Whitesburg KY

Dismal Pike to headline festival here

Founded by banjo player Rod Smith and the group’s lead singer/mandolin player Mike Bentley of Virgie, Dismal Pike is a hard-driving band with an enormous amount of originality.

Upon meeting, Rod and Mike hit it off immediately and came together with one goal in mind – to put together a top-rated bluegrass band and deliver some good original music that is different from that of other bands. Both were acquainted with guitar player Matt Stacy so they enlisted him to play in the band. Matt’s brother, Jamie, became their bass player and their band began to jell.

After playing together a while, they knew something very special was happening and it was worth developing. With more than 50 years of combined musical experience, the band put every ounce of their collective energy and talent into each song. Their rendering of such traditional bluegrass songs as “Fox on the Run” is just as good as the original recording by the Country Gentlemen some 30 years ago. Their original song “Coal Miner’s Dance” has become a favorite of those who have an understanding of the trials and tribulations of the coal miner.

Three of the band’s members have played professionally with Ernie Thacker and Rt. 23, so they know the hard work and commitment needed to succeed. They hold to the belief that if it’s worth having, it’s worth working for and they work hard to keep their sound fresh to new listeners. They admit that they are their own worst critics when it comes to perfecting a song and they look forward to each performance to get the confirmation of their many fans.

When it came to the final decision for the name of the band, Dismal Pike was a name that just wouldn’t go away. All of the band members are from either Pike County or near a little town in Virginia called Dismal. After a lot of hard work these fellows have found the path they need to follow is the Dismal Pike.

Opening for Dismal Pike will be The Tommy Webb Band. Tommy sings lead tenor and mostly plays guitar, but for an eager audience he will pull out the ol’ claw hammer banjo to give his audience their money’s worth. He also writes a lot of songs including two of his new releases, “Eastern Kentucky” and “Now That You Are Gone.” His version of “If It Weren’t for Bluegrass Music, I’d Go Crazy” is getting a lot of spins on the radio. He has a very talented group of musicians and vocalists to back him up. Tommy has been described by fellow musicians as having one of the best tenor voices in bluegrass music today. Each performance always includes a great selection of gospel songs.

On the same program is The Glenn Ritchie Band from Knott County. Glenn has been playing for several years with various bands and recently decided to form his own band. Last year The Glenn Ritchie Band put on a great performance to a huge, appreciative crowd at the Mountain Heritage Festival in Whitesburg.

Rounding out the four-band program is Mike Havens and Blue Mountain Grass. Most musicians would be happy to have one hit record from a CD. Mike

festival here

has had two hits from his recent “Shadow of my Mind” release.

Each band will play two sets each in the Pickin’ on the Mountain Bluegrass Show on June 16 at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre in Jenkins for a full eight hours of the best bluegrass music in the mountains. This show promises to be one of the best of the entire season.

Here is the full schedule: 12 p.m., food booth opens. The menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, soup beans and cornbread, fried potatoes and onions, and sauerkraut with wieners. 12:30 p.m., introduction and acknowledgments by Don Amburgey, president of the Cumberland Mountain Arts and Crafts Council. 1 p.m., Glenn Ritchie Band. 2 p.m., Mike Havens and Blue Mountain Grass. 3 p.m., Tommy Webb Band. 4 p.m., Dismal Pike. From 5 to 9 p.m. all four bands will play again the same sequence.

Limited seating is available; please bring a folding chair. Ample parking is available with a shuttle bus to the stage area. No alcohol, no drugs, no coolers and no pets allowed.

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