Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America 

Anyone wanting a full-immersion bluegrass baptism can get it this weekend simply by taking a turn around the ground floor at the Music City Sheraton, where thousands of the faithful will be gathered for the annual SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America) indoor festival, band contest and general free-for-all. A smarter move, though, is to head for The Station Inn, where nightly respite from the SPBGMA cacophony can be found in the form of three of the genre's best, all appealing to those of a more, ah, traditional bent.

Thursday night belongs to the venerable Bobby O., an Opry star for whom tradition means the days when bluegrass and country were pretty much the same. With nearly 60 years in the business under his belt, Osborne's seen it all and done quite a bit of it himself, and all you need to know about how well his world-class voice is holding up is this: When he recently guested on Rhonda Vincent's remake of his classic "Midnight Angel," he sang with her in the same high key he cut it in nearly 40 years ago — and nailed it again.

Friday and Saturday go respectively to Michael Cleveland and Josh Williams, a couple of youngsters who, despite their (relatively) tender years, are fronting their own bands with ample authority. Cleveland in particular is on a tear, with an ace band that includes the brilliant Jesse Brock (mandolin), the delightfully dry Marshall Wilborn on bass — all three of them won honors individually from the IBMA last fall — along with a really youthful banjo phenom, Jessie Baker, and longtime buddy Tom Adams, enjoying a new gig as guitarist and lead singer. But Williams is coming on strong, too, and he's got a fine, if still underappreciated band. A dazzling multi-instrumentalist, Williams holds the current IBMA guitar trophy, but as his new solo album shows, he's an equally self-assured — and maybe even more impressive — singer.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Recent Comments

Sign Up! For the Scene's email newsletters

* required

Latest in Features

More by Jon Weisberger

All contents © 1995-2015 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation