Friend We Have in Jesus/Pass Me Not (fiddle medley); Sing Me a Song About Jesus; Sea of Life; and It Took His Blood to Set Me Free.
THE GIBSON BROTHERS (NY) is a group that is new to this writer, but they do a mighty fine job with bluegrass music: Wishing Well Ain't Workin'; Lonesome Road Blues; Dying for Someone to Live For; Red Letter Day for the Blues; They Call It Music; Gone Home; and Happy, Sunny Side of Life.
HICKORY HILL (TX) is well-known all over the South and Southwest. They know how to deliver the music we all love: The Old Crossroads; The Pilgrim; Cadillac; Bear Tracks; Willow Garden; Home-Grown Tomatoes; No Longer a Sweetheart of Mine; Hot Highway; Songs About Texas; Down Yonder; Poor Monroe; Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, and Loud, Loud Music; Little Maggie; and Old-Time Feeling.
LA TRESA & THE SIGNAL (TN) is a group led by a talented Nashville songwriter. We regret that we missed the complete titles of several songs because we could not understand what was said. Here is their selection: Gone to Memphis; Never [? Civil War tune]; Shady Grove; Promise You'll Be [?]; Can You Give Me Drink; Baby [?]; and Think of What You've Done.
THE STEELDRIVERS (TN) is a band that began their journey with what some might call a 'dark message,' and they like it there in the dark. Here is their selection: Deep Thinker; Good Corn Liquor; When You Don't Come Home; Lonesome Goodbye; Drinkin' Dark Whiskey; Hell on Wheels; If It Hadn't Been for Love; Angel Tonight; Gloryland; Midnight Tears; Guitar, Whiskey, Guns, and Knives (about life in East Kentucky); If You Can't Be Good, Be Gone; Wearin' a Hole in a Honky-Tonk Floor; Blue Side of the Mountain (Grammy-nominated); Encore: A Rainbow Can Never Die.
THE REDMOND KEISLER BAND AND BUCKSNORT HILL are two bands who are quite well known in the area. You might say that Redmond's band is the house band. He works the sound for the Ozark Folk Center. They put on a fine performance. Bucksnort Hill is Dan Shaw's band from over around Bono, AR. You may remember that they hosted the Claire Lynch Band at "Dan's Place" about a year ago. They, too, put on a fine program of bluegrass music.
All the bands were prepared and presented their brand of music in a professional manner. Thanks to every band that participated in the Spring Festival. The Fall Bluegrass Festival is scheduled for November 7-9, 2013, and it too should be one dandy festival!