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The name, legacy, and music of McCreary County’s late, beloved banjo picker, Edsel Blevins, continues forward via the recently formed bluegrass band, “Uncle Edsel.” Named in honor of Edsel Blevins, the band consists of four extremely talented musicians: Kevin Dalton, Paul “Hoss” Davis, Kelly Caldwell, and Jamie Gaddis.
Kevin Dalton, the founder of the band and a popular, regional musician, explained how “Uncle Edsel” came into being.
“I hosted open mics at different venues in Pulaski County for ten years,” Dalton said. “I always enjoyed meeting new singers, songwriters, and musicians-especially those who hadn’t had many opportunities to perform for crowds, or a few that hadn’t had the opportunity to perform in many years. The first day
I met Edsel, I felt most likely it was probably a one-time thing. However, that one time turned into consistent weekly meetings for several years.”
Dalton continued, explaining why his weekly open mics with Edsel were so special. “Seeing how much it meant for Edsel to, once again, be able to play a few songs for a crowd became the thing I looked forward to most at open mics. There were many nights I wasn’t feeling great, or just wanted to take a night off to have a break, but I couldn’t do it for fear of letting him down. His music and fellowship was a highlight of my week, as well as for many others who attended regularly. Edsel’s smile and his laugh were infectious. You just could not walk away after being with Edsel and not be in a better mood than you when you came in. He was one of a kind, both personally and musically.”
After Edsel passed away on December 31, 2020, Dalton often thought about how he might help continue Edsel’s name and legacy.
“There may be a few more ideas still to come,” Dalton said with a smile. “But when we were pulling this band together, there wasn’t a thought or question for one second of naming it anything other than “Uncle Edsel” in his honor. Featuring Hoss (a McCreary Countian who performed for years with Edsel at the BSFSRY) on the banjo and doing a mix of traditional and progressive bluegrass styles of music, it just fit perfectly. Plus, with Edsel not having blood relatives to speak of, he had developed an entire family in the music community who got to know him through his weekly attendance at open mics. To many of us, when Edsel passed, we lost a family member, so “Uncle Edsel” is commitment to his memory and that he’ll always be considered family.”
McCreary County Public Library Appalachian Art & Music Festival
Friday-June 2, 2023/5:00 -8:00 p.m.
(Live music begins at 6:00, featuring “Uncle Edsel”)
On Friday, June 2 from 5:00-8:00 p.m., the McCreary County Public Library is the place to be for Appalachian music, art, food, and fun!
With live music, (featuring newly formed bluegrass band, Uncle Edsel), vendors, demonstrations, BBQ pork meals by Knife of the Party, and a walk-through quilt show, the festival promises to be a glorious celebration of Appalachian culture.
“It’s perfectly fitting and appropriate that our first full, official gig takes place in McCreary County,” “Uncle Edsel” band founder, Kevin Dalton, noted. “We are so grateful and excited for the opportunity.”
In addition to featuring feisty bluegrass music from the band named in honor of McCreary County’s late, beloved banjo picker Edsel Blevins, the festival will also focus on the arts and crafts of Appalachia.
The following vendors and demonstrations are already scheduled, with more being added daily: soap making by Hickory Soap Company, watercolor demonstrations by Becky Hintzmann, Little Town Poet Society (a meet/greet book signing with author Cheyanne Leonardo), corn shuck doll and flower demonstrations by Debra Redden, basket making demonstrations by the McCreary County Basket Guild Ladies, and sewing/quilting demonstrations by Kim King.
Additionally, the upstairs community room of the library will transform into a walk through quilt show with patrons judging their favorite quilts by ballot. Awards will be presented.
Knife of the Party Catering will be on hand to serve up a true Appalachian meal of BBQ (sandwich) with two sides for $10.00.