Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 4, 2010

Folk, blues sounds fill First Friday

ASHLAND — Michael Garvin happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The Flatwoods resident said he was walking down Winchester Avenue “with a fiddle on my back” when a group of musicians asked him to sit in with them.

The group, Tim Holmes and the Hired Guns, was one of the acts performing downtown for Ashland’s monthly First Friday street festival and art walk.

The mostly-acoustic combo was playing in the lobby the Pendleton Arts Center. Garvin’s keening fiddle runs helped give numbers like the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” a folksy authenticity.

Holmes and Garvin both said they were hopeful they could collaborate again in the future.

For those whose musical tastes ran more toward the electric, a number of area musicians engaged in a raucous all-star blues jam on the main stage on Judd Plaza.

The core group for the session was the Johnson County band Pink Slip. One of the group’s members, bassist Stacy Keaton, actually checked himself out of a hospital so he could be at the gig.

Other members of that group are lead guitarist Marcus “Pup” Cantrell, drummer Ray Boswell, and keyboardist David Crider, who was under the weather and couldn’t make the show.

Other musicians who joined the jam session included Corbin Fitzpatrick and Louie McNeal of Ashland, collectively known as FM;  The Independent’s Tim Preston,  guitarist/instructor Phil Osborne, vocalist/musician Chuck Robertson of Fallsburg, singer Heather Mays and Isaac, Aaron and Tom Stephens.

Danny Craig, director of Ashland Main Street, which sponsors First Friday, also joined the collective onstage to sing “Steamroller Blues.”

Craig said he couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout for Friday’s festivities, particularly given the competition from other events, including high school football games and the Greenup County Fair.

Craig also noted there had been heavy rain earlier in the day, which he said normally keeps the car show exhibitors away. Yet both sides of Winchester Avenue were lined with all manner of classic and custom vehicles.

“First Friday is a strong little monthly festival,” Craig said.

Ashland Mayor Tom Kelley, who was watching the blues jam, said First Friday had become something that a lot of people looked forward to every month, as shown by the crowd at Friday’s event.

“I think a lot of people would be really upset if anything ever happened to it,” he said.

Next month’s program, scheduled for Oct. 1, will be the last outdoor one of the season, Craig said. The event also will feature a “Chairs for Charity” auction, with the proceeds to benefit Community Hospice.

 KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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