By Gail Reynolds, Rock At Night Columnist-Tampa and Anita Stewart, Photographer-Tampa
MOONSHINE HOLLER: DIXIE DARLING DUO
A recurring focus of this column is the astounding number of talented musicians worthy of celebrity yet who enjoy acclaim only within a limited realm. While some superstars fill amphitheaters, these gifted artists earn recognition and a living at specialized festivals, teaching workshops, and small venues, the smallest of which is the house concert.
Two giants of the old time genre, Paula Bradley and Bill Dillof, AKA Moonshine Holler, recently appeared at a unique San Antonio institution known as The Garage Mahal. This wood frame garage adjacent to a century old purple house is not in Texas, but San Ann, Florida, about 25 miles north of Tampa. The down home yet quirky setting was most conducive for showcasing this musical married couple’s depth of talent.
Because they were far from their home base of the Berkshires, they brought “only” a five string banjo, ukulele banjo, fiddle, harmonica, Hawaiian guitar, as well as a couple of other guitars, most of which they played interchangeably.
As well as toe-tapping entertainment, there was a perfect dose of music history, signaled by Bill Diloff donning his wire rimmed glasses to humorously assume a professorial persona to deliver insights into the genre . Old time is, after all, a part of our musical heritage, which should be appreciated.
There is often hairsplitting as to what “old time” signifies. To Moonshine Holler, that would be the American roots music of the 20s and 30s, preserved in 78 RPM recordings. As such, the songs are about 3 minutes long.
Their Garage concert opened with several AP Carter tunes, starting with “My Dixie Darling,” which is also the first cut of their CD, available through CD Baby. What a great deal, fourteen songs for ten bucks! They spoke with due reverence for traditional music’s founding fathers — and mothers, especially Mother Maybelle.
Moonshine Holler puts on an great, well-rounded show, inviting the audience to join in various choruses, engaging in playful husband-wife banter and even treating us to Paula’s flat foot dancing, punctuated with body percussion. To experience this duo for yourself, check their website for their performance schedule.
Members: Paula Bradley: guitar, banjo, ukulele, kazoo, vocals, feet, attitude Bill Dillof: fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, Hawaiian guitar, vocals, patience; Genre: Old-Time Appalachian: ballads, blues & breakdowns; Home Town: Lee, Massachusetts
Walk Right in Belmont
“Sugar Hill” Bill fiddles and Paula Clogs
“My Dixie Darling”
Fourteen track Moonshine Holler CD of Old Time Melodies can be purchased from cdbaby
I love music and I love to write, so Rock at Night is a perfect forum for me.I appreciate all genres from classical to country and am astounded by the number of extraordinarily talented but under-recognizedmusical artists. So my articles often feature such “well known unknown” musicians and composers.
Before email, I would include a record review along with my holiday greetings as an alternative to annual reports of personal achievements and acquisitions. Among these, I wrote of Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man in 1988 and Bruce Cockburn’s Nothing But A Burning Light in 1991, urging my friends and family to listen to these masterpieces.
Now I can continue to express my enthusiasm for various musical artists to a wider audience.
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