Friday, July 28, 2006

RockyGrass 2006 Friday, Part 1

The end of July? Must be time for the 34th annual RockyGrass festival. Located in the heart of a scenic pocket of the Front Range, this Rocky Mountain tradition is produced by Planet Bluegrass, the same force behind the Folks Festival, Festival of the Mabon, and the possibly misnamed Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

The Planet Bluegrass property is bounded by the swift St. Vrain River and sheer red rock cliffs. Within this multi-acre pocket of the known universe 3,500 festivarians gather each summer for the more traditionally-minded of the PB fests.

As is customary, the opening act for RockyGrass is the winner of the revious year's band competition. This meant the stage was first graced by the energetic old-timey sounds of Town Mountain, a product of the fertile Asheville, North Carolina music scene. Mixing original tunes with traditional and proto-bluegrass standards, this quintet recalls the roots of this genre while extending its boundaries in a respectfully creative way. How's this for an ecelctic philosophy: "Jimmy Martin - the James Brown of Bluegrass."

Robert Greer of Town Mountain

Next up is fiddle legend Richard Greene, an alumnus of Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and co-conspirator with such elder influences as David Grisman and Peter Rowan. This time around he's backed by the Barton Brothers, a talented trio featuring mando, banjo and double base. Greene's solid footing in the foundations of bluegrass and the Barton's Californiated acoustic produce an interesting hybrid that got more than a few of the audience on their feet despite the heat of this summer day in the Rockies.

Richard Greene

The afternoon's schedule promises to be a hot one, as the high temp is expected to reach the upper 90's (really brutal at an altitude of over 5,000 feet) and sets by the Tony Trischka Bluegrass Band featuring Roland White and an anticipated set by the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet.

All this is only preparation for this evening's lineup of Douglas, Barenberg and Meyer followed by first-time RockyGrass headliners the Yonder Mlountain String Band.


Adam Carlos of Hands of Music. Adam specializes in uniquely  music-fan-oriented art. He captures images of the hands of musicians and transforms the photos into exquisitely-detailed monochrome drawings. With subjects ranging from Bill Monroe to Steve Earle, and using media as varied as tee shirts and lithography, Hands of Music has something to offer every festivarian.  

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