By Tim McCoy
In the shadow of Jump Mountain, just outside Lexington, 100+ guests gathered at Grace Hill Farm on Saturday to enjoy Blues, Brews, and BBQ, for a toe-tapping benefit for the Taubman Museum of Art. After five days of heavy rain in our region, the weather cooperated, and on Saturday the sun came out, the humidity dropped, and Fall was upon us. What better way to celebrate the weather change than a retreat to the mountains of Rockbridge County to eat delicious BBQ and listen to hot blues?
The food on hand was delicious, provided by Blue Ridge Catering and paired perfectly with cold Deschutes beers, and wines from the local Jump Mountain Vineyard. The music for the festivities was generously donated by two local blues bands, Smokestack Lightnin’ Blues Band and the JoJo Stockton Band. Smokestack Lightnin’ kicked the night off, playing a combination of originals and blues standards as the crowd began to arrive. The band was nestled at the back of a small central building that allowed for the sound to project out over the dining area, but also permitted guests to get up inside to dance. Smokestack Lightnin’ played for two hours, and near the end, Kerry Hurley, local bluesman and host of 101.5FM’s Sunday show “Blues with a Feeling”, joined the band to perform the blues standard “Goin’ Down” (video below), and then kicked it up a notch with a swampy version of Slim Harpo’s classic “I’m a King Bee.”
JoJo Stockton Band was up next. The group took the stage and showered the crowd with its jazz / blues fusion sounds. Hurley joined them for a nice rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” which saw some guest dancing, while others made s’mores in the fire pit.
The event ended a bit after nine with guests making their way home under a crystal clear sky that shone with stars. It was a beautiful evening where friends came together to raise money for the arts in Roanoke.
The Taubman events manager Elise Burke, said that the owner of the 40-acre Grace Hill Farm, Harry Shannon, reached out to the Taubman and invited them to host the benefit for the museum. “All the funds raised tonight go towards our exhibition and educational program. We are so thankful for the sponsors and those who donated their time to make this event a success. The music has been fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier with the turnout of the event, and to see our supporters really enjoying themselves.”
This was one of many fabulous events the Taubman puts on each year. Be sure to visit their events page for other great happenings, and mark your calendar for the International Wine Festival on January 29, which will feature live music by the Brian Mesko Organ Quartet Featuring Randy Johnston.
A big thank you to the bands who donated their talents, and to the generous sponsors. Each played a big role in raising funds and awareness for our region’s art museum. Sponsors include: 101.5 The Valley’s Music Place, Blue Ridge Beverage, Deschutes Brewery, Jump Mountain Vineyard, The Fresh Market, and Blue Ridge Catering.
Click on any photo to begin slideshow.