We’ve had a great summer. We visited Mickey’s Mountain for the first time, appearing at their July festival (they have festivals in June, July, & August each year) and did well enough to be booked back for next year. By the way, aside from a great location, nice covered stage area, and warm hospitality, they serve the greatest concession food (roasted whole chickens, steak, etc.) I have ever had in 30+ years of festivals I’ve attended. Hats off to promoter Calvin Mickey and thanks for inviting us back (make plans to join us on July 11-12, 2013). We left Mickey’s Mountain and made a beeline (7 hrs) to Ramseur, NC for a concert by the lake and were surprised and happy to play for an audience that included our new extended family (our daughter’s in-laws).
Later in July, we enjoyed one of the great musical experiences we’ve had in our many years of performing when we hosted a 40th Anniversary Show celebrating 40 years since the opening of the Mountaineer Opry House in Milton, WV. A big crowd turned out and they were treated to an all-star Grand Ole Opry-style parade of performers that totaled over 25, birthday cake for 200, and even Opry House proprietor Larry Stephens took the stage to sing one. The show concluded with an on-stage jam including a 5-banjo salute (with 3 former WV state banjo champions), and the audience was entertained until about 11:15 p.m.
Labor Day Weekend marked a major milestone for us, as it was 30 years ago on Labor Day weekend, 1982, that Valerie and I called Willard Reynolds (mandolin) and Mike Smith (bass) and asked if they wanted to go enter a band contest that was being put on nearby. After entering the contest under the name “Newgrass Reflections” and winning first prize ($750), we decided to form a band. After a little more thought, we adopted the name “Steadfast”, suggested by Lola Gabehart (my mother), and began what has become a musical partnership of 30 years and counting. Over the past 30 years, we have visited so many places, made so many new friends, experienced so much, and have been blessed to have enjoyed the opportunity to have so many great musicians as a part of our group. Each one holds a special place in our hearts. Here’s looking forward to the next 30 years.
Upcoming shows include our annual trip to Tamarack (it’s a great reason to take a Sunday afternoon roadtrip and enjoy the great food catered by the Greenbrier), and another trip to North Carolina for food, fun, and fellowship at the Kudzu Festival. Closing out the month, we’re looking forward to getting to combine a visit to one of our favorite places, Nashville, staying and spending the week with our daughter in her new home, with the mixture of business and fun that is the IBMA World of Bluegrass. Everybody that is anybody in the world of bluegrass (hence the name) descends on Nashville to spend the week networking, performing, seeing and being seen, and we will be doing both. We are excited to have the opportunity to perform at the historic Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop on Broadway, home of the Midnight Jamboree broadcast every Saturday night on WSM after the Grand Old Opry. Plans are underway for a new recording and we hope to have an announcement with more details after we get back from Nashville. Stay tuned!