“Route 104 along the shores of Lake Ontario. The peak of Autumn’s blaze is just a memory” are the opening words to the song “Thanksgiving,” written by Carl Eddy and recorded by Creek Bend.

November is not only Thanksgiving, there are opportunities for live bluegrass too.

By Mark Panfil

Thursdays Nov. 5 and 19, Rich and Sally Schaefer, Doug Yeomans and I play from noon to 2:15 at the Sportsmen’s Tavern as the Buffalo Bluegrass All-Stars. The Hall family has gone to great lengths to ensure a very safe experience when you come to the Sportsmen’s.
On Sunday, Nov. 8, the monthly bluegrass jam session and backroom impromptu concert is taking place at the Bennington bowling alley in Bennington, N.Y., from 2 to 7 p.m.

Back in October, the International Bluegrass Music Association named the bluegrass week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, W.Va., its top event of the year. Through the years, almost every bluegrass musician looking to “drink from the well” from Canada down to Florida and all the way to California and abroad has made the trip at least once to Elkins.

Augusta Bluegrass week coordinators Neel Brown, Mary Burdette and Ira Gitlin

Doug Yeomans, Tom Martin, Carl Eddy, Rich Schaefer, Chris Panfil, Pete Mirando, Diane Johnson and yours truly have done so over 20 times. It’s an easy drive from here, about 5½ hours. Bluegrass is played and especially sung differently the further south and deeper into the hills that you travel. Congratulations to the faculty, staff and students from the Augusta Bluegrass Camp!

This October I read a story in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine about one of my favorite singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, Laurie Lewis from Berkeley, Calif. It prompted me to send away for her latest CD, “and Laurie Lewis.”

This is a collection of duets with Laurie singing and playing guitar, fiddle and clawhammer banjo with some of the most respected bluegrass musicians on the scene right now. Most of the duet partners are based on the west coast.

The opening song, “You Are My Flower,” is a Carter Family classic featuring the amazing guitar work of Molly Tuttle and Laurie. They sing in harmony throughout the song and it is simply, beautiful.

Other duet partners include Todd Phillips (bass), Craig Smith (three-finger banjo style), Kathy Kallick (guitar), Tatianna Hargreaves (fiddle), Barbara Higbie (piano) and Tom Rozum (mandolin). Not only is Laurie’s voice enough reason alone to buy this CD, her taste in song choices and arrangements is always exceptional.

Laurie Lewis

An added feature included in the physical CD is a short write-up about every instrument used in this recording. These highly collectible instruments are not spending years in the dark quiet of a vault somewhere, they are living and breathing and giving joy to all who take time to listen. All in all, this is a great addition to any acoustic music fan’s collection.

In closing, I wish you a safe journey this month and every one as we all get more used to a new version of normal. May music and especially bluegrass and all roots music be a good friend as we travel on down the road. ‘Til next time, keep on pickin’.



The Editor

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