A day spent at the 2011 Fan Fest hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Association at the Nashville Convention Center is a wonderful experience to enjoy the many facets of talented and unique musical experiences.
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With each of the three levels of the convention center offering diverse choices, I started the day with the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. Intensity reigned as each contestant put forth years of training and practicing the art of the fiddle and the variations in style, tone complexity and depth to deliver an outstanding representation of fabulous musicianship.
With song choices such as Frisbee Hornpipe, Kaitlyn’s Waltz and Black and White Rag the timeless story of fiddling was shared by each contestant. Contestants came from all areas of the United States and Canada to compete in this highly respected arena of contest fiddling.
For me being a way back in the day fiddle and music Mom of contestant Sons and Husband I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the audience and appreciated the talent of each unique individual and the wonderful weave of the story played on each round. A great way to start the day at the Bluegrass Fan Fest.
I then went to visit the Main Stage to see the musical offerings there. New Town was up The five piece band with Kati Penn on Fiddle and Vocals, Husband JR Williams on Banjo and Vocals, C.J. Cain on Guitar, James Kee on Mandolin and Vocals, and Terry Porter Bass and Vocals, Newtown was a ride through traditional bluegrass chops but with twists. Tight vocals, dynamic tension in the timing and the sweet pensive way to weave a ballad into the heart of the listener Newtown drew the listener in.
The strength of individuality in the featuring of each vocalists and musical style lent itself to a rich experience and left the listener wanting to hear more.
Newtown has a website at :http://www.thenewtownband.com
Going to the third level I sat down to enjoy the celebrity jam as it was called and a lady sat next to me at the table and commented how enthralled she and her husband were to be there. She was from Canada and her husband was learning to play the mandolin and was going to Masters Workshops and also just enjoying the music.
We sat and listened to the jam where a rendition of Ole Joe Clark rang out with a gathering of Stand Up Basses, Mandolins, Fiddles, Guitars all enjoying sharing breaks vocals much to the listener’s delight.
I then went down to the Main Stage to see Jesse McReynolds & The McReynolds Tradition. The history of bluegrass in action played with a sureness of a master and the Veracity that defies objectivity the audience was mesmerized by the performance.
Jesse introduced his band which included his granddaughter Amanda Lynn and Garrett also their Uncle on Bass Darin Lyons. The wonderful richness of family legacy and tradition was shared and appreciated through the journey of the stories told in song. “Take Me Back Into Your Heart and the song done by Garrett " Coming Down From God" was especially pensive and powerful. Amanda shared Amazing Grace delivered with impeccable timing and tone.
Jesse shared some selections off the latest CD A Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter showing the diversity that musical boundaries do not exist in genre.
A standing ovation brought the band back closing their performance with Roll Away The New.
The website is:
The International Bluegrass Music Association Bluegrass Fan Fest was a wonderful day to truly enjoy some of music city’s finest musical talent.