I spent most of Sunday at a final bluegrass concert at FireFlies in Alexandria, VA. Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass has been playing there Sunday mornings for 15 years. Now the restaurant has been sold and their last day of business was Christmas Eve. For those of us who remember, Bob used to have a standing Wednesday night gig at Madams Organ which lasted 20 years. With the announcement of this news last week via FaceBook and texting, all of the faithful fans and friends of Bob and Washington DC Bluegrass were invited to show up for this somber final show. The future of live concerts here is uncertain.
We arrived super early, a habit of mine which bemuses my family, and were able to pick choice seats. Bob was already there being hugged by a short line of friends. Eventually I get my turn, so does April and then my son, JJ. The place quickly filled up with musicians, their instruments and their families. By the 11:00 a.m. start there were no tables or seats left. Three sets were played and just about anyone who brought an instrument or could sing shared the spotlight.
If I were to name everyone I saw onstage I would surely leave out someone else, but rest assured the flight manifest was full of bluegrass luminaries.
This article was written by Jerome Stephens and published on Bluegrass Today.
Jeromie Stephens has been photographing bluegrass musicians for a little over 30 years. In keeping with the photo-reportage styles of Jim Marshall, Carl Fleischauer and Les Leverett, he shoots in black and white and tries to always stay in close to his subjects.
He was first published by FRETS! Magazine in 1986, his junior year of high school. He’s illustrated articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, The Washington Post, The Nashville Tennessean and Fretboard Journal. Additionally his photos have been used in CD packages for musicians like Tony Rice, Danny Gatton and Lou Pallo.
Jeromie lives in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife, April and youngest son, JJ. You are likely to see JJ with his Dad taking photos at festivals.