Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 4 Reviews

Reeltime Travelers
Saturday, Oct. 2, 2:00 p.m.
Star Stage
Reviewed by Mike Alexis

Reeltime Travelers must be one of the youngest bands playing such reverent and authentic bluegrass. Bringing their contagious attitude all the way from Tennessee, Heidi Andrade (fiddle), Martha Scanlin (guitar), Travis Stewart (bass), Thomas Sneed (mandolin), and Roy Andrade (banjo) huddled around one mic on the Star Stage and smiled their way through old standards and solid originals. Not even a crackling P.A. could stop them as they launched into the speedy opener.

This was the first time they've been to San Francisco as a band since they formed in 2001, though Roy also mentioned that he and Heidi were married just up over the hill in Golden Gate Park five years ago, and just to make it all the sweeter they tell us the two of them haven't been back since. Well, the crowd sure welcomed them back enthusiastically. It was hard to tell if the large crowd that gathered was previously acquainted with the band or just immediately smitten. Either way, as the set went on, the enthusiasm increased.

On one particular barn-burning instrumental, Heidi did some clogging on the side of the stage with a mic pointed at her feet so the rhythms she was kicking up were right in sync with the rest of the band. As the band sped up a repetitive lick, Heidi jumped right back in with her fiddle while the crowd clapped along. Next, Martha sang lead on a song she wrote and her quavering vibrato was both sad and soulful. The song "In the Cool of the Day." in which all members added to its beautiful five-part harmonies followed. Then came another barn-burning instrumental featuring Heidi's wailing fiddle and at this point the crowd became enraptured. With each side of the stage filled with twirling, hopping bodies, Reeltime Travelers ended their set with the feel good chorus of "eyes like cherries/cheeks like a rose" bringing the crowd to its feet.

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