By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
SMITHVILLE – Sunshine, motorcycles, picnics and live music are all part of a perfect summer and Bert Driver’s Burlap Room is combining them for the Summer Solstice Shindig on Saturday, June 19 with Soulfissh and headliners East Nash Grass. And, for a sneak peek, the Burlap Willow Cigar Club #4 is Thursday, June 17 featuring James Kee to whet your appetite for all things East Nash Grass.
During the sneak peek, the multi-talented Kee will give those in attendance a taste of East Nash Grass’ forthcoming self-titled album to be released in mid-July. Pair that with a superb selection of cigars from Joe and Angela and their very popular Button Willow establishment in downtown Smithville and be prepared to light up and enjoy yourself on-the-spot inside our well-ventilated Summer Solstice Stage area, or in spacious areas outside in case of fabulous weather. If you’re a returning Burlap Button Cigar Club member, there’s a special little treat waiting for you, and if you’re not a member, please join us, and get signed up in person for your free membership during Burlap Willow Cigar Club, Episode #4.
The Burlap Bus shuttle will be running to/from major marina locations around Smithville for the Saturday events. Other special drop off/pickup arrangements are also available for your party. For more information or to set up reservations for the Burlap Bus, call (615) 516-1803.
Saturday’s Summer Solstice Shindig will be a festival atmosphere that combines a motorcycle show, good food and live music. The open class motorcycle show is open to all makes and models. Registration is $25 and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burlap Room. Motorcycles must be in place by 4 p.m. and remain there until the music starts. There will be a fun ride and trophies for the top 3. For more information, call Lee at 615-516-1803
Sparta favorites, Soulfissh, will kick off the party at 6 p.m. This versatile band covers all your favorites from the 70s, 80s, 90s and more.
East Nash Grass takes the stage at 8 p.m.
Talk about fortunate! How fortunate are they at Bert Driver’s Burlap Room to be able to say, “We knew y’all way back when….” regarding James Kee and the East Nash Grass Band?
James Kee has been in the house band at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree since 2008 or so, and this year, he’s joined by bandmate Cory Walker, banjo-player extraordinaire. Maddie Denton, who plays fiddle in East Nash Grass, has won the Jamboree fiddle competition on more than one occasion. The other members of the band are just as accomplished on their instruments, as proven by their degrees, awards and of course by actually hearing these young folks playing their tails off. The following is just the top of the iceberg where this band is concerned:
Geoff Saunders on bass received a doctorate in 2017 in jazz studies and has a Grammy win for Best Bluegrass Album.
Harry Clark on guitar is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has worked with everyone from the IBMA-phenoms Volume V to the jamgrass-y The Wooks.
Gaven Largent on dobro has a lifetime of musical experience that has distinguished him among his peers, netting appearances on the Opry since his early teens, touring stints with Blue Highway and Dailey & Vincent and recognition for his prowess not only as an instrumentalist, but also as a luthier and bonafide resourceful countryman.
Well, because the Burlap Room is lucky enough to know these folks and have hosted James Kee and his friends on the Burlap Room stage many times, they are allowing us all another sneak peek at their forthcoming self-titled album.
But back to the “who you know” deal—Bert Driver’s grandpa, Bobo Driver, was a musician/bandleader/singer in the Southeast and locally in the Upper Cumberland area back in the 40’s and 50’s.
Bobo Driver and a few of his closest compadres came up with the Fiddlers’ Jamboree concept and was pretty much responsible for the recruitment of talent and subsequent success and growth of this truly unique annual event, with 2021’s Jamboree being the 50th Annual edition – now termed as “The Official Festival of the State of Tennessee.”
So, here we are—Bert Driver channeling the vision of Bobo Driver, James Kee being so instrumental (pun intended) in the musical improvements at the Jamboree over the recent years, East Nash Grass releasing their brand-new album/CD in July 2021…. and they “just happen” to be playing one month earlier at Bert Driver’s Burlap Room, where all of us can get a “SNEAK PEEK” of the hot new material on their CD and share in their unique “bluegrass with an edge” excellent live performances.
Like Bert says, “It’s who you know….”
And don’t forget that the Burlap Bus shuttle will be running to/from major marina locations around Smithville for the Saturday events. Other special drop off/pickup arrangements are also available for your party. For more information or to set up reservations for the Burlap Bus, call (615) 516-1803.
These events are family and dog friendly. Gates open at 4pm. Ages 10 and younger are free with paid adult. Events are rain or shine. You may bring a camping chair for use outside only. No outside food or beverages are permitted.