All posts tagged: Seldom Scene

Congratulations 2014 International Bluegrass Award Winners

It took 10 months, but the 2014 International Bluegrass Awards caught up with my Best of Bluegrass 2013 post from December. Turns out, my picks were prescient. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards were presented on Thursday evening in Raleigh, NC.  Three of my five choices from the end of the year were winners at the IBMA showcase. Let’s begin with congratulations to Claire Lynch for winning the “Song of the Year” award for Dear Sister.  I recognized this as a special song back in 2012, and have loved this tale taken from letters written before the Civil War Battle of Stones River in my hometown of Murfreesboro. Claire co-wrote this lovely tune with Louisa Branscomb. It is one of her best ever, and highly deserving of the award. Thursday was a big night for banjo phenom Noam Pikelny. His Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe – one of my picks in December – won Album of the Year at IBMA. This is not just a terrific concept album, it is a terrific album period. …

For the Love of the Music

The last time I heard John Jorgenson play, it was this past summer under a beautiful Shenandoah Valley sky, where his quintet awed us all with a dazzling set of gypsy jazz. Tonight, Jorgenson was back – this time at the Institute of Musical Traditions – playing a dazzling set of bluegrass. And all this from one of the great Telecaster masters of his generation, who once spent six years on the road with Elton John.  It boggles the mind to think one man can switch so effortlessly between technically difficult genres and still make great music. Thank God Sir Elton paid him the big bucks so he can now play all the music he loves. Jorgenson was clearly having a good time tonight, singing and playing bluegrass with singer-songwriter-guitarist Jon Randall and bassist Mark Fain – both from Nashville – and his old California buddy – and west coast bluegrass/roots music legend –  Herb Pedersen.  The band definitely had the “west coast bluegrass” sound going – with smooth harmony singing (minus the twang) and …

Honoring Mike Auldridge

Tonight was bittersweet. Three of the founding members of the pioneering urban bluegrass band the Seldom Scene gathered this evening in Silver Spring to pay tribute to their ailing partner: dobro master Mike Auldridge. Original Scene bassist Tom Gray, shown at left onstage with fellow alumnus John Starling, alerted me at this morning’s Farmers Market that the folks at the Maryland State Arts Council had added the tribute to their annual ALTA (Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts) Awards show as a way to honor Mike’s 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship. The tribute came at the end of an entertaining and informative night.  The Old Bay Ceili Band from Baltimore opened with a spirited Irish set in memory of former ALTA award winner Joe Byrne, the late proprietor of J. Patrick’s Pub. Flutist Laura Byrne told of hearing the master traditional flute player Chris Norman while she was studying classical flute at the Peabody, asking him where she could learn to play that style of music, and being told to go to J. Patrick’s. Other …

We’re not dead yet!

Cynics (or my children) looking at last evening’s twin bill at the beautiful Strathmore Music Hall would be tempted to title the show, “We’re Not Dead Yet!”  In response, the current edition of the Seldom Scene (one original member) and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (with a whopping three of the five original members) could respond with the same motto:  We may be older than dirt, but we can still fill a concert hall! The Scene (photo at the top of the post) played first, with mandolinist extraordinaire Jimmy Goodreau sitting in on a half-day’s notice for the ailing Lou Reed.  This isn’t your father’s Seldom Scene…the vocals don’t match those of Starling and Duffey, and no one can play those Dobro licks like Mike Auldridge…but this is still a good bluegrass band.  Dudley Connell is an expressive lead singer, Ronnie Simpkins — who along with Goodreau was a long-time member of the Tony Rice Unit — can play bass with the best of them, and 70-year-old Ben Eldridge provides the link to the original …

Bluegrass in the Barn

There are many great places to hear bluegrass – heck, just about any place will do.  But Candice and I have found a spot that’s become a favorite:  the barn at Evensong Farm. Which is how we came to listen to live bluegrass on 10.10.10. Evensong is a farm we support at the Silver Spring farmers market.  Here’s how owner Julie Stinar  describes their work: Heritage. Health. Harmony. These are the chords of Evensong Farm in historic Sharpsburg, Maryland, growing natural foods that sustain our land, our neighbors and our souls. Healthful, heritage foods cultivated at nature’s pace without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified inputs. Heirloom vegetables and herbs, pasture-fresh eggs, grass-raised poultry, pork and beef – healthful food grown to the rhythms of the seasons, to the patient melody of time. We’re just glad that part of the rhythms of the season includes hearing great bluegrass by Darren Beachley and Legends of the Potomac on the Columbus Day weekend in Evensong’s historic wooden barn. Beachley is a fine tenor singer who has played …

Summer Saturdays are the Best

The joyful photograph at the top of the post – which comes from the wonderful photo/blog Real People Eat Local (check it out for their delicious pictures) – is a perfect encapsulation of our day.  Summer Saturdays really are the best! Today started relatively early (by Saturday standards) as Andrew had to be at the Cathedral for a choral practice at 8 a.m.  Our car is in the shop this weekend waiting for a leaky fuel pump to be repaired (one never wants to smell gasoline in your home garage), so Candice, Andrew and I had to juggle our schedules around the availability of Zipcars – the wonderful car sharing service we swear by.  Because we have some 25 Zipcars within about 3 blocks of our house, we picked one up (a little Honda) and were on our way by 7:30.  Urban living is great! Swim team meets the past six weeks have their own charm, but they have disrupted the Saturday morning ritual Candice and I established this year.  So we were pleased to …