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Thread: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

  1. #1
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    Default Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    My column in No Depression this week takes up the importance of local bands and pickers as the core of the popularity and continuance of bluegrass music. While we all love the great touring bands, many of us treasure the jamming culture and the vibe of the bluegrass festival. I used examples from formerly local groups as well as ones which remain primarily local and regional as examples. I'm always interested to hear what you have to say about my columns. - Ted

    http://nodepression.com/article/lets...it-local-bands

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Ted, I am always puzzled as to why the promoters of places to play will not give a local band a shot, I had one owner say he would book my band if I could guarantee to draw 200 people, I told him that I didn`t know any band that would say they could, I asked about getting a opening act shot and was told that he don`t do that...I tried to explain that my band does have quite a few followers and they would come out to listen and probably become regular customers but he wouldn`t buy that...I also so know that he does book some bands that don`t draw anywhere near 200 people and he said that they play for a smaller fee than the "big name" bands, I tried to tell him that we would play for a lesser amount also and if he didn`t like what we did we wouldn`t expect him to book us again but if he and the crowd did like what we did than the next time we played we could come to an agreement on how much to get paid, this place is not right around the corner so as far as time goes it would take my band members about 1-1/2 hours to make the trip, one way.....I used to get booked on a local festival quite a bit but now days the festival even though it is still called "Bluegrass" doesn`t book any real traditional bluegrass bands and the last time I was there it only had a hand full of customers and in past years it was always hard to even get a camp site or parking place closer than 200 yards from the stage area, plus the sound people are not that good for acoustic music such as bluegrass...Festivals seem to be less every year in this area...

    Thanks for letting me sound off.....

    Willie

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Ted, I went on your web site and on the first video there was three of my friends playing, which I assume was at the Beltsville Tavern where I used to go and listen to them and also played there myself many times, Buzz Busby, Tom Mindte on bass and Lucky Saylor on guitar, good pickers and nice people to hang with....

    Keep up the good work...Willie

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    We have a bunch of bands that do bluegrass and near-bluegrass, playing around Rochester: Blue Ridge Country Ramblers, Group Therapy, Crooked North, Brothers Blue, String Theory, Dady Brothers, Bristol Mountain Bluegrass, and a few more I can't call to mind offhand. They play clubs, local or regional festivals, private functions; they give programs in libraries, seniors' residences, town concerts, schools. None of them, as far as I know, are full-time "professionals." Sometimes they may catch an opening gig for a national act passing through, though we're surely not a regular stop on whatever "bluegrass circuit" may exist. There are also a few regular BG jams around, and weekly bluegrass "open mic" evenings in local music clubs.

    I'd venture to say that almost everyone in our area who has heard live bluegrass, heard it from a local band, at least for the first time. And whichever local or regional musicians have gone on to play bluegrass as pros, cut their teeth in one of those bands. Bluegrass remains one of the music genres that thrives on broad amateur and semi-pro participation, and that's seems true even here, far from its origins in the Southern mountains.
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    What a great column. Thanks for sharing this, Ted.

    Rich

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Thanks for your input, Willie. I don't think your situation is unusual. Some of the All-Star festivals are doing quite well - Palatka, Pickin' in Parsons, but small, local festivals seem to be failing faster than they can be replaced. Part of it appears to be simply the native conservatism of the promoters. All they know is butts in the seats, and they are highly risk averse. The business remains highly competitive, and, in many ways, less diverse than ever. Hope you can find some dates next summer. - Ted

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Thanks for your comment, Allen. I never think of Rochester as being a hotbed of bluegrass, so your news is welcome. I appreciate your input. - Te

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Tom, Good article. I love the "Streets of Baltimore" video as that has always been one of my favorite tunes (ever since I heard Gram Parsons' version). There is a small festival each September just over a mile from where I live in Virginia and because it is small, they do include area bands that I might otherwise not hear of or get to hear play.

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Nice article. Around here there was a time when several venues had local musicians all the time, my band played anywhere from two to five nights a week back then. Now, there isn’t a lot of demand for our style, we opened the doors for bands like “Greensky” and now we don’t get many gigs. Who knows, how it will go in another year or two, things change constantly.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    ...None of them, as far as I know, are full-time "professionals."...
    I need to amend this: John & Joe Dady are definitely full-time pros, although their eclectic mix of bluegrass, Celtic, and originals is far from the regular definition of "bluegrass band."

    As someone who started a bluegrass band in Rochester 48 years ago, and played for a half-dozen years in local venues, I know that it's not a way to make a living, but it's a way to play great music for (generally) appreciative audiences. Same as quite a few other non-mainstream musical styles.

    And thanx. Ted L, for the shout-out.
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    We have a bunch of bands that do bluegrass and near-bluegrass, playing around Rochester: Blue Ridge Country Ramblers, Group Therapy, Crooked North, Brothers Blue, String Theory, Dady Brothers, Bristol Mountain Bluegrass, and a few more I can't call to mind offhand. They play clubs, local or regional festivals, private functions; they give programs in libraries, seniors' residences, town concerts, schools. None of them, as far as I know, are full-time "professionals." Sometimes they may catch an opening gig for a national act passing through, though we're surely not a regular stop on whatever "bluegrass circuit" may exist. There are also a few regular BG jams around, and weekly bluegrass "open mic" evenings in local music clubs.

    I'd venture to say that almost everyone in our area who has heard live bluegrass, heard it from a local band, at least for the first time. And whichever local or regional musicians have gone on to play bluegrass as pros, cut their teeth in one of those bands. Bluegrass remains one of the music genres that thrives on broad amateur and semi-pro participation, and that's seems true even here, far from its origins in the Southern mountains.
    I think I've heard String Theory live. Very good musicians. I'm currently looking to get involved with a project like that, but I live about 200 miles south, and for some reason it pretty dry as far as bluegrass goes. It's actually pretty dry as far as anything that doesn't follow the new country/classic rock format.

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    The Good Old Fashioned bluegrass festival in Hollister, California every August (see website for info) has all local musicians, and there are a lot of bluegrass bands, probably unknown to most people at large. It's a great festival, and gives local bands the chance to perform on stage, bands that ordinarily wouldn't make it on stage at larger, well know bluegrass festivals.
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Here’s a shout out to our most recent BG band Midnight Skyracer from the Bristol & Bath area of England.

    Eoin



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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Nice vid, Beanzy!
    I like the “Gin of the week” banner on the bar mirror!
    Good looking band that understands how to dig in a bit!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarlifter View Post
    I think I've heard String Theory live. Very good musicians. I'm currently looking to get involved with a project like that, but I live about 200 miles south, and for some reason it pretty dry as far as bluegrass goes. It's actually pretty dry as far as anything that doesn't follow the new country/classic rock format.
    Crap! As any of you who are in bands know, coming up with a band name is the most difficult part of being in a band. I don't know why I was surprised to hear there is another band named String Theory as that's the name of one of my bands. Then I went on YouTube and found there are a lot of bands with that name. Looks like we may be the west coast String Theory band though. Hope we never meet the other band. Might have to have a pick-off or something.

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarlifter View Post
    ...I'm currently looking to get involved with a project like that, but I live about 200 miles south, and for some reason it pretty dry as far as bluegrass goes...
    Think about coming up for a western NY festival like Pickin' In the Pasture. I don't attend, but my friends do, and they describe a lot of campsite jamming. You might make a contact that would lead to something.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Banjoboy: Best thing to do in that case is to stick the word "New" in front of your name... New Lost City Ramblers, New Lee Highway Boys, you get the idea...

  25. #18

    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Banjoboy: Best thing to do in that case is to stick the word "New" in front of your name... New Lost City Ramblers, New Lee Highway Boys, you get the idea...
    Nice.

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Banjoboy: Best thing to do in that case is to stick the word "New" in front of your name... New Lost City Ramblers, New Lee Highway Boys, you get the idea...
    "New String Theory?" Doesn't make it. How about "Advanced String Theory?"
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    One of the members in our band sort of looks like Leonard Hofstadter from Big Bang Theory. I wonder if the other String Theory bands can make that claim. Kinda makes my band a leg up on other bands.

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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    My pet peeve:

    Here in southeastern CT we have a free monthly local music magazine that almost exclusively puts national artists on the cover, and does long interviews with them in each issue. Am I crazy, or wouldn't it make much more sense to put local artists in a local magazine? My thought is that if you put a local artist on the cover, that artist will take scores of those magazines to gigs, and hand them out to everyone in sight . . . therefore, more distribution, more exposure, more interest and (perhaps) more business for the magazine.
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    Default Re: Column: Let's Hear It For Local Bands

    Great article Ted ... and Beanzy, thanks for Midnight Skyracer
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