Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival: Meet CinderBlue

Through the graciousness of Jay Bowerman and his band, Quincy Street (of Bend, Oregon) we were invited to the Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival last week to join them on stage for a few tunes during their gospel set on Sunday morning.

This is our third time out: Meet CinderBlue: Marlene Stevens, vocals; Jeff Stevens and Rex Gatton, guitars; Lee Barker, bass.

The venue: The lawn of the county courthouse. The Friday night-Sunday event includes name bluegrass acts, a local songwriter's contest--and the song must be about Wheeler County or the county seat, Fossil itself--a gospel scramble, area acts, wonderful food vendors, a car show (across town--two blocks away, that is) and the most attentive, relaxed and delightful crowd you could dream up. Bluegrass, unlike many genres, is multigenerational and it fosters that unashamedly. We had a great time.

Takeaway observations: (A) By far most bassplayers at this event were women. Ten to one, I'd say. (B) There are frighteningly talented children--and I mean single digits in some cases--on their way up, carrying the High Harmony, Acoustic Instrument flame forward through the ages. (C) Diana, who did the sound, was the most efficient and versatile boardmaster to come along in a while. (D) My anxieties about appearing onstage with a non-doghouse bass were for naught. I was not run out of town on an electric rail, and many folks in fact commented on how good the bass sounded. And a nearly equal number had seen the piece on Oregon Public Broadcasting and enjoyed connecting the loop via hearing the bass in person.

Bottom line: We're invited back next year. We wish it were tomorrow.

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