Originally created 09/29/05

Soundtrack's stars promise Reel good time at Minifest



How would you like to sit in a darkened movie theater waiting to hear your voice on the screen but not knowing exactly what part of the movie it's going to be?

That happened to members of the bluegrass band Reeltime Travelers, who had recorded a song, Like a Songbird That Has Fallen, for the 2003 film Cold Mountain, which starred Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.

"We went to see the movie on Christmas Day of that year in Tampa, Fla., where we have some family," said Reeltime banjo player Roy Andrade. "We knew it would be in the movie but we didn't know where it was going to come. It was just amazing when we finally heard it on the soundtrack."

The Travelers most likely will perform that song when the band headlines the second annual Aiken Minifest on Saturday at Whitney Polo Field. The Savannah River Grass and Carolina Bluegrass also are performing.

Admission is free, but donations will be taken to benefit the 2006 Aiken Bluegrass Festival, which in turn benefits the STAR Riding and Driving program. Gates will open at 4 p.m., with the music to start at 5 p.m. Coolers and picnic baskets are allowed, but no glass containers.

Joining the claw hammer-style banjoist in Reeltime Travelers is his fiddle-playing, mountain-dancing wife, Heidi; guitarist and songwriter Martha Scanlan; mandolin player Thomas Sneed; and upright bass player Travis Stuart.

Those who liked the sound of Old Crow Medicine Show at this year's Aiken Bluegrass Festival should enjoy similar sounds from Reeltime Travelers, who combine traditional bluegrass and old-time string band music.

The group's name comes from playing "reels" (old fiddle tunes). The band has two CDs to its credit - Reeltime Old-Time Stringband Music and Livin' Reeltime, Thinkin' Old-Time and is on the Cold Mountain soundtrack, along with Alison Krauss, Jack White (of the White Stripes) and other artists.

The Reeltime Travelers first got together informally in 1999 to perform at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. Mr. Andrade now works in the musical archives department at Eastern Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he often gets in the countryside to do field recordings, trying to save the old musical sounds of Appalachia.

"I like peeling back the roots of music, and then to see what are the roots of that," he said in a telephone interview.

CONGRATULATIONS, CHRIS: Congratulations are in order for recent Augusta Christian Schools graduate Chris Goss, who last Friday beat out eight other contestants to become the opening act for the 2005 WKXC-FM Million Pennies for Kids Guitar Pull on Nov. 8 in Bell Auditorium. He opened the Day in the Country festival this year and, two years ago, was a finalist in the CSRA Elvis Impersonators Contest.

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 34 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.