Various Artist - Jubilee: Best Of Renfro Valley Music Festival

VARIOUS ARTISTS
JUBILEE: BEST OF RENFRO VALLEY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
KET Ed. TV
No Number

Jubilee, produced by Kentucky Educational Television (KET), is one of the country’s finest music series, and since 1996 has presented a range of artists from J.D. Crowe to Roger McGuinn. This DVD (surprisingly hard to find online) is a special episode filmed at the 2008 Renfro Valley Bluegrass Festival. Featured artists are Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Grasstowne, Dale Ann Bradley, the Grascals, Ronnie Reno & the Reno Tradition, and a few regional acts: Burchett, Morgan & 5ivespeed, the All American Bluegrass Band, Fast Lane, and the Cumberland Gap Connection.

This production is all about the music and is professionally shot with multiple cameras. The crew has extensive experience and knows when to cut to a solo or when to frame a trio. That’s a welcome change from the usual television fare where the crew doesn’t have a clue about the dynamics of a bluegrass band. What you won’t get here is any sense of the festival itself. It’s all focused on the main stage. For most bluegrass fans, that won’t matter. The show is edited by removing all betweensong talk, so all you get are the performances. Some viewers may prefer getting the full set, including stage banter, rather than just the songs, but you might appreciate not hearing the sometimes lame stage talk between songs.

All the main acts are in good form with Rhonda serving her usual high energy show (good to see Kenny Ingram on banjo). The show is a time capsule from 2008 and would be a valuable addition to any bluegrass video collection, but not essential. (KET Duplication Services, 600 Cooper Dr., Lexington, KY 40502, e-mail: shop@ket.org.) CVS