Friday, June 06, 2008

Jenny Brook Bluegrass preview

By Ted Lehmann
The Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival will kick off its eighth four-day season on June 26, 2008 at the Weston Recreation Area a mile or two north of the picturesque village of Weston, VT off Greendale Road. This delightful, small festival will feature the strongest lineup in its history. National bands are led by The Dan Tyminski Band and include The Gibson Brothers, Dan Paisley & Southern Grass, and David Parmley & Continental Divide. Supplementing these bands will be local and regional bands, many familiar favorites at this annual get together. Although the park offers no hookups, camping spaces will be a premium. The gates open first thing Thursday morning, and wise campers will arrive early.

While the Weston Recreation Area has no water or electricity, it is not without its charm. There’s a pond on the premises for children to swim in, a playground area, and a tennis court used for basketball during this festival. The views of the surrounding hills are lovely and the air bracing and refreshing. This year Jenny Brook is being held a week later than it has historically been held. The site, the crowd, and the Sawyer family make this a family friendly event. Hosts Candi and Seth Sawyer’s two young sons, Mathew and Adam, are listed as co-hosts, are very much in evidence, and are truly part of the charm of this event. Candi’s valiant battle against multiple sclerosis and Mathew’s medical history are an integral part of this festival, making it a celebration of their struggles as well as a testimony to their love of the music. Seth Sawyer is a gifted songwriter as well as singer, whose contributions to the festival are quiet and very important.

Jenny Brook bills itself as a traditional festival and tends towards booking traditional bands. This year two of the headliners are among the hottest traditional bands on the circuit and offer an interesting contrast. The Dan Tyminski Band has come together for a year while Allison Krause is on tour with Robert Plant and Union Station is on hiatus. Tyminski and Barry Bales, also from AKUS, have joined with Ron Stuart on banjo, Adam Steffey (on leave or having left Mountain Heart) on mandolin, and Justin Moses on fiddle. This band has garnered lots of attention and rave reviews from those who’ve seen them. They’re a straight ahead bluegrass band playing familiar songs and ones that sound familiar, even if they aren’t. Tyminski, a native of Rutland, VT, has a familiar and well-liked voice. He has lead a musically first rate band into the most desirable venues right out of the box. Getting him at a small festival like Jenny Brook is a real coup. Each of the individual players in the Dan Band, as it has come to be known, is at the top of the profession in acclaim as well as in terms of national recognition.

This is an excerpt from Ted Lehmann's full Jenny Brook preview, available here with complete lineup analysis including original photography. Thanks Ted.


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