Hot Strings: Fight autumn’s chill with bluegrass
by Deirdre Long
Sep 09, 2011 | 3667 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While the weather might be cooling down, things are just getting warmed up when it comes to local bluegrass.

“In the fall and in the spring,” said Eddie Murray, the upright bass player for local bluegrass band Bent Creek . “Cause it’s too hot in the summer (to play bluegrass).

”Whether it’s a well-known festival such as the Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin’ in Wellington or the new Terrapin Creek Bluegrass Festival in Piedmont, over the next few weeks, bluegrass lovers will have their pick of some of the best music northeast Alabama has to offer.

Ahava Springs Bluegrass Gospel Festival

Sept. 9-10, Gallant (11 miles west of Attalla)

In its third year, this semi-annual festival features several family bands such as The Sparks Family of Belmont, Miss., and The Carrell Family, which hosts the festival.

“We choose bluegrass gospel and family events so people with families feel comfortable bringing their families,” said Lamilla Carrell, the mother and guitar player for the band. Her husband, David, who plays the upright bass, picks the bands because he likes “driving music, with good talent.”

The festival starts Friday, with pickin’ from 1-5 p.m. and bands performing after that. The music continues Saturday with bands from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and pickin’ from then until dark. Tent camping is available, as well as several spots for vehicle campers. Food and craft vendors will be on location, and the show goes on rain or shine. The suggested donation for Friday is $5 and $10 for Saturday, with children 16 and under attending free. After band costs, all proceeds from the festival go to the development of Ahava Springs, a facility that teaches how to use biblical leadership in the home.

For more information and directions, go to

Terrapin Creek Bluegrass Festival

Sept. 10, Piedmont (Highway 9 between Piedmont and Centre)

While the members of Bent Creek enjoy playing at festivals such as Foggy Hollow, they wanted to share their music with folks a little closer to home.

“We needed something around here locally,” said Eddie Murray of Bent Creek.

The band hosting the event, along with the Redneck Yacht Club Canoe and Kayak Rental. “It’s a good location, and we don’t play much locally.”

The music kicks off at noon with musicians such as Albert Simpson, Valley Road and Cottonmouth Creek and continues until 5 p.m., when there will be a supper break. The bands begin again at 6 and will continue until about 11 p.m.

“After that, who knows? All the pickin’ will start,” Murray said.

Primitive RV sites and tent camping will be available, as well as concessions. Tickets are $15 and children under 12 are free. For more information and directions, go to

Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin’

Sept. 23-24, Wellington (between Anniston and Gadsden on Highway 431)

Now the largest and longest-running bluegrass festival in the state, the Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin’ is still going strong, despite the tornadoes that hit part of the festival grounds on April 27.

“We lost half the barn, which serves as the restrooms and showers, and lost a lot of the (RV) hook-ups,” said Glen Williams, one of the founders of the festival. “We weren’t damaged in the music part — it stopped at the concession stand.”

Williams says it’s kind of ironic, because the Gatherin’ partners decided to drop this year’s June performance out of the usual semi-annual festival to save money. But the grounds are now back to their original shape, and are ready for the hundreds of bluegrass lovers to descend on acts such as Doyle Lawson, one of bluegrass’ greatest.

“He’s one of the most popular acts in the nation,” Williams said. “I’ve been listening to Doyle Lawson forever.”

Lawson, 67, began playing music when he was young, and met Jimmy Martin, the “king of bluegrass,” when he was 14, and later moved to Nashville and played in Jimmy Martin’s band, as well as others. From there he formed Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and the band has gone on to win many International Bluegrass Music Association awards, including Vocal Group of the Year from 2001-2006.

Other musicians performing at the Gatherin’ include Little Roy & Lizzie, Kelli Johnson and Newgrass Troubadours, among others. The shows begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 for $15 and 1 p.m. Saturday,

Sept. 24, for $25. Tent camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and directions, go to
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Hot Strings: Fight autumn’s chill with bluegrass by Deirdre Long

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