The 2nd Annual Suwannee Spring Reunion March 22-25, 2018
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL
Featuring: The Infamous Stringdusters, David Bromberg Quintet, Donna The Buffalo,
Larry Keel Experience, Dar Williams, Billy Strings, and more!
Sowing The Seeds of Music ~ Sustaining Our Community
For decades the onset of Spring meant gathering at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida for a weekend of fun, family, Bluegrass and string music. A beloved tradition continues as the picturesque grounds play host to a new take on a classic family-friendly gathering with the 2nd Annual Suwannee Spring Reunion taking place Thursday through Sunday, March 22 – 25, 2018.
Suwannee Spring Reunion 2018 features The Infamous Stringdusters, David Bromberg Quintet, Donna The Buffalo, Larry Keel Experience, Dar Williams, Billy Strings, Amy Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp, The Grass Is Dead, Rev. Jeff Mosier and Biscuit Tragedy, Jon Stickley Trio, Front Country, Roy Book Binder, Grayson Capps, Ralph Roddenbery, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Nikki Talley, Quartermoon, Sloppy Joe, Big Cosmo, Suwannee Spirit Kids, and Tania & Magic Moon Traveling Circus!
Most of these artists bring with them storied histories of epic Suwannee performances! Matching the history on the stage, long time festival creators Beth Judy and Randy Judy along with an amazing staff, are partnering with the Spirit of the Suwannee to make sure that every piece needed to make an epic weekend of music and fun is in place and ready to write this next episode for this new legend.
The theme for the 2018 Reunion is “Sowing The Seeds of Music ~ Sustaining Our Community.” This is the inspiration behind Marci Davis’s art poster for this festival with the seed packet imagery.
MORE ABOUT THE SUWANNEE SPRING REUNION PERFORMERS
The Infamous Stringdusters just won a GRAMMY the other day for their album Laws Of Gravity for Best Bluegrass Album of which NPR music writes, “Laws Of Gravity admirably demonstrates how these stellar bluegrass players are pushing the music forward.” To go along with the album the band put together a four minute mashup video of every song on it of which Rolling Stone writes, “One of bluegrass music’s key elements lies in the instrumental dexterity of its players who, when called upon, can peel off dazzling solos on their instrument of choice…. Pandolfi produced video proof of this ambitious feat, recorded live at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia… By the time the four-and-a-half minute clip closes on ‘I Run to You,’ they’ve taken an entire album’s journey in miniature.” Watch it below.
David Bromberg Quintet has been touring with The Blues The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues (produced by Larry Campbell) last year and it was listed as DownBeat Magazine’s 2017 Blues Album of the Year and stayed on the Billboard Blues Chart for 15 weeks in 2017. Bromberg’s incredible journey spans five-and-a-half decades, and includes – but is not limited to – adventures with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, and music and life lessons from seminal blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, who claimed the young Bromberg as a son. A musician’s musician, Bromberg’s mastery of several stringed instruments (guitar, fiddle, Dobro, mandolin), and multiple styles is legendary, leading Dr. John to declare him an American icon. In producing John Hartford’s hugely influential Aereo-Plain LP, Bromberg even co-invented a genre: Newgrass.
Donna the Buffalo, known for their distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable music, is heading into the studio in February 2018 to record their next album; joining forces with legendary Producer/ Engineer Rob Fraboni (Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, The Last Waltz, The Rolling Stones) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. They have been performing at Spirit of Suwannee every Spring and Fall for over 20 years!
The Larry Keel Experience features flatpicking legend Larry Keel along with his wife Jenny Keel with her rock solid bass lines as well as tenor vocal harmonies of award-winning and highly accomplished Jared Pool on mandolin and penetrating vocals. Keel is always ready to rally the musical troops and brings a fiery flare to any festival and is sure to bring up many special guests and be seen pickin throughout the festival grounds!
Dar Williams, described by New Yorker as “one of America’s very best singer-songwriters” will performing as well as sharing from her new book, What I Found In A Thousand Towns: “A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities—One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time.”
Making his Spirit of Suwannee Music Park debut performance, Billy Strings is one of the most beloved young bluegrass guitarists today. Billy Strings is taking the country by storm with his new album Turmoil & Tinfoil, which taps into a deep vein of psychedelia in Americana, referencing everything from the Dead to Sturgill Simpson, but all underlaid by Billy’s undeniable virtuosity and his knowledge of the roots of American music. Along with performing his original tunes, at Suwannee Spring Reunion Billy Strings will perform a special set of music of Doc Watson.
Amy Helm has been touring with widespread praise as a singer, songwriter, and live performer, first as a member of the celebrated alt-country collective Ollabelle and subsequently for her extensive work with her father, musical icon Levon Helm, who passed away in 2012. She released a solo album Didn’t It Rain in 2015 which also also marked the final recording sessions of Levon Helm, who acted as the project’s executive producer as well as adding his unmistakable drumming on three tracks.
Jim Lauderdale, Verlon Thompson, and Shawn Camp are all notable singer-songwriters in their own right and they have all performed numerous time at Suwannee (solo with friends and with each other).
Since 1986 Jim Lauderdale has created a body work spanning 29 albums of imaginative roots music, encompassing country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock, as well as helping pave the way for the current Americana movement. His most recent album, London Southern, came out in June 2017 and features co-writes with Dan Penn, Joan Oates, Odie Blackmon and Kendell Marvell. A longtime ambassador of the Americana genre, Lauderdale is the host of the annual Americana Music Association Awards and the weekly Music City Roots and SiriusXM Buddy and Jim radio shows and in 2016 he received the WagonMaster Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by George Strait. “I know him mostly as a songwriter; a really, really, really good hit songwriter, and I’ve been very fortunate to cut a lot of his songs over the years,” Strait said in his speech. “Like Porter Wagoner, Jim Lauderdale is a consummate entertainer, a sharp dressed man as well, a terrific songwriter and a great singer.”
For over thirty years, Verlon Thompson has been making his path as as a professional songwriter and traveling troubadour. As a solo performer, and as the trusted sidekick of Texas Americana songwriting icon Guy Clark, Verlon has viewed the world from stages everywhere from Barcelona to Binger (his hometown in Oklahoma). Along the way Verlon Thompson compositions have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson, Anne Murray, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Trisha Yearwood and many more. Equally important in his songwriting and live performances, Verlon’s guitar work cannot go unnoticed. His guitar can be heard on recordings by Restless Heart, Pam Tillis, and many more, including, and especially Guy Clark.
Shawn Camp is an accomplished instrumentalist who has accompanied luminaries including Guy Clark and John Prine who frequently backs seamless lyrics with his fiery fiddle, guitar and mandolin riffs. Shawn is also a talented producer; a skill that won him a GRAMMY nomination in 2013 and a GRAMMY win for 2014’s Best Folk Album of the Year (Guy Clark’s, My Favorite Picture Of You). The Arkansas native has earned wide respect as the top-tier penman behind #1 Billboard hits for George Strait (“River of Love”), Josh Turner (“Would You Go With Me”) and Brooks and Dunn (“How Long Gone”), in addition to the Brooks smash “Two Pina Coladas.”
Scrugg’s-style banjo picker “The Rev” Jeff Mosier is one of the earliest music pioneers who merged bluegrass instruments and traditional tunes with the magnetic energy of rock and roll, founded the jamgrass band Blueground Undergrass (BGUG) in 1998 after years of crafting his banjo skills in various bands, playing everything from bluegrass with his brother Johnny (Good Medicine) to experimental rock (Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit) to jazz-fusion (The Ear Reverents). He is also a Spirit of Suwannee mainstay and he will be playing with his new band Biscuit Tragedy.
Jon Stickley Trio is a genre-defying and cinematic instrumental trio which features Stickley along with fiddler Lyndsay Pruett and drummer Hunter Deacon, who’s deep grooves, innovative flatpicking, and sultry-spacy violin moves the listener’s head, heart, and feet. “It’s not your father’s acoustic-guitar music—although Stickley’s pop showed him his first chords when he was 12 years old. Instead, Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge, and assorted other genres—all thoroughly integrated into a personal style,” writes Guitar Player Magazine.
Front Country fashions their own take on roots music somewhere between Americana and Bluegrass, in a nether-region they’ve come to embrace as their own. Their 2017 album Other Love Songs is Front Country’s first record relying on lead singer Melody Walker’s songwriting, first and foremost. With 8 of the 12 tracks penned by Walker, and the two instrumentals composed by mandolinist Adam Roszkiewicz, it is their most original body of work yet. Round out the intensely creative band arrangement style of guitarist Jacob Groopman, bassist Jeremy Darrow and five-string violinist Leif Karlstrom, and the synergy is electric. Fretboard Journal writes, “They somehow strike that perfect blend of soaring vocals, impressive playing and interesting song choices.”
A festival favorite, The Grass Is Dead is a bluegrass combo paying homage to the music and cultural legacy of the Grateful Dead, and they have built a loyal following since 1998 from their home state of FL throughout the Eastern United States through burning live shows, and well beyond.
Roy Book Binder has the goods: the original, the bare-knuckle, the low-down… blues. Who can say they were friends with the Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson? And toured with Arthur Big Boy Crudup, Hot Tuna & Bonnie Raitt ? Roy can. He has the stories, the licks, and the mystery of timeless music in his fingers. He’s been featured on a PBS special and interviewed by Terry Gross on “Fresh Air.” When he rolls his tour bus into town, a one-man blues-fest ensues. Jorma Kaukonen says of him, “Nobody writes in the idiom better than Roy Book Binder. He is a master player, singer, writer and teller of tales? true tales… “The Book is the real dea.”
The acclaimed Alabama songwriter Grayson Capps released Scarlett Roses in 2017; it’s his first solo release in six years. Hailed by NPR for his “unbridled energy and authenticity,” Capps first emerged as a solo artist in 2005. His debut record, ‘If You Knew My Mind,’ earned rave reviews. American Songwriter declared, “Take the poetry of Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt, combine with Steve Earle’s edgy attitude and stir with a little cup of the bayou-blues (think Howlin’ Wolf) and you start to get a taste of Capps’s scrumptious gothic gumbo.” All the while he’s maintained a rigorous touring schedule as a solo artists and with his band Willie Sugarcapps.
Ralph Roddenbery’s music is a dynamic blend of Americana, roots rock, and a twist of the blues. The Charleston City Paper stated that Roddenbery has an “undeniable knack for tapping into the emotional undercurrent of his songs, many of which are just as likely to make you laugh as they are to cause moistening of the lids all within the same four minutes.” Roddenbery is a unique and impressionable singer/songwriter who has been part of the Athens and Atlanta music scene for many years.
Blazing tempos, outlaw attitude, foot-stomping intensity, acoustic wizardry. These things all accurately describe Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, the brainchild of guitarist, singer and songwriter, Brett Bass. Carving out a niche that is all their own, they include humor and dark subject matter in their lyrics, yet are fully capable of letting their musicianship do the talking with instrumental compositions. The band is a nuclear-powered freight train lead by powerful flat-picked guitar, virtuosic bluegrass banjo, twin harmony vocals and thumping upright bass. Larry Keel says of them “You want hardcore Power Grass that will drop your jaw and get your heart racing? Grandpa’s Cough Medicine delivers- fresh and dark lyrically, these guys are not scared of exploring unconventional subject matter with their truly unique presentation on acoustic instruments. It’s a thrilling musical ride, going in a whole new direction!”
Hailing from the mountains of western North Carolina, Nikki Talley’s gorgeous voice & thoughtful songs are as eclectic as the state that boasts the mountains and the sea. Along with her guitar & clawhammer style banjo, her musical partner & husband Jason Sharp adds resonant lush guitar tones as well as harmonies to round out the duo’s sound.
Quartermoon & Sloppy Joe will both be performing on stage as well as hosting some might fine campground pickin’ parties!
Who is Big Cosmo? Probably best-known as Americana music festival producer Randy Judy, co-creator of Live Oak’s annual Suwannee Springfest and MagnoliaFest, he’s also a musical cosmic cowboy who’s part Americana music evangelist, part earnest student and plain-spoken proponent of simple, sustainable living practices and universal spirituality in pursuit of wisdom & peace through music.
MORE ABOUT THE SUWANNEE SPRING REUNION STAGES & ACTIVITIES
Once again the beloved tree-lined amphitheater is home to early morning sing-a-longs and night time musical pyrotechnics from the park’s stellar cast of alumni and new favorites. There will be music on four stages including the Amphitheater, Porch, Music Hall, and Music Farmers Stages. Suwannee Spring Reunion attendees will also enjoy music in the campground with jamming at Slopryland and the Bill Monroe Shrine hosted by Quatermoon as well as camp pickin’ parties. Hands-on and performance workshops will be held throughout the weekend with a variety of artists set to perform. Placing a strong emphasis on embracing the traditions that have made the park a national treasure, there will be a wide array of arts & crafts as well as an array of culinary delights ranging from healthy to decadent in the Vending Village.
Tania & The Magic Moon Traveling Circus will lead the Kid’s Tent with music and activities, Rhonda Bell will lead Daily Yoga each morning at 9am, and folks can also experience the Park’s other many attractions including disc golf, miles of hiking and biking trails, the bat house, and the chance to venture Way Down Upon The Suwannee River.
The park itself is a place where kids of all ages can remember why they fell in love with the magic mixture of sights, sounds, and sensations that constitutes a weekend of paradise that is the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.
Tickets are on sale now. Suwannee Spring Reunion offers a multi-day Weekend Ticket that includes festival admission for four days of music, as well as primitive camping on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. SOSMP is located between Jacksonville, Florida & Tallahassee, Florida about 30 minutes south of the Georgia State line, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville and is host to a variety of events.