Eric 2010/08/06 8:48am

Playing the Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta, gave us chance to stay in one place for three days straight, something that hasn't happened in some time. Most of the bands were there all three days as we were, so we were able to participate in all sorts of after-hours jamming with all the bands staying at the same hotel. We joined forces with Claire Lynch and her cast of all-star pickers for a good deal of the weekend. Claire could sing the phone book and I'd be happy hearing it, but it was fun hearing her sing songs from the likes of Don Gibson and Flatt and Scruggs. The festival itself was run like a well-oiled machine, this being its twenty-fifth year. The staff takes pride in being accommodating, and we couldn't have been happier. The audience was so appreciative, making us want to return to Western Canada a soon as possible.

We had never hung out with Rhonda Vincent much, despite crossing paths many times with her the last dozen years or so. I had admired her music and also her work ethic, witnessing her standing in blazing temperatures signing autographs for an hour and a half at Gettysburg until the line finally subsided. However, we'd never really had the opportunity to talk much until this weekend when Leigh staked our merch table next to hers. She and her mom Carolyn worked her table for all three days as we did. She was so friendly and approachable, taking picture after picture. She is a superstar in the bluegrass music world, and I saw no evidence that any of it has gone to her head. In fact, I came back to the table after playing a show to find her selling Gibson Brothers CDs for us! She and her mom also volunteered to do a vocal workshop with us at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday after she'd already done a mandolin workshop. On late Sunday afternoon, George McKnight announced from the stage that there would be a supper break and that the music would continue in an hour. Carolyn said, "We should jam and keep the energy up." Rhonda took her lead and said, "Yeah, we should. Do you guys wanna play?" Of course, we did. We're talking about a person who has won every conceivable award our music has to offer going way above and beyond the call of duty all weekend-long. For the next hour, Mike, Leigh, and I jammed with Rhonda, Carolyn, Brian Vincent, and Hunter Berry. A large group gathered in the merch area to listen to us, and I do believe the fun we had added to the overall energy. I came away from the festival even more impressed with Rhonda than before. She has earned everything she has. Not only is she extremely blessed with talent, but she's a smart businesswoman who will not be outworked. We're fans.