We are placing an interactive blog on the Blue Holler Guestbook page. We will try to put most of our news there, and you can make comments on it or just sign it like other guestbooks. Our news items will be fewer and farther between during the slow economy. Then, when music jobs pick up again, we should have more to share.
LeRoy Mack has been in the area quite a bit lately, and we are extremely happy about that. His professionalism brings a tone to the group that we really enjoy, and his skill on the dobro is matched only by his outstanding character. We will always be thankful to LeRoy for the time we can spend together playing and sharing our lives with one another.
Adding Skylar Gandy on fiddle whenever we could was a huge thrill for all of us. Skylar and his brother Brandon have their own band, The Gandy Brothers, and they stay pretty well limbered up with their playing. So, with Skylar, all you have to do is wind him up and turn him loose at center stage. He will take care of the rest. Both Skylar and Brandon add a great dimension to the group when they play with us.
From 2007 through 2009 this site went through what we should probably call the Vista era, when it seemed to be a lot more difficult to do updates. We did play now and then throughout that time, but we took some long breaks during the times when we were changing personnel and trying to get back up to speed with the new guys. LeRoy Mack has inspired us to play more than we might have otherwise, so hats off to him for that. Well, actually we don't wear hats, but thanks LeRoy!
Blue Holler News Archive (Older Stuff)
After an exciting night of playing anything we could think of and telling every joke we could muster for the Beaver Motor Coach Ambassadors Club in Moultrie, we started off the summer of 2007 with a wedding rehearsal dinner concert at the beautiful Pebble Hill Plantation. Playing on the veranda, we looked out over a dreamlike setting for the happy event. This was Alex Greenberg's last scheduled performance with Blue Holler before the birth of his second child. He wants to reduce his bluegrass workload to give more time to his family, but we've told him that the bright side is that in just eighteen short years he can fall back in and start playing regular gigs again. Seriously, we'll miss Alex, and maybe we can work him into a few jobs from time to time. Aside from our memorable show with LeRoy Mack, this was the first job we played with banjo and dobro working together, because we had our buddy Travis from Alabama picking hound-dog for us. Things seemed to work out great, and we hope to keep Travis around in the future. He's got a Scheerhorn that plays like a fine sports car--not that I would know much about fine sports cars, but anyway it's really nice, and he knows how to do right with it. A good time was had by all, as the saying goes.
Saturday, March 10, 2007, was an unusual treat for us. We visited the studios of bluegrassradio.org near Moultrie, Georgia, and played live over the Internet for an hour. Station owner Clyde Scott and his wife Connie fixed us a big barbecue dinner and were just super hosts for this great evening. We did our best to do justice to the audience, although it was a new experience for us to be playing in a room with hardly anyone watching and probably over 700 people listening worldwide. Got some good responses from places ranging from Alaska to London and all in between. Bluegrassradio.org has certainly put Blue Holler's web site on the map, because our visitor traffic skyrocketed when Clyde put our site on the station's front page. We appreciate all the great exposure and the opportunity to play, and we congratulate Clyde for what he has done with the station to promote bluegrass music. We need to let our government officials know that Internet radio is important to us, and there is an urgent need to fight the undue financial burden of rapidly increasing royalties placed on Internet air play. For more information on the status of this issue, visit Clyde's site at http://bluegrassradio.org. Update: Never mind! Clyde had to shut down the web radio site because of new laws about royalties for music played on web stations. Sorry about that, Clyde, but thanks a million for your enthusiastic support of Blue Holler! And for letting us pet your mules!
Well, what in the world can we say about being invited back to the Thomasville Cultural Center on February 10, 2007, to open for the great David Davis and the Warrior River Boys. That is the group that originated the magnificent ballad, "It's Just an Old Body (Mother's Not There)," which our wives dearly love. It was such an honor to be back, and to have our friend and "big brother" LeRoy Mack singing and playing dobro with us one more time before he and Jan cranked up the RV and headed back to Cauliflowernia. We built the set around LeRoy's material from his latest CD's, and the crowd seemed to just love it. One thing that really helped was the extra sound reinforcement, so when LeRoy was doing some of his funny stuff like "A Matter of Policy" or a really touching song like "This One Belongs to Me," people could actually hear what he was saying. With the acoustics in the Cultural Center that's very important. Alan was on cloud nine for days after doing a twin dobro part with LeRoy on "Hound Dog Ramble." By request, Alex did his signature version of "Kentucky Waltz." Blue Holler is well blessed to be associated with WTUF Radio 106.3 in Thomasville for these Cultural Center shows, and we look forward to helping out any time we are needed in the future. We'll put in a plug for their streaming broadcast over the Internet too. The bluegrass show is on Saturdays from noon to 5:00 p.m., but the country music continues all week long. You can find it on the web. Go, WTUF!
The concert at the Thomasville Cultural Center on December 2, 2006, was about as close to bluegrass heaven as we will probably ever get. Hey, it was great. Four wonderful bands, each with a great show, played their hearts out and then gathered up on the stage for a great finale, with Lazy Len and Amen Charlie of WTUF Radio 106.3 on stage singing along. A special suprise and certainly the highlight of the night for us was when legendary dobro player LeRoy Mack showed up right before we opened the show, wondering if he could do a number or two. Of course we jumped on that, so he played our whole set with us. We featured him on "Amazing Grace," in which he not only did his unique version with an entire verse of chimes, but also led the audience in singing a few verses. Folks, it just don't get no better'n that. Congratulations to WTUF for a great lineup, to the bluegrass fans in south Georgia and north Florida for packing the house, and to all of our friends in the bands who played on December 2, for finishing the 2006 Cultural Center series on a high note. What a thrill it was just to be a part of it all.
The second week of November, 2006, was a milestone for this web site. It was already the number 2 (unsponsored) item on the Yahoo search engine in response to a simple search on the two words, "blue holler." Then it became number 5 on Google using the same simple search. Previously it was almost nonexistent on Google, and you had to do a qualified, advanced search just to pull it up. Well, it's hard to stay highly ranked on Google, so Blue Holler has gone back to relative obscurity, but we do want to send thanks to everyone who visits our site occasionally, and to those who have links to the site. You are helping us get a little recognition. Now we need to back it up with some good picking! As of November 7 we were still number 50 on Dogpile (rising quickly don't you know) and not yet on the radar in MSN or Ask.com--but hey, we're workin' on it. [UPDATE: On December 6 we were number 3 on Google using the above simple search! One brief, shining moment...]
Mule Day 2006 was an interesting experience. We played on a flatbed trailer in the actual Mule Show arena on Friday night, November 3, to an audience of vendors and parade participants who were there a day early for the festivites the next morning. Folks, it was cold out there, no doubt about it. Still, we were happy to be playing once we got the PA dialed in good. Extra special thanks to Ken and Virginia Miller of Ken Miller Guitars, who came up from Tallahassee to listen to us for a while. Thanks also to everyone who braved the cold, humored us through our set by staying around, and sang a verse of "Amazing Grace" with us to close out the evening. Lamar had to get up at 3:00 a.m. the next day to head out to Kansas City with his wife Susan, because of the passing of Susan's father, so we appreciate Lamar for hanging in there with us that night.
The fall festival at Pebble Hill on October 1, 2006, was just terrific. We had a great time picking away beneath a huge oak tree near the museum store. Even with the cooler weather, it was definitely rather warm on that sunny afternoon. Thanks to everyone who stayed around and listened to Blue Holler. With so many exciting things to do at Pebble Hill that day, your time spent with us and your response to the music really meant a lot to us. On top of that, we made the front page of the Thomasville Times-Enterprise for October 3!
We played at the Hillside Bluegrass Festival in Cochran, Georgia, twice on Friday and once on Saturday, September 15 and 16, 2006, as a showcase band. We also had a great practice session in the Geo-Built Star Pavilion, an acoustically designed tent with a magnificent PA setup. What a weekend! We really enjoyed it.
On July 29, 2006, the day Blue Holler was scheduled to play at CoCroft's Music in Thomasville, we got to play several songs live on the air during the bluegrass show with Lazy Len and Amen Charlie on WTUF Radio 106.3. That was really exciting, and it helped get some more folks to the show at CoCroft's that night. Thanks, fellas!
The benefit we did in June of 2006 with country band Just Us for cancer victim Brandon Brinkley raised about $1,500 to help with his expenses. We thought that was really something until we heard that his total bills were something like $400,000. Everyone had a good time though, and the family said it really helped.
The benefit for Katrina victims we did with other local bands at the Thomasville Cultural Center in the fall of 2005 raised over $5,000, and it was sent directly to the Mississippi and Louisiana area in the form of supplies in a bus to relieve the suffering of those who were most severely affected. Extra special thanks to Lazy Len and WTUF Radio 106.3 in Thomasville for coordinating the whole thing and doing a remote broadcast.