by LIZA MITCHELL
It takes a village to create a festival atmosphere that is both entertaining and welcoming to all kinds. Great food and great music are the key ingredients that ensure the 32nd Annual St. Augustine Seafood Festival will be such an event.
Jamie Dawson and his family are among those looking forward to a dose of seafood, music and some Florida sunshine. Dawson, who is a mandolinist, and his wife, Lynda who is a singer, guitar player and songwriter, will be performing with their band, Kickin’ Grass, when they are not soaking up the sun with their 2 ½ year-old daughter, Claire, a regular on the road with Mom and Dad.
“We love playing Florida in January for obvious reasons,” Dawson said from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, on a day when the temperature topped out in the mid-30s. “We are looking forward to it.”
Traveling with his wife and daughter is just one of many job perks that Dawson enjoys as a musician, husband and father. He is a member of a growing family of friends that all share the common bond of music at family-friendly events and festivals across the country. Dawson is also fortunate to spend time with his father, Harry, who often joins the band on their tour bus dubbed “The Challenger”.
“Our fans are great people that we have met from all over,” he says. “Just about everywhere we go, we know people that we’ve become friends with over the years. They help us out with Claire and are very supportive.”
Dawson is excited to share new material from their fourth studio album, Walk With Me, released in August, 2012. The band has worked hard over the last 11 years to craft a sound that incorporates elements of traditional bluegrass, while paying tribute to the respective talents and influences of each individual band-member, including Hank Smith on banjo, bassist Patrick Walsh and Pattie Hopkins on fiddle.
“Our sound runs the gamut. We don’t like to kill our audiences with just one sound,” Dawson says. “We play a mix of Americana reminiscent of Allison Krauss and a more progressive banjo and fiddle playing like Bela Fleck with some good, old fashioned bluegrass. It’s just real, tap your feet, clap your hands, feel-good music.”
Kickin’ Grass, winners of the 2012 Carolina Music Award for Best Bluegrass/Americana Band, will take the stage with their unique blend of bluegrass at 1 pm and 5 pm, Saturday, March 2 and at 1 pm and 3 pm on Sunday, March 3. For the full performance lineup, visit www.lionsfestival.com.
by LIZA MITCHELL