Here’s my Friday night wrap-up, done Saturday afternoon. Now, my excuse for not getting this out early (back me up) was the fact that I’ve been in the throes of ecstasy from last night’s shows, namely, Hannah Blaylock and Eden’s Edge, Del McCoury and the last part of Kool and the Gang.
I remember Blaylock and company from last year’s Musicians Showcase. I liked them then, I love them now. Hannah’s vocals have improved, she’s been working on the lilts and from what I heard, she sounds more like a woman, with some serious hours put in on vocal work and maybe some life experience. I wouldn’t expect to hear the group, say, in some local bar (though Afterthought or Second Place Café, Acoustic Sounds Café would be a good choice for the listener friendly acoustic five piece). It’s very wholesome music, and that’s not a cut down. Music without rebellion, and expression of beauty, good and heartache with this 5-piece acoustic. group is expressed positively.
They are not a purely bluegrass outfit; more hill-country and radio ready. It was pretty.
And then there was Del.
I may sound like a ninny biddy auntie here: but, there’s something to be said about how nice they looked. Tasteful suits and ties, well combed and gelled coifs. I bet they were Dapper Dan men. Old School Country Gentlemen. The music. I was thrilled at their selections, Del asking the audience for requests, and there were many: “High on a Mountain,.” “Rawhide,” and those of us knee-slappin’, ho-de-do dancin’ fools in the front basically did a bluegrass can-can line, singing along to, “1952 Vincent Black Lightnin’” (written by the great British gentleman Richard Thompson). It was too happy for some of us, I hope we didn’t bug the folks sitting nicely.
I saw briefly Mr. Red Ellis who does the Sacred Gospel show on KABF, and he gave his highly-regarded thumbs up. That’s a big deal, because Mr. Ellis rarely listens to secular bluegrass. The McCoury band is also of that pure joy, all about the music, smiling and having a good time. It’s a beautiful thang. New bass player. I couldn’t keep my eyes of the faster than fast hands of the mandolin player (Del’s son) and my ears off of Del’s voice. He slipped into the yodel-like voice inflections indicative of this style. Bluegrass.
Really the group looked like they were quite humble, having a good time, Del was having such a good time (I’m assuming) that he missed some of the words of the songs. We didn’t mind though. Saw lots of local musicians there and with their parents. Nice.
OK. That was that. Time to get on to Kool and the Gang, late night. Walked to the Miller Lite Stage. I couldn’t see very well. Got to hear “Ladies Night” and “Celebration.” All was well in the world for that evening.