East Coast Bluegrass in Berwick Jan. 10

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on January 3, 2016

Headliner is four-time East Coast Bluegrass Music Award band of the year Shadow River. Also appearing in the Jan. 10 concert are the newly formed, but well known Bluegrass Unit and Oxbow Mountain Boys.


BERWICK - A bluegrass afternoon in Berwick Sunday, Jan. 10 will benefit two groups. Bluegrass fans ‘in the know’ will appreciate the talent as Shadow River, Bluegrass Unit and the Oxbow Mountain Boys take the stage; and the Hardwood Lake Girl Guide Camp will put funds raised to good use in summer site improvements.


Long-time bluegrass music promoters and fans Bill and Julie Dempsey of Berwick are leading the event, and they’ve lined up some well-known – and well-respected – talent.

As a group, Shadow River has been entertaining audiences all across Canada, and along the Eastern Seaboard. They have received many accolades, including Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Awards Band of the Year honours four years in a row, including 2015; Vocal Group of the Year the past two years and this year’s Gospel Performance of the Year. They’ve also had the Recording of the Year in both 2013 and 2015. Band members include ‘The Voice of Shadow River,’ David Doyle of South Alton, on lead vocals and guitar (himself the four-year running ECBMA Male Vocalist of the Year); Waylon Robicheau, on mandolin, vocals and guitar (the 2014 and 2015 ECBMA Mandolin Player of the Year); Ryan Dillman, with banjo and vocals (Master in the ECBMA Banjo Player of the Year category, with five awards); and Brian A. Hazlett on upright bass ( a three-time ECBMA Bass Player of the Year, three-time Emcee of the Year and the 2014 Individual Entertainer of the Year). No lack of talent in this gathering!

Bluegrass Unit is making its first ‘formal’ appearance after the October ECBMA event. Kenny Collins is the most recent – and final – musician to join the band: his vocals and a rock solid bass beat are some of the best in the business. Jeff Nauss is a four-time ECBMA guitarist of the year, but is no stranger to banjo, mandolin and offering smooth and rich vocal leads and harmonies. Justin Nauss is another stringer instrument expert, but holds down the five-string banjo and MC duties for Bluegrass Unit. And, doubling up for the afternoon, Waylon Robicheau of Shadow River will be back: at just 18 years of age, you could call him the ‘Music Man.’

Also on stage are ‘friends jammin’ together,’ Bill Dempsey says: Greg Hamilton, Al Ryan, Brian Hazlett and Charlie Bourque join up as the Oxbow Mountain Boys.

“Shadow River and Bluegrass Unit – these two bands put the top award-winning people in the past year on one stage – there’s some talent,” Dempsey says. “This is the best there is in bluegrass in the Maritimes.”

Admission is $10 per person, with door and 50/ 50 proceeds in support of Hardwood Lake Girl Guide Camp. The Berwick Lions will run their canteen, and Great Dane Studies will take care of stage and sound. The doors open at 1 p.m. for the 2 p.m. show, at the Kings Mutual Century Centre on Veterans Drive.