|Your Name in Lights--Living the Dream|
You might need to sit down for this, but I'm actually going to cover a 100% pure bluegrass band on this blog--and what a band they are! I've know the guys in Harbourtown for a few years now--they are somewhat of a fixture at most of the local bluegrass festivals I attend. Their camp always hosts one of the best all-hours jams; as if on a single-handed mission to keep the parking lot picking tradition alive. All the best pickers wind up there at some time during the night. I've been trying to catch one of their local shows for over a year, but somehow they always pick a busy weekend to make the trip to Southeast Michigan. A week or so back, I was FINALLY able to catch them on stage at the Kentuckians of Michigan Hall in Romulus. For those unfamiliar, this social/cultural club and hall is one of the top venues for live bluegrass in the region, hosting local and regional acts nearly every weekend. While some they have hosted some of the great names and legends in the genre, it's also a great place to catch new and upcoming bands.
|The Guys in Harbourtown|
|Versatility is the Name of the Game|
|Coffey Doing His Thing|
I was excited to learn that Coffey had replaced former front-man Chris Smith, (who has taken a hiatus to concentrate on some other projects). It's always hard to replace someone as talented as Smith, but I can't imagine the band could have done better than Coffey. I first heard John play with his band “Pushin’ the Limits”, a great local band that sometimes features his young grandson Gavin on lead vocals and mini-guitar (you can find it on YouTube and it’s worth looking for). Coffey has an easy tenor voice perfect for those high lonesome songs; the sort of voice equally suited to lead and harmony singing; a voice with real character. John is also one of my favorite rhythm guitar players (though he is an accomplished flatpicker as well and fully capable of melting the occasional unsuspecting face). He has a subtle approach to rhythm relying on rock-solid tempo and a broad dynamic range to add color to his playing. He resists the too common urge to tack on a million extra notes, instead inserting subtle runs and fills the way a great poet uses punctuation.
|Cole on the Five String|
|Fox (left) Providing Some Color During the Chorus|
|Hickman on the Bass|
|What? It's Over? Already?|