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The Gypsies Are Coming!

March 27, 2008 - Jim Price
Area fans of bluegrass music have had this Saturday night, Mar. 29, circled on their calendar for weeks.  The Hillbilly Gypsies are coming back to town.

The Morgantown, West Virginia-based quintet, widely regarded as one of the frontrunners in the modern-day bluegrass movement, will make their fourth visit to the area this Saturday night when they perform at the Duncansville VFW.  Local bluegrass group Mama Corn will open the show, which starts at 7:30 PM.

Pickin’ and a-grinnin’ since first forming in 2001, the Hillbilly Gypsies perform a mixture of traditional bluegrass, Appalachian folk and gospel music.  But this isn’t your grandparents’ bluegrass band.  These five musicians play their bluegrass with an aggressive, almost punk, demeanor; offering fast arrangements and precision chops on their instruments.  The group’s performance offers nonstop action, as all five musicians surround a central microphone, weaving in and out to emphasize their respective instruments in the mix. 

The band members are Jamie Lynn Buckner on lead and harmony vocals; Trae Buckner on lead and harmony vocals, guitar and clawhammer banjo; Jason Teel on lead and harmony vocals and bass fiddle; Ty Jaquay on fiddle, and Dave Asti on guitar and banjo.

The group will perform traditional bluegrass standards, as well as song material from their CD’s, their 2006 debut CD One Foot in the Gravy, and their follow-up from last year, Come On In.

Recently marking their first anniversary, show openers Mama Corn have generated their own healthy following of fans (dubbed “Children of the Corn”) over the past year.  Featuring John Stevens on vocals and dobro, Bruce Foor on vocals and guitar, Jeremy Nelson on vocals and banjo, Brett Fanelli on bass and Brad Floyd on mandolin; Mama Corn will perform a number of songs from the lexicons of familiar bluegrass names like Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe, as well as traditional bluegrass and folk songs.  But Mama Corn also likes to stir the pot, mixing in bluegrass takes on non-bluegrass material, such as Guns N’Roses’ “Sweet Child O’Mine,” Men At Work’s “Down Under” (as the band likes to say, “It’s country music…just from another country!”), and even songs from Michael Jackson and Black Sabbath.

A few tickets still remain, but are going fast.  Ticket prices are $15 for the general public, or $10 for Duncansville VFW members.  The remaining tickets can be obtained at City Café and Music Emporium.  Part of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania.

It’s a show that should have nearly everybody in the building stomping their feet and clapping their hands before all is said and done. 

The Duncansville VFW is located along Old Route 220 between Duncansville and Newry.  

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The Hillbilly Gypsies, during a performance at Altoona's Heidelberg Country Club in May of last year.


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