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The Gypsies are Returning!

May 4, 2007 - Jim Price

A band of Gypsies is coming back to Altoona this Cinco de Mayo Saturday night.  They will appear at the Heidelberg Country Club.  The show begins at 7:30 PM.



From Morgantown, West Virginia, The Hillbilly Gypsies first visited the Heidelberg in late January.  Before a packed house, the group demonstrated their blend of fast-firing, hard-driving bluegrass music and Appalachian old-time folk.  Their presentation was reminiscent of old-time performances, with all five band members gathered around a single vintage diaphragm microphone.  The band members; Trae Buckner on lead and harmony vocals, guitar, clawhammer banjo and harmonica, Jamie Lynn Buckner on lead and harmony vocals, Dave Asti on banjo and guitar, Ty Jaquay on fiddle and harmony vocals, and Jason Teel on bass fiddle, soup pot, clawhammer banjo and vocals; often played vigorous and fast, showing amazing precision and coordination as they each darted in and away from the central microphone to spotlight each component of their sound.  The group played a mixture of traditional bluegrass, folk favorites, and their own original progressive bluegrass compositions; including material from their first CD, One Foot In The Gravy, which was released last year.  As their show proceeded, the Heidelberg audience couldn’t help but get drawn in, first nodding their heads and staring on in amazement, then tapping their feet with more and more enthusiasm, and then finally getting up and stomping, hooting and hollering with glee on the dance floor in front of the stage.  The Hillbilly Gypsies’ Altoona debut was so successful that the band was called back for three encores at the end of the night.


The Hillbilly Gypsies have graced stages throughout West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.  They have shared bills with such names as Dr. Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Patty Loveless, The Seldom Scene, Vince Welnick (Of The Grateful Dead), Nashville country recording artists Blackhawk and others.  They have played numerous bluegrass and folk festivals, and their current schedule finds them playing festivals in West Virginia, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania through the summer.  Among the festivals is the annual Smoked Country Jam Bluegrass Festival in Loganton, Pennsylvania on June 21-23, a benefit event for the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania.


Altoona’s new bluegrass band, Mama Corn, hot off their highly successful debut performance last month at the Hitching Post, will open this Saturday's show.


As anybody who witnessed their first Heidelberg performance can attest, The Hillbilly Gypsies are a must-see when they return this Saturday night.  Tickets have been selling at a brisk pace, with only fifty tickets reportedly remaining as of Monday.  It should be another packed house at the Heidelberg, and further testimony to the escalating popularity of bluegrass music on Altoona area stages.


Tickets – if any remain – are $15 each, and can be purchased at the Heidelberg.  Anybody under age 21 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian.


 The Heidelberg Country Club is located on Frankstown Road in Altoona.  For more information, call 943-7340.

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