The Fletcher Brothers Festival, Ball Play, Alabama
Heather Robin, is currently on a tour across the southern USA and is attempting to take in some 8 states while writing and playing music and broadcasting her radio show the Bluegrass Downunder Show on worldwidebluegrass.com.
Heather has kindly agreed to keep us posted on her travels. Thanks Heather.
During my stay in the States, Alabama band, Bluegrass Blvd asked me to join them for their set at The Fletcher Brothers Festival at Ball Play Alabama. I headed on over to Alabama from Georgia with Bluegrass Blvd’s Mandolin picker and singer Carl Towns, and his father (aka Diddy) Joe. We would have been a funny sight in Carl’s old van heading down the Highway towards Alabama, Joe pickin’ his banjo in the back and me choppin’ my mandolin in the front and us all singing bluegrass standards.
Alabama has beautiful countryside, as does most of the south eastern states with farmland and mountains and it’s all very lush and green even in summer. The Fletcher Brothers festival is not a large festival but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character. The people there are genuine good old country folk, and the standard of picking and singing was excellent. Our Set was closing out the Saturday Night Concert and we had a good sized appreciative crowd, and all I spoke to afterward had enjoyed the festival. We jammed some with the locals and gave our boys an opportunity to warm up then headed on stage for our set.
Bluegrass Blvd, which is based in Fort Payne Alabama, is made up of Scott Cole on banjo and Jerri Cole on bass and both on lead vocals, Elliot Varner on guitar and harmony vocals and Carl Towns on mandolin and lead and harmony vocals. Their sound is driving and banjo driven and both Jerri and Carl are strong vocalists. Our set was well received and I was asked back on stage for an encore, the people were warm and really delighted that Bluegrass played in Australia.
My closing memory of the festival is watching one of the festival’s prizes being driven off the festival grounds in a golf cart. The prize being a giant watermelon, which festival goers had the opportunity to try and guess the weight of. The closest guess won the watermelon, all 102 pounds of it! Now that’s some watermelon right there. – until next time, Heather Robin
You can hear Bluegrass Blvd on their Myspace page. The Band recently recorded a CD which is now available via http://www.carltowns.com/store