The Ola Belle Reed Festival
So last week's theme was Swingtown, a jazz enclave nestled in the midst of the Galax old time fiddlers' convention...and this week the theme is Roan Mountain Hilltoppers (an authentic mountain old time string band featuring primitive fiddling and a washtub bass) and the Ola Belle Reed festival being held in Lansing NC this Friday through Sunday. I'm heading that way from here in the Birthplace of Country Music (Bristol Virginia), stopping off to see some old friends, the Hilltoppers in Roan Mountain, then over to Becky in North Wilkesboro, then up to Lansing NC for the festival on Friday. Bill Birchfield, who normally plays left-handed fiddle is shown above playing a right-handed guitar which he holds upside down and backwards. Notice how he also plays overhanded -- and he strums UP instead of down. Despite his unconventional approach he manages to pull a lot of sound out of a dreadnaught guitar.
Some of my favorites will be performing there - if I had to choose one all-around musician in the world whose body of musical choices, voice, picking and songwriting I adore most, it would have to be Tim O'Brien and guess what! Tim is featured at the Ola Belle Festival. To add further incentive, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, my current favorite bluegrass band, will also be there on Saturday. And some very fine old time bands are playing there as well, so I see it as a festival I can't miss. If you're in western North Carolina or the surrounds it might be a good idea to get yourself down to hear Tim and Danny and the Lundy boys, too. Whatcha got to lose? Check out the website at http://www.olabellefest.com/ ; it's gonna be a good'un.