When I was asked to review this book, "High Lonesome Below Sea Level," by Marieke Odenkerken & Loes van Schaijk, I quickly agreed. Having been a bluegrass musician (fiddler for Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys 1965-66), an author ("I Hear A Voice Calling," shameless self-promotion) and photographer, I am acutely aware of the difficulty in producing a book about musicians that balances the writing and photographs to allow each to provide character and insight.
The photos in this book are all portraits of the musicians. But rather than the plastic and contrived album cover shots we so often see coming out of the Nashville music establishment, these images are shot with natural light with a white background and are all in black & white which, to my eye, is perfect for capturing the colorful characters in this book.
Well, it takes some kind of hubris to review an album from a band as successful as the Lonesome River Band, but here goes: this is an album well worth a listen. The band (Sammy Shelor on banjo and vocals, Brandon Rickman on guitar and vocals, Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass, and Randy Jones on mandolin and vocals) is really everything you want in a bluegrass band – sharp, tight picking, lovely vocals and harmony, and great taste in songs.
It's Nomination Time for the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association
This is your time to get involved in the HVBA by nominating the people you think would best represent your bluegrass interests and would best carry out the duties of the officers.
Surely a highlight of this year’s Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival will be a very special Keith-Style Banjo Summit hosted by Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, and Tony Trischka. As if this “Triple Crown of Banjo” wasn’t enough, joining them on stage to honor the music and enormous influence of Bill Keith will be the award-winning Noam Pikelny, Eric Weissberg, Mike Munford, Marc Horowitz, Mike Kropp, and Ryan Cavanaugh, along with Bill Keith himself. The 90-minute Keith-style banjo gathering will be on Friday, July 17 beginning at 7:00pm at the Creekside Stage.
Yes, you did read it right. How lucky can we get? Well, lucky enough to have James King and his band land in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday, July 21. And lucky enough to find the perfect spot to hear The Bluegrass Storyteller.
The band consists of James King (vocals, guitar), Eddie Lovelace (bass), Adam Poindexter (banjo), Merl Johnson (fiddle), and Nick Novia, (mandolin).