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Posts Tagged ‘Visulite’

Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry from Acoustic Syndicate has put together a new version of the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with a host of several hot pickers from the Asheville area including Jason Flournoy on banjo, Billy Cardine on dobro, Jay Sanders on bass, and Robert Greer harmonizing vocals and on guitar… They will debut this February on the 11th at the Visulite in Charlotte and the 12th at Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain!

Tim Jackson with the Laurel of Asheville did an interview with Big Daddy last week. Here is a bit of it:

Big Daddy Is Back

Tim W. Jackson: Photo by Adam Schultz

thelaurelofasheville.com

Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry is well-known in Western North Carolina as part of the bluegrass group Acoustic Syndicate. Some may remember his side project of a few years ago, the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band. Now Steve has formed a new version—”the next generation”—of the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, most of which are Asheville-area players. . .

It’s been more than five years since any version of the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band has taken the stage, so Steve says he’s excited about performing with this new lineup.

“This is a youthful, exciting, high-energy version of the band,” Steve says. “We’ve had a ball practicing together so we’re ready to finally get out and bring this music to an audience. The caliber of these young pickers is very exciting. It gets my blood pumping, and I think it will have the same effect on the audience.”

As for the music, Steve says listeners won’t hear “your standard Flatt & Scruggs bluegrass show.” About a third of the songs will be originals mostly written by Steve. Other songs will be more obscure selections. “We don’t want to play the same songs you can hear anywhere,” Steve says.

In addition to Steve, the other band members include some names that Asheville-area music fans are sure to recognize: Billy Cardine on dobro, Jason Flourney on banjo, Robert Greer on harmonizing vocals and guitar, and Jay Sanders on bass. Cardine and Sanders, of course, are Steve’s mates in Acoustic Syndicate. Flournoy is formerly of Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, while Greer is known as the front man for Asheville-based bluegrass group Town Mountain.

. . .    . . .    . . .”If you come see us we promise a high-energy, rumpus evening with a few tender moments in between,” Steve says with a chuckle. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://thelaurelofasheville.com/performing_arts/big-daddy-is-back

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Acoustic Syndicate is excited to announce that they will be returning to the Visulite Theater in Charlotte, NC on December 17th & 18th for their annual holiday show! Joining them will be very special guest & long time friend and collaborator, Jeremy Saunders on saxophones! That being said, the mix of the McMurry ClanJay Sanders on bass, Saunders on sax, and Syndicate’s newest addition to the group, Billy Cardine on dobro, along with all the new tunes… This show is going to ROCK!

Here’s a nice video featuring Saunders on Sax from the Visulite in 2007:

Now imagine that with Cardine’s blistering dobro for the first time ever and you’ve got two historical Syndicate nights!


…And to think it all began from a simple Chritmas gift
in December of1977 when Joe and Fitzhugh McMurry, a couple of brothers from Cleveland County, NC got together and decided to get their kids bluegrass instruments for Christmas that year. The kids were brothers Fitz Jr. and Bryon McMurry, and their cousin Steve McMurry. Fitzie, as he was known back then, got a Gibson Hummingbird guitar. Bryon got an Eagle banjo and Steve got a fiddle from Sears & Roebuck. All were excited and happy.

Skip forward some years, lots of parties, & lots of bars later and in 1994 the band caught the attention of Steve Metcalf of the world famous Green Acres Music Hall, in Bostic, NC. He featured them at “The Acres” on a couple of big bills like David Grisman and Bela Fleck. In 1997, the Syndicate added Nashville bassist, Jay Sanders, formerly of the Snake Oil Medicine Show to their line up to complete the Syndicate core. In 2001 Syndicate added Jeremy Saunders on saxophones. The rest is a matter of record.

Acoustic Syndicate plays on with its message of peace, earth, unity and family. Come on out and celebrate the holidays with friends & family at the Visulite for 2 nights in December!



Show Details at a Glance:
ACOUSTIC SYNDICATE
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Visulite Theatre
Show starts at 9:45
Doors open at 8:00
$15 adv, $17 day of show

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by Monty Chandler

October 23, 2:38 PM

Charlotte Music Examiner www.examiner.com

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge @ the Visulite Theatre         © Monty Chandler

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge @ the Visulite Theatre © Monty Chandler

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge brought their world class Bluegrass performance to Charlotte’s Visulite Theatre thursday night. The show featured Larry Keel as the master guitarist; his talented wife Jenny Keel on the Upright Bass; long-time friend, associate, co-writer and Mandolinist Mark Schimick; Louisiana native and Banjo master Jason Flournoy.

As a group, Larry and the Natural Bridge members have spent much of 2009 touring and promoting their latest CD release “Backwoods” which has met with critical acclaim across the Bluegrass and Americana national music scene. These guys drive bluegrass to the edge with their song selection, unique material and technical competency on their instruments – man that just doesn’t even cover how good they are!

Photos of Larry Keel & Natural Bridge’s Visulite performance.

Before the show, I sat down with Larry for a short chat while he waited for his to-go dinner to arrive at the Visulite. Life on the road – arrive, unload gear, perform sound-check, grab a bite to eat, deliver the goods in a solid performance – and fit an interview in there as well. Larry was extremely gracious with his time, grounded in his interaction, and thoughtful of the people who make what he does possible.

Larry Keel @ the Visulite Theatre by Monty Chandler

Larry Keel @ the Visulite Theatre by Monty Chandler

Larry has a fun-filled, yet busy, calendar planned for the remainder of 2009 with the Jourma Kaukonens Guitar Camp at the Fur Peace Ranch beginning later in October. Larry supports the Camp as an instructor and mentor for novice and accomplished guitar players alike. Following that the band has 6 shows within the Virginia / Carolina area, several with Tony Rice, before heading over to the Pacific Northwest for 5 shows at the beginning of December. Larry Keel & Natural Bridge will close this year and begin the next with a New Year’s Eve celebration in Asheville, NC.

While bluegrass music has traditionally had an appeal to people of all ages from 18 to 80, I wondered about Larry’s views on the growth of the genre within today’s technology era. He’s already seen the changing dynamic involving trends in music sales transitioning from physical CD’s to online download. Larry shared, “Everything from marketing to sales to production is changing rapidly. Youth today don’t buy CD’s. They buy the song digitally and integrate it with their other devices. The internet helps drive visibility to the music, let’s folks experience it to know if they like it. ” With an audience that also listens to everything from Nine Inch Nails to Hip Hop to Reggae, Larry believes that bluegrass’ appeal is in its own diversity within the genre. “The young folks like the high energy songs and instruments used in bluegrass music. Technology allows for availability of the music and peoples access to that music”.


As a recognized flat-picking guitar master, song-writer, and band leader, Larry shared his thoughts about his roles as performer, teacher and student.    As a performer Larry feels it’s his responsibility to give it his all – “a selfless performance leaving everything on the stage”. Performing is Larry’s avenue for communicating his soul via a spiritual performances. As a teacher Larry gets “enormous pleasure from watching the student and observing their habits while providing them guidance in their achievement of what they want as a player”.  His role is to help them get better. Passing on what he knows and experiencing their joy brings Larry great satisfaction. As a student Larry feels he is in constant learning mode. It’s through “observation of others, from a solo singer performing in excellent tone, to Clapton’s range and rifts on his guitar, to listening to U2’s Edge. Observing how they achieve the emotions and communications of the point they are trying to get across in their music” that Larry continues to expand his music and appreciate others creativity.
Larry Keel @ the Visulite Theatre by Monty Chandler

Larry Keel @ the Visulite Theatre by Monty Chandler

This has been a very good year for Larry & Natural Bridge. Even with the recent release of their newest CD “Backwoods”, the band continues to work on fresh material with approximately 15 different songs under development. With several songwriters in the group, each knows what may fit the bands vibe and brings what they think will work to the table. This keeps it lively for everyone. Larry promises “fresh material throughout 2010”. An indepth article in Bluegrass Unlimited should be out in the February timeframe. He’s looking forward to working closely with Tony Rice and Peter Rowan throughout the year on new material. There’s even a “possibility” that we’ll see a new CD release from Kellar & The Keels in 2010. All new material – let’s keep our fingers crossed for that little prediction to come true! Larry also plans to stay active in the festival circuit next year. It’s his way of keeping in touch with all of the fans of bluegrass music – “shaking hands and meeting people is what it’s all about”. By far the thing that has Larry most excited at the moment is the work he’s doing with a project called Fishin’ & Pickin’. With fishing being his favorite past-time and along with mountain living brings him the balance needed in life, Larry explains that he “needed a way to turn the tables of Jenny’s insistence that pickin’ come before fishin’.   Best way to do that is form a company that allows for both”. The objective of this project is to integrate Larry’s expansive knowledge of everything fishing, from the how to the why to the where to the what with, Larry hopes to produce video with tips on the aforementioned aspects of the fine art of fishing. Putting the content on a Website (Fishin’ & Pickin’) that would feature fresh releases of music video every 30-45 days, pickin’ tips, and highlights of upcoming music events, as well as tackle tips and video of fishing trips to places like Alaska, Belize, Idaho, and Perry, GA. There’s a sparkle in Larry’s eye as he describes his vision for this new endeavor – with that passion there’s no doubting its success.

Photos of Larry Keel & Natural Bridge’s Visulite performance.

In closing our chat, just as Larry’s dinner arrives, he made it a point of asking me to include a humble “thank-you” to all the people who come out to the shows and support live music in their community. That’s what makes it possible for folks like him to do what they do and for the shows to exist.  For one, I’m glad he does it all!

Keepin’ it live,

Monty

Click to view a slideshow of Monty Chandler Photographs of LKNB

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October 7, 7:55 AMCharlotte Music ExaminerMonty Chandler

Larry Keel - Photo by: © Just1Jenn

Larry Keel - Photo by: © Just1Jenn

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge will be performing at The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte on October 22nd ’09. The second studio project from the legendary flatpicker Larry Keel and his talented acoustic band ‘Natural Bridge’ is now available and will be featured as they perfom on this leg of their tour.

The CD titled “Backwoods” features 7 original compositions of the 10 tunes emphasizing explosive Bluegrass and Americana music. Keen penned 4 of the tunes while Natural Bridge’s mandolinist Mark Schimick contributed 2 tunes to “Backwoods”.

With “Backwoods”, Keel and his band deliver one of the most powerful performances heard in Acoustic American music. Make plans to see them deliver one of those performances on the 22nd at The Visulite!

Check back here shortly after the show for an update with an interview with Larry and the band as well as photos of the show!

Keepin’ it live,

Monty

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