Irish reels and Negro spirituals echoed through the amphitheater at Blandy Farm during the late afternoon on Friday. Children danced and traditional folk music lovers clapped along as Morgan Morrison, Alexander Mitchell and Laura Riley electrified the audience with traditional Irish and Appalachian fiddle tunes. The Fiddle Fest was sponsored by Blandy Farm in celebration of this year’s 18thannual Arbor Fest weekend.
The spell-binding music produced by Morrison, Mitchell and Riley was even more extraordinary given that none of the three musicians had ever played together before.
“This is our first time playing music together” said fiddle and mandolin player Alexander Mitchell. “The beauty of traditional folk music is that everyone knows many of the same tunes. So when you meet another musician it isn’t hard to come up with a lot of shared music. And when you have as much musical experience as Morgan it doesn’t take long for the tunes to come together.”
Morgan Morrison, a member of the popular Furnace Mountain Band, is from Taylorstown, Virginia. Morrison adds vocals as well as plays the bouzouki, mandolin and guitar. When another member of the Furnace Mountain Band was unable to attend Friday’s Fiddle Fest concert Mitchell, along with fiddle player Laura Riley, came to the rescue.
Tunes like “I’ll Fly Away”, “Soldier’s Rest” and “Whiskey for Breakfast” generated by the trio’s spontaneous fiddling delighted the approximately 100 people that gathered for the event. As a three-quarter moon rose over the towering pine trees surrounding Blandy’s amphitheater, picnickers shared wine and dined on a delicious meal from Clarke County’s own Mr. B’s Barbecue.
With crystal clear skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies, the early fall evening could not have been more perfect for enjoying friends, family and excellent music.
The Furnace Mountain Band consists of Dave Van Deventer on fiddle and vocals, Morgan Morrison on bouzouki and vocals, Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin, and includes transient members Zach Lester on bodhran and John Flower on washtub.
The Furnace Mountain Band will be appearing on October 28 for the “Furnace Mountain Concert at The Barns of Rose Hill at 7:30 PM. Admission is $20.
View a portion Blandy’s Fiddle Fest 2011 here: