Monday, August 28, 2006

Pasture Pickin' - what a time!

I had the pleasure of spending this past Friday afternoon through Sunday morning at the Pickin' in the Pasture festival in Lodi, NY. This 9-year-old festival held in a little farming community in the Finger Lakes Region might just be one of the Northeast's best (and best-kept secret) BG festivals. Andy and Susan Alexander (shown here with son, Jesse, on the mandolin) open their farm and home -- literally -- every year to some of the greatest talent in Bluegrass, seemingly with an emphasis on the more traditional-sounding performers. While the weather was not the greatest -- temperatures in the upper 60s through lower 70s -- for the most part, it didn't rain during the day, and the crowd seemed to be having a wonderful time. What more could you want? While all of the performers were outstanding, the ones I saw who really seemed to draw the most crowd response were the Steep Canyon Rangers (finalists for IBMA's 2006 Emerging Act of the Year), the Grascals (winners of 2 IBMA Awards in 2005, including Emerging Act of the Year), David Peterson & 1946 (including Mike Bub on the bass and Charlie Cushman on the banjo, as well as the fun-to-watch-sing combo of Dave P. and mandolin player Mickey Boles), and, of course, the unofficial "host band," Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass. For those who like to keep score, Bob and/or Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass have played each of the 9 PIP festivals. I didn't get to see the Lewis Family or James King on Thursday, but I'm sure they were received warmly by the crowd, too.

Even though this festival is not terribly close to New England, the lineup more than made up for the hassle of driving 6+ hours each way. Congratulations and thanks to the Alexander family for a wonderful time, and we'll look forward to seeing what you have to offer in 2007!

Amy O.

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