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Friday, April 15, 2011


 l to r: scott freeman, jeanette williams, johnny williams

jeanette williams

johnny williams

scott freeman

trevor watson

willard gayheart

Jeanette and Johnny Williams of Danville, Va, played at the Front Porch tonight with Scott Freeman. The three made a good trio and some good music for a couple hours in Woodlawn. What a great show. It wasn't dynamic and in your face, just good, well played, well delivered bluegrass with music flowing all the way along. It was like art bluegrass in place of sensational pop bluegrass. Bluegrass the way we like it in the mountains. We like it the other way too. In the mountains, we like bluegrass any way we can get it.

Jeanette has a stage presence of many thousands of hours of stage experience, comfortable on stage, good bluegrass singer and bass player. I've an idea she's a good woman to her man, Johnny, guitar player with Big Country Bluegass. He can pick a guitar and sing a song too. Both of them write songs and win awards with the songs they write. Again and again I feel privileged even to know about the music at Woodlawn, let alone to be there, hearing it live, raw, the real deal.

To hear Jeanette Williams and Johnny in such an intimate space is something truly special to me. Jeanette told me she loves playing for this size audience the best. I didn't count, but guess an audience of about 40 or 45. Some examples of their music tonight will be on YouTube soon. There are already several videos at YouTube of Jeanette Williams Band and some of Johnny with Big Country Bluegrass. They're not big name bluegrass, but they are certainly music worth listening to bluegrass. They both sound good on the cd player at home.

I wanted to buy one of Jeanette's cds, but Dori's new cd came available today and I made it a point to have money for Dori's if it were there. It was. I got it first thing. I want it, first, for the good music I know it is, and second, to support Dori's first effort at putting an album together, to support the artist in Dori in the early years when honest support is most needed.

Willard opened the show singing Little Red Wagon, a song he has taught me to love. It's a song I never gave a thought until I heard Willard sing it. Like Yellow Rose of Texas, I never paid that song a bit of mind as anything I wanted to hear, even as a fiddle tune, until I heard Willard sing it on the Skeeter project, the original words. Then it was a beautiful song on top of a beautiful song, double layer. And Willard's singing of it is the icing. He finished the show tonight with Little Log Cabin In the Lane. Banjo picker Trevor Watson of Lou Reid's Carolina bluegrass band was at the show. They invited him to pick 3 songs with them. He played a very respectable banjo, didn't make much of himself, just picked along with the music and did a request of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Always a good show at the Front Porch.

Jeanette has a passion and an energy on stage that flows with her music. Her long red hair stays in motion throughout the show like a candle flame in a draft. She keeps that bass going while she sings same as while she's not singing. She has a certain grace with the bass that flows with its shape, with its sound. It's kind of an oxymoron, such a petite woman and what me might call Big'n. Beauty and the beast, beauty and the bass that has it's own feminine beauty, a shadow of Jeanette's. They make a good justaposition and fit together like it was meant from the start to be.

The quick way to her website:


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