Friday night at Christ Church saw an intimate annual Fall concert for the lucky people who attended the Dry Branch Fire Squad’s concert for the HVBA. It was an opportunity to see this band up close and personal and listen to Ron Thomason’s drawl with his tall tales of real happenings based on actual true facts which he swears really happened and, for which, he said, he had documentary evidence to back it up if anyone had the wherewithal or interest to actually check it out.
But all that aside, when the “drawling” was over the band broke into a set list of his “personally selected requests” which were warmly received and demonstrated the multi-instrumental talents of each band member as they passed their instruments around with each guy playing not only his own instrument, but all of the others.
It is not fair that such talent is concentrated in so few people. The program contained both bluegrass standards and DBFS’s own versions of some country standards as well.
For what is probably a first, there were two (2), yeah, count ’em, 1920 era Gibson Lloyd Loar mandolins on stage at the same time, actually being played, not just confined to a locked museum display case. Those mandolins lived up to their legendary reputations; each one rang out loud and clear and their pure tone could be heard cutting through the mix over the PA system. And the magic fingers of both Ron Thomason and Brian Aldridge, did those hunks of spruce proud.
It was a pleasure to listen to and watch this band do its thing, and a treat for the audience members to get to speak personally to the musicians who were so hospitable in interacting with their fans.