Back for a second straight year as the headliner for the Rolla Lions Club’s Bluegrass and BBQ, Claire Lynch introduced songs from her band’s “Dear Sister” CD that was just released May 28.
The twice-named “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), who has also been nominated for a Grammy Award twice, sang the title song and other numbers, including “Once the Teardrops Start to Fall.”
“How do you like the band?” Lynch asked the audience after one tune, and then she gave her own assessment: “They’re wonderful.”
In his introduction of the band, emcee Wayne Bledsoe, host of three bluegrass programs heard weekly on KMST-FM and online at www.kmst.org, noted that Lynch in December added another prestigious award to her long line of kudos by winning the 2012 USA Walker Fellowship and a $50,000 grant.
Lynch performs more than bluegrass. Some of her work could be described as folk, jazz, even rock. She described one of her songs as “funk-country.” She closed her first set with “Stranger Things Have Happened,” a swing tune with excellent fiddle work.
She teased the audience by saying the band wants to make a CD of nothing but swing tunes. Whether that will come about remains to be seen.
Bledsoe described The Claire Lynch Band as “all-star musicians.” In addition to Lynch, the band includes Matthew Wingate, who plays guitar and mandolin, bassist Mark Schatz and Bryan McDowell, who plays fiddle and mandolin.
Opening the festival were Beverlys Hillbillies, a local band, followed by Lonesome Road, a regional band.
In the crowd was Ray Hicks, longtime bluegrass radio host in Rolla. Hicks hosted the Saturday Morning Bluegrass Show on KCLU/KMOZ for many years. When those stations sold to out-of-state investors, who changed the call letters and the format, the out-of-staters fired Hicks.
To the delight of bluegrass fans, Hicks was immediately snapped up by KTTR FM/AM for a 9 a.m. to noon Saturday Morning Bluegrass Show, which continued until he suffered a stroke in early 2011.
Bledsoe introduced Hicks to the audience, and he noted that not only was Hicks active in local and regional bluegrass music appreciation and promotion, Hicks worked to enlarge the music’s national and world audience.
“He was one of 12 people” who got together to lay the groundwork and form the IBMA in 1985, Bledsoe noted. The IBMA is a trade association that has grown to include an annual awards program for individual musicians and bands, business conferences for musicians and a hall of fame.
The Bluegrass and BBQ festival organizers in the Lions Club decided to charge a $10 admission fee this year, which included a book of drawing tickets for the annual car giveaway that will take place at the Fourth of July Carnival. That book of tickets sells for $5.
Page 2 of 2 - There was plenty of food for sale, too.