Friday, June 19, 2009

Twin Rivers Bluegrass and Zoograss Boys, June 19, 2009

What better place to spend about four hours on a hot, humid day than listening to two wonderful bluegrass bands in an air conditioned performance hall.

I've loved bluegrass music probably forever, or so it seems. There's just something about the instruments, the rhythms, and the overall sense of just plain fun, both shown by the performers as well as the toe tapping and dancing, even in their seats, by the audience.

I think I probably realized this love of banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, and fiddle around 1972 when I saw the movie, "Deliverance," and heard "Dueling Banjos."

I was hooked. I bought cassette tapes of several bluegrass groups and listened over and over and over . . . never tiring of the music. Orange Blossom Special, sometimes called the "Fiddle Player's National Anthem."

Last fall two friends and I parked our RVs at Mayflower County Park in Bishop, CA (Riverside County) for about a week and spent most of our time at the Bluegrass Festival in Bishop. Lots of bands performing on two separate stages, as well as outdoor jam sessions, booths, food, and many people to talk to and enjoy the music with. It was easy to see how easy it would be to get hooked on following the festivals. And today I feel the same way.

Twin Rivers Bluegrass performed for two hours this afternoon. Most of the members live in the Miami (pronounced my-am-uh). They've been together for about a year and get together at Pam's Place (Pam is their bass player) in nearby Seneca, Missouri. Here's a video of them performing. I'm not sure when they changed the name of the band to Twin Rivers from Rising Creek.

Rising Creek Band (with most of the members and same costumes/clothing as Twin Rivers Band today)

To me, the highlight of this band is their fiddle player, 17-year old Jake Simpson. He's been playing violin/fiddle since he was 5 years old and has won numerous competitions since then. He's also got a perfect singing voice and plays other instruments besides the fiddle. This first video shows him playing a classical piece. His father explains the reason at the beginning.

Jake playing classical

Finally, here he is with his excellent bluegrass sense and talent at an Opry performance.

The Zoograss Boys were more laid back and have been playing together for a number of years. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any performance videos. They will be performing their very entertaining versions of bluegrass and old-time music, such as songs from the movie, "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?" at the Skiatook Bluegrass Festival next weekend, June 25-27, 2009 in the city of Skiatook, Oklahoma.

As I said, I love bluegrass!

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