What a wonderful show!!
Saturday evening March 6th, at Sugar and Spice Cafe in Poughkeepsie Plaza, an excellent concert was played for an enthusiastic crowd by the Old Time Bluegrass Singers. Some people arrived early to order dinner or dessert from a fine selection offered by the café, and we had a full house by the time the concert started around 7pm.
In short, the band is a New England based group with deep roots going back to the Lilly Brothers and Joe Val. Herb Applin, the mandolin player, played fiddle with the Lilly Brothers at the Hillbilly Ranch (bar) in Boston during the early days of the BG scene in Boston. The Frakers, Lillian and Robert kept a steady rhythm playing bass and guitar respectively. Robert took up the fiddle for a couple of tunes as well. The banjo standout Terry McGill kept the music lively with excellent breaks. The band’s leader and guitar player Dick Bowden played the role of entertainer seriously and did not disappoint with his stories, quips, and back and forth tidbits with Terry. Herb and Lillian shared most of the singing and harmony with Dick, always tight, and energetic.
What sets this band apart from many is their choice of songs. It can be said that a great song will pass the test of time, but this is only partially true. It takes someone to keep these songs alive by knowing them and presenting them to today’s audience. It is in this regard that this band really excels. They have a depth of knowledge about bluegrass and old country songs that is astounding. They played song after song that was old, but new to me, and every one was a winner. I felt privileged to be able to listen and learn from these veteran musicians.