Last night was the final concert of the season for the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman. I've really enjoyed the series this summer and it's been a pleasure to be introduced to so many great groups and to hear such a wide variety of bluegrass. To tell you how much I enjoyed it, I was hoping last night I'd win one of the three sets of tickets to the big bluegrass awards show that takes place later this year so I could hear some of these acts again (Cadillac Sky not withstanding).
The evening opening with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Best act of the evening and could be one of the top three or four acts of the entire series. They did a great set and then their encore number that was an acapella number. Just incredible. I went up to look into buying a CD but the crowd was stacked dozens deep to get up to the table. Also, most of their stuff is on their new CD that comes out in two weeks. I'll definitely be picking up one.
We had an intermission and I assumed we'd get Mountain Heart next. Instead, we got the Grascals. I was kind of surprised by this (I thought they were the bigger headliners...but maybe that's because I'd heard of them) but went with the flow. I will say this--everything I've heard about the Grascals and how good they are, they more than lived up to. One song in particular of "Me, John and Paul" was superb.
That said, the Grascals show wasn't nearly as enjoyable at the first set for one big reason--the fans of the mandolin player. One woman in particular, who sat about three rows behind us. Every time he did anything, she screeched in such a loud, piercing voice that is began to ruin the show. I almost began to dread that he'd show off or sing or look at the audience or smile for fear she's let out her loud war whoop that could, quite frankly, have peeled paint off the walls. I appreciate her enthusiasm and I honestly didn't mind that much the first two or three times she showed the enthusiasm. But the entire show--come on! Show some respect for your fellow audience members and maybe recall that you're at the Ryman, not a stadium or outdoor venue. I wasn't the only one bothered by her--a guy behind us had to move to get away from her and some people who sat near this section of Grascals fans were forced to move seats. Why you ask? Well, it appears the Grascals fans were only there for one thing--to hear their group. And so they talked through the entire first set of Steep Canyon Rangers. Loudly, apparently. I just find that a bit rude. You'd react negatively is someone talked loudly or ruined your enjoyment of the show by the group you were there to see, so could you not, maybe show the same respect to everyone else there?
I hate to say it, but a couple of fans took away a lot of my enjoyment of the overall set by the Grascals. And let me say again--they were great and I can see why they're so heralded and praised and respected.
Finally, we Mountain Heart, who were good but didn't do as much for me as the other two bands of the night.
Overall, the series was a great one at the Ryman. It turned me onto some new favorites in the music world and outside of a few hiccups, it was a great series of shows. I'm glad to hear it will be back next year and I'll definitely be getting another season ticket.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/27/2007 10:28:00 AM