Sandy River Ramblers Concert at Phippsburg Congregational Church, 10 Church Lane Lane at Parker Head Road, Phippsburg. Advance tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. Saturday, Nov. 17, 7:30 PM.
Playing bluegrass with a distinctly Maine flavor, the band features three-and-four-part-vocal harmonies backed by banjo, guitar, and mandolin. Guitarist Stan Keach, who writes most of the groups songs, is a nationally-known bluegrass songwriter whose songs have been recorded by by some of the biggest names in bluegrass. On Boot Hill, a song Keach co-authored with Rick Lang, won the 2017 Maine Songwriters Association Song of the Year award and was recorded by the popular bluegrass band Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys. An earlier Keach song, Whispering Water, made the national top ten bluegrass singles charts in 2009.
In addition to bluegrass standards and bluegrass-flavored arrangements of songs from other genres, a Ramblers concert features a number of original songs about Maine. Their 2012 album, Cry of the Loon and Other Original Songs About Maine, has been called a gift to Mainers by writer/journalist George Smith. With songs about everything from a Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston fight in Lewiston to L.L. Bean boots, concertgoers can expect to hear lyrics celebrating the history, flora and fauna, landscape, and lore of Maine.
Bud Godsoe, a Rambler since the bands formation in 1982, learned to play banjo while working on the Alaska Pipeline. In recent years, the Madrid-based Godsoe, who lives in the foothills of the western mountains, has added the dobro to his skill set.
Despite his youth, Brunswick-based fiddler Finn Woodruff, 19, has been playing professionally for a number of years and his fiery rendition of the classic Orange Blossom Special has become one of the bands staples.
Leeds-based vocalist and Upright Bassist Julie Davenport started playing bluegrass in the Maranacook String Band, a youth band that Keach, then a teacher, started at Maranacook High School. Other band members also have connections to the school. Mandolinist Dan Simons started playing guitar in high school, and has played in a duo act with Keach since shortly after he graduated. Guitarist Lee Stetson has been singing vocal trios with Keach and Davenport since he was an eighth grader performing with them in the Maranacook String Band. Now 22, Stetson is a full-time musician, often performing solo and with the Lee Stetson Band.
The concert will be performed at the historic 1802 Phippsburg Congregational Church, situated on the banks of the Kennebec.