National Bluegrass headliners will take the stages of the 2011 Old Town Temecula Bluegrass Festival March 18 thru 20. This is the 11th year for the event sponsored by the City of Temecula which features a dozen bands in concerts throughout town.
It features a national fiddling legend with Byron Berline and his band. Uniquely configured, the Byron Berline Band includes a drummer lending a Bluegrass and Country sound. Berline is a three-time National Fiddle Champion who turned to a musical career after earning a B.A. in Physical Education at the University of Oklahoma. Berline has a Who’s Who list of bands that he has either led or been a member. They include: Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Dillard & Clark, Dillard Expedition, Berline, Crary & Hickman, California, and the Byron Berline Band. He’s recorded with The Band, The Byrds, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Vince Gill, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs and Mason Williams.
The Byron Berline band is part of the Saturday/Sunday line up of free concerts all day, workshops in the Merc at the Old Town Temecula Theater, and jamming throughout the town.
Also performing during the weekend are Bluegrass Etc. with Dennis Caplinger, Hunt Family Bluegrass,Sligo Rags, The Girlz, Fine Line, Windy Ridge, Bluegrass Brethren and Next Generation on stage, plus Older than Dirt near Rosa's Cantina on Saturday and jam session 5 p.m. at Embassy Suites, the host hotel for the event.
The event opens Friday night, March 18, with Highway 138 playing a free concert at Sweet Lumpy's restaurant Friday at 6 p.m. and The Grascals, recent winners of the Instrumental Group of the Year at the Annual Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Awards at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
The Grascals also have their personal best Billboard chart numbers, with the current #1 Top Bluegrass Album (four consecutive weeks) and peaking at #23 on the Top Country Album chart with their newest CD, "The Grascals & Friends - Country Classics with a Bluegrass Spin." The Grascals have also won awards the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2005 and earning its Entertainer of the Year honor in both 2006 and 2007.
The Grascals embody a profound grasp of and familiarity with country and bluegrass tradition that made them a natural choice for Dolly Parton to turn to for recording and tour support in 2004. The group continues to push the envelope and, in 2010, The Grascals joined The Rowdy Friends Tour with Hank Williams, Jr. They’ve performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, Wintergrass, and the Stagecoach Festival. They’ve opened for Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn and Vince Gill. Tickets for The Grascals' concert are $20 and available at www.temeculatheater.org.
Bluegrass Etc. is a nationally known band that performs a hard-hitting show of instrumental expertise and vocal precision. Known for their energy and stage personality, Bluegrass Etc. offers two performances each day. The group tours more than eighteen countries per year, and performs more than 200 shows annually at festivals and in concert. Bluegrass Etc. consists of John Moore (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Dennis Caplinger (banjo, fiddle, vocals), and Bill Bryson (bass, vocals).
Caplinger is a multi-talented musician who has toured and recorded with a variety of top artists including Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Byron Berline, Dan Crary, Chris Thile, Sean Watkins, Kevin Welch, Ray Price, and Rita Coolidge. He has worked on countless jingles, commercials, cartoons (Pinky and the Brain) and movie soundtracks. Bryson played with the Desert Rose Band.
Hunt Family Bluegrass has been performing together since 2004. The leader of the band and father, Terry, grew up in the Ozarks of North Arkansas and learned to play the banjo and guitar at an early age. In addition to playing guitar with HFB he is the manager of the flight program at Oklahoma State University. He has recently completed his Doctorate in Aviation and Space Education. Leanne Hunt plays a 1947 Kay M1 bass with HFB. Son, Jonathan Hunt, 15, plays banjo and sings harmony vocals for HFB. Andrew, 18, plays mandolin and fiddle, and takes both lead and harmony vocals.
A Saturday evening concert at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater includes the top three daytime bands on one stage: The Byron Berline Band, Bleugrass Etc. and Silverado Bluegrass. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and tickets ($15) are available at www.temeculatheater.org.
Sunday's free concerts include Byron Berline, Bluegrass Etc., Silverado, Bluegrass Brethren, Windy Ridge, The Hunt Family Bluegrass, Sligo Rags and The Girlz.
"Pickers" (Bluegrassers’ term for musicians) jam anywhere along the rustic streets of Old Town Temecula. Old Town Merchants will place shade pop-ups near their stores to encourage jammers.
Free workshops Saturday and Sunday are held in the Mercantile and help instigate the free flow of jamming around town. Band members lead the workshops and provide the audience a chance to pick and play with their favorites. On Saturday Dennis Caplinger of Bluegrass Etc will teach a workshop on Banjo, David Burns fro Sligo Rags will teach flat pick guitar, and Byron Berline will teach fiddle. Sunday workshops include "The Family Band" with the Hunt Family Band, and Mandolin with John Moore from Bluegrass Etc.,
To visit the cultural district of Old Town Temecula take the 15 Freeway to Rancho California Road or Highway 79 south and follow the signs leading to Old Town Front Street. Public parking is free. RV parking is available in town for $30 for the weekend. Reservations are recommended at (951) 678-0831. For more information call (951) 693-3952 or visit www.temeculacalifornia.com.
(Byron Berline) http://doublestop.com/byron.php