Thursday, July 24, 2014

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (The MACC) 2014 - Thursday: Review



Sometimes staying in the moment at a bluegrass festival leads me to forget how the days before went. One of the joys of writing this blog has always been to revisit each day, treasure the moments, and cement them in my (sometimes failing) memory. Thursday at The MACC proved to be one of those days that stands out in just about every way. Cooler by twenty degrees than last year, suffused with bright sunshine not too hot to sit in and enjoy, and filled with music to meet just about every taste, attendees could revel in the purity of the Gibson Brothers singing and songwriting, or bask in nostalgia listening to Larry Sparks and James King. The day was special in just about every way. The only problem with the day proved to be its brightness, forcing way too many performers to wear sunglasses on-stage, a pet peeve of mine.

Adkins & Loudermilk

Two attractive personalities with distinctly different personal and musical styles have merged their talents into this newly formed bluegrass band. Dave Adkins is big in almost every way - his voice, his stage personality, his puppy-dog personality, and outgoing ebullience. Edgar Loudermilk, a veteran of many fine bands and recently having left seven years as bassist and harmony singer at IIIrd Tyme Out, is more restrained, a thoughtful, quiet singer/songwriter whose warmth is genuine and restrained. They've come together to showcase their talents and are developing toward creating a unique blend. 

Edgar Loudermilk

Dave Adkins

Andrew Crawford

Jordan Rice

Curtis Bumgarner

Adkins & Loudermilk - Pike County Jail - Video


Adkins & Loudermilk - This Mournful Soul - Video


Even Very Young People Raise Money 
for St. Jude

A Quiet Moment at the Rohr Road Gate
Tracy & Irene

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

This year's MACC proved to be quite a triumph for Junior Sisk. Selected as IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year in 2013, Junior appeared with his own band, Ramblers Choice, as well as with Joe Mullins to promote their joining as a duo for a tribute to Hall of Fame bluegrassers and with other "classsic" performances as a singer. He distinguished himself in each setting with his country tenor voice and increasing self-confidence. Ramblers Choice has always been a work in progress, but the addition of two young musicians in Jonathan Dillon and Jamie Harper has added to both the bands energy and its flexibility. 

Jamie Harper & Jason Tomlin

Jason Davis

The Trio
Jonathan Dillon, Jason Tomlin & Junior Sisk

Jonathan Dillon

Jonathan Dillon & Jamie Harper

Jamie Harper

Jason Tomlin

Junior Sisk & Jason Davis

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice - Gonna Make Her Mine - Video





Marty Raybon & Full Circle

For me, Marty Raybon was an acquired taste. I didn't know his work with Shenandoah, but have come to truly treasure his enthusiasm, his interpretations of songs, his high entertainment value, and his sincerity. This band is the best I've heard him have and their longevity together has led to rapid strengthening of the entire unit. Great show here at the MACC.

Marty Raybon

Isaac Smith

Zach Rambo

Chris Wade


Tim Raybon

Marty Raybon

Marty Raybon & Full Circle - Only You - Video


Many Performers Bring Their Families
Misty Rambo



The Gibson Brothers

When The Gibson Brothers take the stage at a bluegrass festival, the tone of the event changes. The crowd settles down, becomes quieter. It really listens to the often reflective and thought provoking lyrics with a genuine appreciation of their background and journey. Then they explode with cheers and calls for more. Much of their audience is fully familiar with their deep and extensive catalog of their own songs and carefully chosen originals by others. Their covers always fit into an overall sense of who they are and how they wish to be perceived. There's good reason why they've been twice chosen as IBMA Entertainers of the Year along with winning many other awards. Their new CD, the first with Rounder Records, a tribute to earlier brother duos in a variety of genres and time periods, is eagerly awaited.

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson

Jesse Brock

Mike Barber

Clayton Campbell

The Gibson Brothers - Bye, Bye Love - Video






Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers

Larry Sparks has been in the business over fifty years, soldiering on, his reputation secure with dozens of top hits and a loyal following. He's always about the most dapper man in the lineup and his band is carefully chosen to support his fine singing and surprisingly good flat picking.

Tyler Mullins

? - Please Help


 ? - Please Help

Mary Rachel Nalley

Larry Sparks

Older Members of the MACC Childrens Band
Getting Some Extra Practice



Lonesome River Band

The Lonesome River Band is a MACC regular, always bringing their brand of murder, love rejected, and lost souls to the mix. Many people yearn for the early days of LRB, but for us, this band is ours. They're pretty much the band they were when we started in bluegrass, but banjo great and leader Sammy Shelor has continued to improve his personnel with each move. We're always glad to see them and hear their brand.

Sammy Shelor

Mike Hartgrove

Randy Jones

Brandon Rickman

Sammy Shelor





Note the Carving

Gibson Brothers Merch Table

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Doyle Lawson was a member and/or founder of some of the seminal bands of the second bluegrass generation. He's been a major force in bluegrass for half a century. A noted task master, there are more graduates of the Doyle Lawson School of Bluegrass continuing successful careers in other bands than from any other. With each change, he manages to find a fine young musician and train him up to his high standards. His commitment to gospel music and upbeat secular music is strong as he continues to be a much sought after performer.

Doyle Lawson

Dustin Pyrtle


Jason Barrie

Josh Swift

Eli Johnston

Joe Dean

Doyle Lawson & Eli Johnston

Darrell Adkins

Kyle Ramey & Jaelee Roberts Babysit
for Magnolia Belle Hess

James King - Three Chords and the Truth

James King has been ailing, requiring surgery and significant recuperation in the hospital. At the MACC he still wasn't the robust James we know and love, but as he responded to the warmth of the audience and the strength of his backup band, he became increasingly strong and sure of himself. His Grammy nominated CD Three Chords and the Truth provided the material for this Classic Performance, the signature events of the MACC. Here's some impressions:

John Marquess

Brian Blaylock

James King, Don Rigsby, Dudley Connell & Danny Roberts

Michael Cleveland

Josh Williams

Dudley Connell

Brian Blaylock & John Marquess

John Marquess

Josh Willams & James King

Don Rigsby & Dudley Connell

James King - Lonesome Old Home - Video



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