LIVE: Washington County Line @ Mabee Farm, 5/22/16
Review and photographs by Tom Lindsay
The first Howlin’ at the Moon concert of 2016 to be held in the big barn at Mabee Farm was an unqualified success. Mabee staffers were bringing extra chairs down from the loft right up until show time, so bluegrass veterans Washington County Line and singer-songwriter M.R. Poulopoulos had a large and appreciative crowd to share the evening with.
Years ago, as a musician complaining about the brevity of an opening set, I was given some sage advice: you can kill in 20 minutes, and bomb in 40. M.R. Poulopoulos made the most of his five-song opening slot delivering two familiar self-penned numbers (“Sweepin’” and “Dandelion Wine”) and two new gems that may land on a future release (“We’ll See” and “Poinsettia”). With several pockets full of his own tunes always at the ready, Poulopoulos has never been the king of cover songs, but he closed with a wonderful take on Kris Kristoferson’s “Living Legend.” The pairing of Poulopoulos with Washington County Line was an inspired choice, and one that was quite well received.
One of life’s simple pleasures is a good bluegrass band, and especially one that brings you the visual dance of vocalists and soloists leaning into a single microphone when their time to shine arrives. Washington County Line’s repertoire includes both first and second generation bluegrass tunes, and on Sunday night the fellas also featured compositions by Merle Haggard, Chris Shaw, Leigh Gibson and an original instrumental.
Washington County Line are Mabee Farm regulars and will return there on Saturday, June 11 as part of Celtic Heritage Day. Their new CD will be available at that time.
Washington County Line are:
Steve Wood – vocals & guitar
Sean Quinn – vocals & guitar
Daryl Smith – banjo & vocals
Ken Meyer – bass
Andy Bing – Dobro, mandolin & vocals