Cricket Band

Location: R.A. Fountain

From the April24,2007 FAD:

The Cricket Band is fronted by Shelby and Linda Stephenson on guitars and vocals. They are joined for this show by Les Sandy on fiddle, Johnny Barham on steel guitar, Mel Waters on lead guitar, and Manny Krevat on bass.

This evening’s show will mix classic country with bluegrass and bluegrass gospel. The Stephensons have become Fountain favorites with their many appearances here with their family band, and also as featured performers at Fountain General’s Hank Williams birthday party celebration.

Walters was born in Peachland, in 1937. After winning a talent contest as a youngster, he began performing on the radio each Saturday morning in Charlotte with Pete Toomey and the Houndog Show.

During his long musical career, Walters has performed with Martha Carson, Don Gibson, Loretta Lynn, George Morgan, Jimmy C. Newman, Stonewall Jackson, Roy Drusky and others. He became a preacher in 1965.

Krevat, a Brooklyn native, performed folk music in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. In the ’70s, he played with the Brooklyn-based bluegrass band the Canarsie Five. In the ’80s, he was a regular in Roger Sprung’s Progressive Bluegrassers, touring throughout the northeast and performing regularly on the festival circuit. He relocated to NC in the late ’90s. He performs also with the Penny Pickers and others.

Les Sandy learned to play fiddle from the late Vassar Clements when they were touring together in a country band in Florida in 1949. After the two were fired from that gig, Sandy traveled to Key West, where he and his brother became the house band at Sloppy Joe’s and Les a nightly backgammon opponent of Ernest Hemingway’s.

During the 1950s, Sandy toured and recorded with Bill Monroe, for whom he played bass and performed comedy as the hayseed Uncle Puny. He later toured and recorded with Jim and Jesse McReynolds. For many years he hosted his own t.v. show in Wilmington, where he taught a teenage Charlie Daniels a few fiddle licks.

“Having Les and Don Helms in town in the same week is almost unbelievable for a little venue like ours,” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor. “Folks ought to come out early to meet Les and to hear him tell a story or two. He can really make that fiddle sing, too.”

[The band was named after Shelby & Nin’s traveling companion, their dog, Cricket.]

Tags: acoustic Carolina, bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, classic, Concert, fiddle, tradtional bluegrass