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Les Sandy and his Other Band

Returning July 30, 8 p.m.
Admission $5 -- Reserved Seats $10

Les Sandy debuted his Other Band on May 14 to an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd at R.A. Fountain, General Store and Internet Café in Fountain, N.C.

Sandy's band Clearview plays dates with him closer to his home town of Raeford, N.C., but for his forays into northeastern N.C., he has assembled an outstanding group of performers who live closer to Fountain.

(L to R): Les Sandy, fiddle and guitar; Frankie Harrison, mandolin; Christine Harris, bass; Johnny Batchelor, guitar; Keith Gaster, banjo. (Hi-res image here.)

Les Sandy brings real pedigree to his performances, having played publicly since the late 1940s when he began his career with a country-music band that included fiddler Vassar Clements, who first taught the guitar-picking lad from Raeford the ways of the fiddle. In the 1950s Les played bass and guitar with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, and he gained a measure of fame as the comedic character Uncle Puny. Sandy also performed on many television productions throughout the Southeast. (In Wilmington he sometimes played with a certain local teenager named Charlie Daniels.) But eventually Les began to stick close to home most of the time, drawing ever-nearer to his fiddle and to a circle of regional players.

During his May 14 appearance at R.A. Fountain, Les showed his versatility by surprising us with a solo set of Burl Ives' classics, accompanying himself on Johhny Batchelor's guitar. "I'm bringing my own guitar and a stool next time," he said. His gift for comedy also shined, as he delighted the R.A. Fountain crowd with a wealth of humor -- timeless, effective bits that are fit for your kids to hear.

But Les's fiddling -- it is unforgettable. Some of his rifs border on jazz, and we are reminded that his legendary teacher Clements is now called the Father of Hillbilly Jazz. If you haven't heard Les Sandy and his Other Band play Bluegrass Stomp, you've really missed a treat.

Mandolin player Frank Harrison, who hails from Williamston, is himself a legend in the making. Lightnin' Wells says of Harrison's Bill Monroe-style bluegrass picking, "it's the best." Harrison brings with him his bass partner from the Greenville band Springreen Grass (themselves booked at R.A. Fountain the previous night -- July 29). In addition, Johnny "the Singing Plumber" Batchelor from Elm City is one of the most talented guitarists to have graced our stage. Batchelor and hard-charging banjo player Keith Gaster perform together in a band of their own, Bluegrass Redemption, also returning soon to R.A. Fountain (Saturday, August 6). These are pro's: every single member of this talented troupe fits like clockwork.

See what we mean. Come to R.A. Fountain on Saturday, July 30 and share the privilege of bearing witness to this new powerhouse band -- a group to make any Carolina bluegrass fan beam with pride. Admission is $5 at the door; reserved seats are $10. For further information, phone 252-749-3228.

Click the pic for a larger version.

At one point Frank's son Justin, 11, stood in for his dad and played a foot-tappin' "Dueling Banjos." (Hi-res image here.)

Johnny's 14-year-old daughter Lindsay also joined for a few numbers, performing mandolin and vocals. When not singing, Lindsay blows bubbles as she plays. (Hi-res image here.)