Friday, November 20, 2009

Missouri Bluegrass At The Star

Last Saturday night we had special guest band, Missouri River, join the stage with Lost River Bluegrass at The Star Theater in beautiful downtown Willow Springs, Missouri. This was a great show that many deer hunters missed out on! Alvin Deskins, co-owner of Morgan Music in Lebanon, Missouri is the banjo player, and a regular guest at the The Star Theater with his other band, Liza Bluff (one of my personal all time favorite bluegrass bands).

Missouri River was hyped up to me to be a "high dollar" band coming to town. Jim Orchard, former fiddler with Bill Monroe, is a regular guest as well as patron at The Star, and he also hyped up Missouri River to me. Jim's band, The Ozark Bluegrass Boys, is quite a band themselves, so it means a lot to have a compliment from Jim. He knows good bluegrass.

Mr. Orchard had recommended the band from the previous month, Curry Korn, and they were truly fabulous. So, with two hyped up recommendations I was expecting quite a performance from Missouri River...

Well, Missouri River lived up to the hype. Each musician is truly a skilled master craftsmen in their trade. Banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle were all excellent. I decided to record their song set, and I will upload that music sometime and make a post about it here.

The bottom line is that you missed out on a great show if you didn't make out last Saturday night. Hope to see at the next show in December!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Apologies To The Ozarks Bluegrass Crowd

I have to apologize to you. I have not blogged on this site in far too long. I have been very busy, and I've allowed that to be my excuse. Truth is, I know I could take just a few minutes to at least jot down some thoughts after each show every month.

In fact, that is my new resolution. I plan to write up a review of the show during the show or right afterward on my drive home (I can record myself talking and then type my message from there).

Let me just say that we've had some excellent artists out to The Star Theater in downtown Willow Springs over the past several months. One of my personal favorites is Liza Bluff. They came back for a visit and again put on a great show. These folks are terrific!

Last month (October 2009) we had the pleasure of hosting Curry Korn, a family bluegrass band from near Columbia, Missouri. I never know what to expect from a family band that features a father, mother and several of their kids. Sometimes a band like that is only "cute and quaint", but not necessarily very good.

Well, Curry Korn was cute, quaint, and excellent! These folks could flat out play and sing! If you missed the show - you missed out on a great performance! You need to make a point of seeing this family band at your next earliest opportunity. They are worth it!

A special thanks to Jim Orchard for bringing this band to the attention of The Lost River Bluegrass band, so they could book them for the show. Thanks Jim! I told Jim at the show, "I don't know what rock you pulled these folks out from under... but you need to go look under that rock again and find some more!"

The oldest daughter in Curry Korn is 17 and she is a competition award-winning fiddle player. She could make that instrument sing! Plus she was also a great lead singer! I look forward to see what she does with her musical future. She will do just fine if she stays with her family band, but I wouldn't be surprised if a bigger act out of Nashville pulled her in. She is that good!

But don't be mistaken into thinking the daughter was the only talent in this band. The oldest brother was an excellent mandolin player and the father was equally adept at the six string guitar as well as the dobro. Mom was a solid bass player and a very kind lady (she was forgiving when she learned I did not have a "direct box" to plug her bass into - we aren't used to anything but pure acoustics, so a big dog house bass with an electric pickup inside was a little out of my league).

One of the little brothers also played banjo, sang a little and could clog dance! And he was only 9 or 10! They also had another younger sister and another brother. This is a big bluegrass family! Next time they come to The Star - make sure that you come to the show! You will NOT be disappointed.

Next month...
Alvin Deskin and The Missouri River Band. Alvin is a part-owner of Morgan Music in Lebanon, Missouri and an excellent musician (and his other band, Liza Bluff, is one of my all time favorites!). I can't wait to see what he's got prepared for us in November!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Two Shows From March

Here comes my excuses on why I haven't uploaded new songs or this blog for a while:

  • I have been very busy this past month with many projects at work,
  • As well as a video project for a local TV show
  • Writing & recording a song for the video project
  • Taking care of things at home while my daughter (along with mommy) was in the hospital with pneumonia (she's all better now - thank God!)
  • I was doing the dishes and laundry (really!)
OK enough with the excuses. Everyone can create a boatload of excuses - I'm no exception. I will blog and update the music soon. As for March, there were two fun shows at The Star Theater in Willow Springs, Missouri featuring Lost River Bluegrass and Jim Orchard (& the Ozarks Bluegrass Boys).

The second show was a benefit fund raiser for the Special Olympics and I believe over $600 was raised! Not bad for simply coming out to a music show for a couple of hours - and I don't know how heavily this thing was advertised in the media. I think this money was raised mainly by fans of Lost River Bluegrass and/or Jim Orchard & his crew. Thanks bluegrass fans for showing the kind of heart you all have!

I grew up as a city slicker in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I continue to be impressed by the kind of genuine concern for neighbors that I see demonstrated here in the Ozarks on a daily basis (and I lived here for over 20 years now). You folks are great!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feb 2008 Guests: Liza Bluff

I have had the pleasure of listening to many bluegrass artists over the years, as the soundman for Lost River Bluegrass, the "house" band at The Star Theater in Willow Springs, Missouri. This month's guest band, Liza Bluff, gave one of my favorite performances ever! If you missed the show, you really missed an enjoyable evening with acoustic bluegrass / folk music.

Liza Bluff is not the name of the lead female vocalist, as some might speculate (I thought so too). Instead it is the name of a bluff somewhere near where this band calls "home" (near Lebanon, Missouri). Liza Bluff is comprised of four members: guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass. The banjo, mandolin and bass players all share lead and harmony vocal duties.

What made this show great is that the band was small, yet had a full sound - so there was not a lot of "competing" for positions in the sound mix. Also, they focused on playing songs and performing them, rather than focusing on who was going to be featured for what solo during each song. A lot of modern bluegrass artists like to "show off" when they play live, in an attempt to impress the crowd, but to me its a real turn off. Liza Bluff just played their songs, focused on doing that well and connecting with the crowd. They succeeded and I had an enjoyable evening of bluegrass music.

Of course, you can catch some of the songs I recorded straight off of the mixing board, since I've uploaded them to the Live Ozarks Bluegrass website I created on Please feel free to listen and comment on what you hear.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Live at the Star Theater in Willow Springs!

Bluegrass music has a rich history in the Ozark Mountains, and in particular at the Star Theater in Willow Springs, Missouri. At some time in the future, I'll either have a guest blogger explain that rich history here, or I'll interview some key personalities and post that interview here. For now, I'll keep this inaugural blog post short and sweet.

I've been privileged to be the "soundman" for live bluegrass music at The Star Theater for the last 5 years, running sound for a band called "Lost River Bluegrass." Lost River always brings in a guest band from somewhere within the region to split the show with. Over the past several years I have had the pleasure of listening to some of the finest bluegrass bands, both famous and unknown.

In future posts on this blog I will share with you about the bands which have graced the stage of The Star Theater in quaint little Willow Springs, Missouri.