Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 11, 2017
Jake Landers in the Encore Room of the Ritz Theatre
Sheffield, AL
     After a maddening dash up, down, and around US Highway 72, we stumbled upon the sign that implied 'this way to Sheffield'. Suffice it to say, the road was not marked well and it was beginning to get dark. Whoo boy! It was a stretch to eat a burger and get to the Ritz Theatre (at 111 W. Third Street) in time to catch some notables you may have heard of: Jake Landers (for whom the event was begun in 2010), Carl Jackson, the Claire Lynch Band, and Iron Horse.
Featured bands at the Jake Landers Bluegrass Concert
Sheffield, AL
      We shall start with Carl Jackson, whose very name sends shivers down the spines of singer-songwriters. This treasure from Louisville, Mississippi, has a couple of Grammys and three International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, and he has performed with everyone from Glen Campbell to Dolly Parton.
     While we were a little late getting in and settled at the Ritz, we were dumbfounded by Carl's selection of songs and his guitar work. It's just magic! Here is his program: Letter to Home, a gospel medley of instrumentals: Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and When They Ring Those Golden Bells. Carl closed with Lee and Ruby Pearl, a song about his parents. Those who know my own story will understand why that title brought tears. Thanks, Carl!
Iron Horse from their website
The band performed 'live at the Jake Landers
Bluegrass Concert in Sheffield, AL
     Next up was Iron Horse, a very popular band from Killen, Alabama. The band members are: Tony Robertson (mandolin, vocals), Vance Henry (guitar, vocals), Anthony Richardson banjo, vocals), and Ricky Rogers (bass, vocals). Iron Horse introduced Jake Landers, singer-songwriter, who performed several songs with the band. Jake was one of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, and he is in the Alabama Music and Bluegrass Halls of Fame. Here is the selection: Rubber Wheels, This Is the Girl I Love (Jake wrote it and the Front Porch String Band [now the Claire Lynch Band] recorded it 'way back when); Walk Softly (written by Bill Monroe and Jake Landers); I'll Follow Jesus (Jake, Pete Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks); Rip Tide; American Joe; Going Off the Rails on the Crazy Train; Orange Blossom Special; Foggy Mountain Breakdown; Shot in the Dark; Enter the Sandman; the Alabama State Song (audience participation); and Elton John's classic, Rocket Man.
Claire Lynch Band promo picture
Bassist Todd Phillips stood in for
Bassist Mark Schatz
Jake Landers Bluegrass Concert, Sheffield, AL
     The headliner band was the Claire Lynch Band with Claire Lynch (guitar, vocals), Bryan McDowell (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Jarrod Walker (mandolin, guitar, vocals), and standing in for double Grammy winner, bluegrass legend Mark Schatz on upright bass was another upright bass legend, Todd Phillips, who is another double Grammy winner, a founding member of the David Grisman Quintet, and member of the Bluegrass Album Band, among others. 
     The band led off with Cold-Hearted Wind, from their latest album, "North by South," on which Claire collaborated with several well-known Canadian songwriters. Next was Children of Abraham, You're Gonna Change or I'm Gonna Leave (tribute to the songwriting Alabama native, Hank Williams), Kingdom Come, Molly May (by J.P.Cormier), Little Rabbit (instrumental by Bryan McDowell and Jarrod Walker), Missionary Ridge, Milo (by Claire Lynch), All the Diamonds in the World (by Bruce Coburn), It's Worth Believin' (by Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot), Doin' Time, Black Flowers (by Lynn Miles), Empty Train, and the encore was the very popular Dear Sister, IBMA 2014 Song of the Year (written by Claire Lynch and Louisa Branscomb).
     Beautiful night of music with top-of-the-heap artists. We were especially honored to meet Jake Landers, who is widely respected throughout the bluegrass music world. He is a delight with the most charming personality! The Ritz Theatre, now that we know where it is, is comfortable and beautifully renovated. Not having an aisle down the center of the room was a bit of a problem, but we made it. We look for more bluegrass events from the Ritz and other North Alabama locations. Personally, the best festival we ever attended was at Barton, Alabama, in the summer of 1980. We passed a highway marker on February 11, 2017, that said Barton > and just seeing that sign brought back some very pleasant memories of a time not so long ago.
For more information:
Alabama Bluegrass Music Association
Jake Landers  Google for his musical accomplishments
Iron Horse  Facebook Search @ironhorse.bluegrass
Carl Jackson
Claire Lynch Band
Todd Phillips 

No comments:

Post a Comment