Author: Bartlett, Regina

Harmony Road
 

Lately, it's been a little difficult for me to get out and about on Harmony Road due to a pinched sciatic nerve in my back that affects my right leg and my right foot when on the accelerator of my truck and life and long drives hurt like hell.

So I did not go to the Great 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield this year. I can see from all the photos posted that you all carried on the Bluegrass Music Tradition of sharing and caring and playing well with each other! It was great to see one of my kids on Bluegrass are growing up and becoming young adults in Bluegrass! Nicholas you rock! Also great to see the musical growth happening among my friends...Mighty Fine! "Every picture tells a story and I can just hear the sweet music!"

Closer to home I had the real pleasure to meet and hear Danny Lee Davis and Alex Leach and Stanley Efaw in San Jose at Curtis Leslie and Meghan Herring's House Concert . I was proud to be the emcee and was so amazed to experience such FINE Mountain Bluegrass music! This was some of the purest Mountain Bluegrass music I have heard in a long time and it is very authentic music. Linus Tremaine played banjo on a couple tunes so at times there was double hot banjo players rocking the band! The audience was full of pickers that later on jammed until about 4:00am! It was incredible FUN. I and caught their show again Sunday night at The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz. Hello Trouble opened up for them.

Here are some YouTube videos so you can see just how thrilling their music is:
(And credit goes to Thomas Willie for uploading these videos)
She's No Angel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpE0K3YNlNk

Carolina Mountain Home
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI1PdKhzFbg

Little Maggie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwqDwOEk4aI

My Little Girl In Tennessee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8q-ZoWrJfE

Sammy Adkins
http://youtu.be/-OKhkn_p1ZY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA5Xenz0wtQ

I asked Meghan what it was like to play bass with them and here's what she said:

Our week with Danny, Alex and Stanley was a bluegrass dream come true! In just 7 days we hosted a house concert, played a 3 night run of shows, and recorded what could be the best bluegrass album of 2012.

It was an awesome opportunity to play with this particular combination of musicians and to record with such professionals. The band performed songs from Danny's previous albums as well as new original songs written before his trip to California. The musicians and fans really came together to make Danny's California tour a huge success!

Danny Lee Davis-Guitar/Vocals
Alex Leach-Banjo/Vocals
Stanley Efaw-Guitar/Vocals
Ella Naiman-Fiddle
Henry Warde-Mandolin
Meghan Herring-Bass
Pete Hicks-Twin Fiddle on the album
Jim Lewin-Recording Artist
Curtis Leslie-Producer

Danny Lee Davis, of Grayson, KY, is a former member of Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys and currently works with Sammy Adkins and The Sandy Hook Mountain Boys and The Bluegrass Mountaineers. Danny is a 4 time Grand Ole Opry performer and has played with Kenny Baker, Frank Wakefield, and Ralph Stanley II. He is a regular performer on RFD TV’s Cumberland Highlanders show.

I asked Curtis Leslie how he met Danny Lee Davis and he said that they met at Ralph Stanley's 80th Birthday Party thrown by Laurie Lewis at the Freight & Salvage. He discovered that Danny was one of the greatest Bluegrass singers he'd ever met and was amazed at how passionate Danny is about the Stanley Brother's music. Curtis then made plans to bring Danny out to California. He set him up with a cd recording at Jim Lewin's studio with some of the finest California Central Coast Bluegrass Musicians available. Of course, you all know that Jim plays with Frank Wakefield and Great American Taxi and was part of Harmony Grits and is an amazing musician too.

Curtis plans to have more House Concerts and to bring other "handpicked Underground Bluegrass musicians" out to the California Bluegrass circuit thru various venues. The Bluegrass Community needs to see more old time traditional Bluegrass mountain music without the big flashy names. He hopes that the RBA and the CBA will bring out more of the real deal gems of Bluegrass to us...but if not, he's willing to do it through his House Concerts.

Curtis and Jim Lewin took Danny Lee Davis out to lunch to the Crowe's Nest for lunch on a super warm bright sunny California day overlooking the Santa Cruz Harbor and the Monterey Bay. They called up Frank Wakefield and talked recalling the many times over 40 years that they had played together. Danny liked the Crowe's Nest and Santa Cruz. They all had a very packed schedule while they were here and…they never played with a set list!

It's very rare to meet a musician of this quality. How come we don't know about him? Perhaps because he's been content to be a sideman along side the great ones. Danny's a Family Man and has been married to his wife Susie for over 35 years and he has 2 sons and a daughter. His son Chris Davis, plays with Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. Danny lost his son Danny Wesley a couple years ago and wrote the song "Church in The Sky" for him. In this song, Danny sounds like Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Carter Stanley, Red Allen, & Jimmy Martin! It was incredible to see and hear his voice change into other voices right before my eyes! He told me he uses a thumbpick when he plays ..."just like Carter!"

I asked several friends what they thought of Danny Lee Davis:

Alex Leach
In my opinion, Danny Davis is one of the greatest singers ever! What an honor it was to get to record with him a couple weeks ago. Here is a video that me and my papaw recorded back in 2004 in Rosine KY: Danny with Sammy and the boys! Doesn't get any better folks!
Danny sings Room At The Top Of The Stairs at The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration, Rosine KY in 2004.
http://youtu.be/LA5Xenz0wtQ

Linus Tremaine, banjo player
Danny is the continuation of real mountain music. He is picking up where Ralph and Carter left off. Alex and Stanley are the next generation. I like them all!

Michael Fisher
I was totally blown away. I've been a bluegrass fan for over fifty years and I'd never seen or heard of Danny. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see him. I can't wait for the CD to come out.

Jim Lewin
Working on a record of the great Danny Lee Davis, one of the best bluegrass singers anywhere. Danny toured with Dr. Ralph Stanley for years and has worked with many of the greats. If you're in to Red Allen and Carter Stanley you'll love Danny! New record almost done and coming out soon! — with Danny Davis.

Dennis Jones
http://www.wncw.org
Danny is an overlooked jewel. I first had Chris here in the studios when he was maybe 16-17 years old. You will have to pack many bags and go a long way to find a better musician and singer. His CD was one of our Top 50 of last year.

My friend Old Red (who talks in caps!)
ROBERT HARLEY ROBERTS, www.WMMTFM.ORG
YESSSSSSS MAM
THOSE BOYS ARE THE REAL DEAL.....HARD CORE MOUNTAIN BLUEGRASS
DANNY IS A GREAT GUY AND FINE SINGER.....I HAVE SANG TENOR TO HIM,
AND HE HAS SANG TENOR TO ME AT A FESTIVAL UP HERE IN KENTUCKY.....
WHAT A GREAT TIME

AND ALEX LEACH IS A KILLER THE FIRST TIME I MET HIM HE WAS PLAYIN MANDOLIN WITH CODY NORRIS AND THE WATAGA MOUNTAIN BOYS THEY WERE LAYIN DOWN THOSE OLD STANLEY BROS SONGS......AND ALEX HAD HIS HAT ON ......LOOKED JUST LIKE A YOUNG "KEITH WHITLEY" AND AS YOU SAY REGGIE THEY CAN FLAT OUT GET THE JOB DONE......I AM SO GLAD YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS GOT TO HEAR SOME "REAL" BLUEGRASS!
" I'M GLAD THERES STILL A FEW OLD BLUEGRASS BOYS AROUND "

Matt Ringress banjo player
Danny, in my book, is possibly the best contemporary (the artist, not the quality of the voice) bluegrass vocalist, and all the young pickers there give me great hope about the future of real bluegrass.
I'm sure both Red and Carter are smiling down approving.

Well I am of the opinion that humble great guys like Danny Lee Davis need to be recognized by the Bluegrass Community. I am so impressed with this sweet Bluegrass Gentleman. Thanks to Curtis and Meghan for bringing such wonderful Bluegrass people out here and I look forward to more of your house concerts. It was really something to see my friends Ella, Meghan, Henry and Linus play Bluegrass Music with such fine musicians and to have the opportunity to sing and play with them was a slice of Bluegrass Heaven I won’t forget.

Until next time, I'll see you out on Harmony Road or at Don Quixote's this Sunday for the Mary McCaslin & Rick Shea concert or perhaps Tuesday night for the Special Consensus Show with Bean Creek opening and you’ll find me there on Thursday for Windy Hill.
 
Posted:  1/20/2012



Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email rickcornish7777@gmail.com.