By Ed Simmons, Jr.
Caroline-born and much-heard on the state's Bluegrass circuit, the Milford Station Bluegrass Band has released their second CD, Fields of Caroline, in time for their performance this Friday at the "Summer Shindig" at Mr. B's Bluegrass Park in Ladysmith.
The album, produced at Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, features favorites like Ralph Stanley's "Ridin' that Midnight Train," Bill Monroe's "Rose of Old Kentucky," and Hank William Sr.'s "You Win Again," along with Bluegrass arrangements of contemporary tunes like Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night."
Originally from Hanover, banjo-player Robby Caruthers, who farms New Market Plantation, teamed up five years ago with life-long Caroline resident, guitarist and singer Mike Whitley of Ruther Glen to form the band.
Joining in, Donnie Nicholson comes from Graves Mountain in Madison County to play his bass and lend his voice to the third harmony on "Fox on the Run;" and from Farmers in Caroline, John Starkey, whose wailing voice fits with Whitley's in dovetail harmonies, plays a quick and pretty mandolin. Guest performers are guitarist Brandon Snellings and fiddler Chris Sexton.
The band will perform for the grand opening August 1 of Campbell's Country Club & Feedlot Restaurant, located at Lewis and Clark Boulevard and Penola Road. The Bluegrass Brothers from Nashville will also perform for the event's dinner and dance. Owner Ron Self said he is closing Route 2 Diner to open the club and restaurant, the doors first opening July 10 with the grand opening August 1.
Some upcoming dates for Milford Station include the June 28 "Stars and Stripes Spectacular" in Spotsylvania and the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair July 29. July 30 they perform at the "Bluegrass in the Blue Ridge Festival" at Luray. August 28 they return to Mr. B's for the "Bluegrass Blowout."
Fields of Caroline, with its fresh, exciting sound, is available at the Visitors Center, Cafe´ on Main Street, the Feedlot, Triple Crown Produce and online at www.milfordstation.com.
The "Summer Shindig" at Mr. B's runs this Thursday, Friday and Saturday featuring local talent like the Honakers from Spotsylvania, Sonrise from Fredericksburg and Mill Run from Richmond.
The festival is built around young up-and-coming bands," said organizer Karen-Ann Bauserman, who is Mr. B's daughter. "Then we have older established performers like Junior Sisk (from Tennessee) and Mark Templeton and Pocket Change (from North Carolina).
Milford Station performs Friday at Mr. B's at noon and 5:20 p.m.