|When:||Saturday, March 5 at 7:00pm (come earlier and have your dinner)|
|Where:||Sugar & Spice Café - Poughkeepsie Plaza|
|Tickets:||Available at the Door|
From Jerry Oland:
I have personally known most of these fine musicians since the early 1990's, when I picked banjo with the Massachusetts band Bear Acker and Billings Gap. During that period we performed many shows with these folks, and I can attest they're all solid bluegrass veterans. Robert and Lillian Fraker for many years headed up the Bear Bridge Band from Western Massachusetts, and Dick Bowden is a wonderful bluegrass singer and instrumentalist from the State of Maine. Terry McGill you may recognize from the New Jersey based band Straight Drive, and Herb Applin is just about a bluegrass legend in New England. They know bluegrass inside and out, they've paid their dues, and they're from our neck of the woods. I'm excited they're traveling all the way to Poughkeepsie to perform for us, and I hope you come out to hear them.
From Bluegrass Unlimited:
Herb Applin, mandolin and fiddle. Much honored senior bluegrass performer in New England known for his startling tenor voice. From Boston, now living in Pepperell Mass. The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro KY named Herb a Bluegrass Pioneer.The Old Time Bluegrass Singers are bluegrass pioneer Herb Applin on mandolin, Lillian Fraker on bass, Terry McGill on banjo, Dick Bowden on guitar, and Robert Fraker on guitar. All contribute vocals. Applin was designated a pioneer by the IBMM (International Bluegrass Music Museum) for his work with the Lilly Brothers, Don Stover, and Joe Val, all strong roots of bluegrass in New England."Herb Applin, mandolin and fiddle. Much honored senior bluegrass performer in New England known for his startling tenor voice. From Boston, now living in Pepperell Mass. The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro KY named Herb a Bluegrass Pioneer.
Lillian Fraker, bass fiddle. Simply the best bluegrass bass fiddle player in New England, from Berkshire Co. Mass.
Terry McGill, 5 string banjo. From Bergen Co. New Jersey, known as “Mr. Straight Drive” for his hard-driving traditional Scruggs-style picking.
Robert Fraker, rhythm guitar and old time fiddle. From Berkshire Co. Mass, keeping the band “on time” and featuring obscure mountain fiddle tunes.
Dick Bowden, guitar and emcee. Dick is from Maine now living in Connecticut, with a wide background on traditional bluegrass banjo and guitar from Mississippi to Halifax Nova Scotia. Dick is a noted “Jam Master” and keeper of obscure songs all around the northeastern bluegrass music scene.
Herb Applin: Herb is the senior member of the band and the senior bluegrass performer still picking and singing in New England. As a Boston teenager, he moved from violin to fiddle after first hearing bluegrass on the radio in 1953. He soon discovered the Lilly Brothers & Don Stover and learned to play mandolin in the old Everett Lilly style. Underage, he used to sneak into the Hillbilly Ranch to listen to them, until the waitress would discover him and throw him out! Herb “filled in” many, many times with the Lilly Brothers as fiddler or mandolinist, along with his buddy Joe Val who back then was a banjo player who sometimes “subbed” for Don Stover. In the 1960s Joe and Herb indulged their love of “brother duets”, especially in the Louvin Brothers style, and they became well known in the Boston folk music club scene. Joe and Herb were the vocalists on the famous United Artists LP “Living on the Mountain” by Jim Rooney and Bill Keith in the mid-1960s, with Joe on mandolin and Herb on guitar. By the late 1960s Herb and Joe had expanded their “Val & Applin” duet appearances to a full-fledged bluegrass band known as The Old Time Bluegrass Singers, with Bob French on banjo and Bob Tidwell on bass fiddle. In 1970 Rounder Records made their first bluegrass LP, Rounder 003, with this band, re-naming them for commercial reasons “Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys”. Herb remained in the band a few years, making two LPs, until band travel conflicted with his day job. At that time he switched places with guitarist Dave Dillon of Don Stover’s White Oak Mountain Boys. When Don moved south around 1980, Herb formed his own bluegrass band, The Berkshire Mountain Boys, playing around New England, and released one cassette recording. Herb played guitar and sang on Don Stover’s final LP in the 1990s. After retiring from his career in the business world, Herb was happy to help re-form The Old Time Bluegrass Singers. Herb is known for his “startling” tenor voice and hard-driving old time bluegrass mandolin. Herb sometimes also breaks out the fiddle on instrumental numbers. Herb has been honored by the Boston Bluegrass Union with their Heritage Award. He is also and Honorary Member of the International Bluegrass Music Museum and in Owensboro KY, where there is a video record of an extensive interview with Herb describing how bluegrass arrived in New England in the 1950s. In 2009 the IBMA named Herb a “Bluegrass Pioneer”.
Lillian Fraker: New York native Lillian Fraker, now a resident of Berkshire County Massachusetts, is rightly known as the best bluegrass bass fiddle player in New England. Lillian grew up in the classical music world. She entered the world of American roots music, folk music, country music and bluegrass through listening to the Carter Family. Through later friendships she and her husband Robert established with local musicians after moving to the Massachusetts Hill Towns, she grew to love the bluegrass music of the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe and other traditional bluegrass bands. She quickly taught herself to play bass fiddle, and excels in her ability to play with precision, power and interesting but restrained and tasteful choice of notes. Lillian and her husband Robert are well-known to New England bluegrass fans through their years of appearances in the 1990s with The Bear Bridge Band, which released several recordings and still performs occasionally. Lillian sings harmony and lead parts.
Terry McGill: Terry plays 5 string banjo and sings lead and harmony parts. He is known as “Mr. Straight Drive” for his unflinching, hard-driving, Scruggs-influenced banjo style. Terry is from Bergen County New Jersey and was exposed to country and bluegrass music by his dad. As a teenager Terry gravitated to the banjo and learned to prefer the traditional bluegrass sound. He met most of the other members of the band attending bluegrass festivals throughout the northeast. While attending Fairleigh Dickenson University Terry was for years one of the leading bluegrass radio DJs. For many years Terry has worked the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area with his band Straight Drive. Terry jumped at the chance to also play with The Old Time Bluegrass Singers because of their unique position as the most traditional bluegrass band in New England.
Robert Fraker: Robert performs frequently with the band in the old role of “rhythm guitarist” in the slap style on an old arch top guitar. He is also a fine old time fiddler and features some obscure mountain melody when he appears with the group. Robert hails originally from the White Plains NY area. He and Lillian made their home in the Massachusetts countryside, now in Lanesboro in the western part of the state. Robert played mandolin in the Bear Bridge Band. Robert is also a notable songwriter.
Dick Bowden: Dick hails from way Downeast in Maine, now living in Connecticut. Dick was raised on old-fashioned country music and bluegrass by his parents, who were honored as Pioneers by the Maine Bluegrass Music Association. He is the group’s guitarist, emcee and lead singer. From 1966 to 1990, Dick was best known to New England bluegrass fans as an exponent of the traditional banjo styles of Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley and Don Stover, playing in his family band The Fort Knox Volunteers, then in Herb Applin’s Berkshire Mountain Boys, and as a “substitute” member of Joe Val’s New England Bluegrass Boys. In 1990 Dick switched to guitar with the old time duet The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson, performing all over the eastern US and Canada for 10 years. In 2002 Dick and Herb opened discussions to re-form The Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and recruited their bandmates.