by Charlie Hansen
Well we finally ended our winter stay in Florida and arrived home to less than friendly weather. I have no idea why we expect better but we always do.
The last musical event that we attended was the Sertoma Youth Ranch spring festival. This festival isn’t their best festival of the year but we were pleasantly surprised by the lineup that they had.
We went up on Friday of the festival with no great expectations as what we would see but the atmosphere at Sertoma is worth the visit. Tall pines surround the concert area which boasts a brand new pavilion that has been built since our last visit a couple of years ago.
The folks are friendly and you meet people that have been involved in bluegrass on the national scene for many years—many as DJs, promoters or musicians.
The show started at 12:30 pm and lasted until about 5:30 when we took our leave and headed back to Zephyrhills.
The opening act was a band by the name of K’Lynn and her bluegrass friends. Although called friends the band turned out to be her enemies and did not support her one bit. The young lady has some potential but certainly was not ready for main stage and was not helped by her “friends.” All in all not very good.
Palmetto Bluegrass were next and showed why they’re a staple in central Florida. Although not spectacular they are all veterans and can pull a show together very well.
The surprise of the show for me was a group called Highway 41 South. They have been together for a few years and have played extensively in the central Florida area which, by the way, is a hot bed of bluegrass. I saw this band a couple of years ago and I was about to go to the food concession when they were announced but on the way I heard them play a couple of tunes and went immediately back to my seat. They play well, sing well, have great harmony and above all are extremely entertaining. They have a good rapport with the crowd and cut up just enough on the stage to let you have a window into their world.
James King was on next and, although I’m not a great James King fan, I think this was the best show that I've seen him do and I have seen many James King shows. Just enough chatter, some great musicians and all in all a great show.
The reason I came to Sertoma was The Crowe Brothers and they didn’t disappoint. They do lots of great traditional mountain music harking back to the days when they were part of Raymond Fairchild and The Maggie Valley Boys. Just great music well executed, perfect brother harmonies and that feel of Jim & Jesse, The Louvin Brothers, and The Delmore Brothers. All in all I couldn’t have been happier. I’d like to see them at Rollo Bay. They would be a hit for sure.