Eric 2010/02/15 10:04am

The Boston Bluegrass Union's Joe Val Bluegrass Festival in Framingham, MA, has always been special to us. New England is in our backyard and we've played so many shows in the region that it feels like home to us. We see people that we've known for twenty years now since we first played the Weston Playhouse in Weston, VT, a show that sparked interest in us from promoters and fans all over the region. It seemed that after we played the Playhouse, we started playing in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We've made so many friends in the region, and many of them were there yesterday in Framingham. We used to have field days around home when I was a kid, and I was reminded of that yesterday. One of the highlights of our musical career was playing the Joe Val festival in 2002 after we'd been off the road for a few years. We had made a roots country record in Nashville that never got off a shelf and had derailed a promising bluegrass career, basically disappearing after winning the IBMA's 1998 Emerging Artist of the Year Award. Stan Zdonik, one of the promoters, called me in late 2001 asking if we'd come back and play a show, that folks missed us. We hadn't played bluegrass in a few years and didn't even have a full band together. I heard myself saying 'yes' and then realized we had to get a band together. Mike Barber had been playing with us in a country roots outfit and was onboard. We heard about Marc MacGlashan through Ronnie McCoury and were lucky enough to secure him. We asked our sister Erin to come along. We didn't know how we'd be accepted, having 'left the fold,' so to speak. When we were announced on stage, the applause was so deafening that we couldn't hear ourselves play the first several bars of the opening song. It was an outpouring, and we poured back. We were relieved and on fire thanks to those New England fans who reminded us where our musical home was, in bluegrass. If that day had gone differently, we may not be playing music today. 

This year's Joe Val contained the same kind of energy that is always present at the event. I don't know how we sounded out front, but we heard so well in our monitors and felt like we were really making music. It's so nice to play when you can hear. That may sound obvious, but there are times when we just hope the pieces are falling together because we can't really hear what we're doing. Yesterday was a pleasure for us, and judging from the audience reaction, they heard what we heard. I am so proud to stand on stage with Leigh, Mike, Clayton, and Joe. They play like champs.