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Sparrow Quartet Final Concerts

Posted by dbrooks on Sunday, February 15, 2009

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet (Abby, Bela Fleck, Ben Sollee and Casey Driessen) closed out a celebrated chapter in their careers in Louisville this weekend with the final concert of this innovative ensemble.  On Saturday, February 14, they played to a packed audience at Ear-Xtasy recoprds, giving a one-hour free concert.  On Sunday, February 15, another sold-out house cheered the Quartet through a nearly three-hour concert.  The music was dazzling, and emotions ran high.  As Bela explained, they planned to do a year of steady concerts and now had to honor other commitments they have made as individual performers.

I also had the pleasure of meeting some of Abigail's family who traveled from Chicago and Oregon to attend the concerts.  Abby's mother told me that she has been able to catch many of Abby's concerts and loved seeing her daughter perform.  She had plenty of company this weekend.

The eclectic mix of Chinese, American folk and 30's music totally enthralled the audience.  The performers clearly enjoyed sharing the stage with one another as they traded phrases of tunes seamlessly.  Bela, Ben and Casey each had stunning solo performances as well that drew standing ovations.

After the concert, my wife and I had dinner with harry and Ann Bickel.  Harry is a fixture in the Louisville music scene whose home was open to so many Bluegrass and folk musicans in the 70s and 80s that it was called the Bluegrass Hotel.  In fact, we talked about the upcoming documentary and concert (March 20) reuniting many of the past members of the Bluegrass Alliance and Newgrass Revival who haunted Harry's place over the years.  A weekend jam and concert arte planned at Louisville' Galt House with a film, CD and maybe a book slated for a Fall 2009 debut.

What a weekend!

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