Gospel Grass a new addition to Portales’ Heritage Days

By Michael Harrell: PNT Staff Writer

Roosevelt County’s Heritage Days has a new element this year called Gospel Grass.

It will feature five bands coming from towns as far away as Branson, Mo., that will perform in the afternoon on June 17 and 18.

Their music is gospel bluegrass — or Gospel Grass, what the folk world is coming to know as traditional bluegrass music with lyrics of Christian praise. It is essentially just Christian bluegrass music, according to Steve Davis, a Portales resident who is organizing the concert.

Local band Triple L will be performing. The family bluegrass band from Portales consists of parents Len and Amy Miller along with their three sons, Lance, Landon and Levi. Len plays lead dobro, an acoustic guitar commonly used in bluegrass that uses metal in its body instead of wood. Amy plays a large stand-up bass. Lance plays lead guitar as well as fiddle and mandolin. Landon secures the bluegrass sound with his banjo. Levi plays the mandolin. The entire family takes turns singing leads and harmonizing from song to song.

Daybreak Express is another New Mexico band coming up from La Luz, a small town between Alamagordo and Tularosa. The band was formed by four teenagers — Clint, Cheyenne, Chaney and Shawnee — performing with a variety of traditional bluegrass instruments. Daybreak Express plays some original songs written and composed by individual band members, according to the group’s Web site, www.ibluegrass.com/bg_bands2.cfm?b__i=2298.

The gospel bluegrass band the Burbridge Family hails from southwest Missouri, west of Branson. The band members consist of the mother, Ramona, the father, Kevin, and their four daughters all under the age of 16: Christina, Breanna, Mona and Mikhaila. According to the group’s Web site www.theburbridgefamily.com, the Burbridge Family plays Ozark-style mountain music with Christian-inspired lyrics.
The Dyson Family of Sayre, Okla., is a seven-member family bluegrass band whose style ranges from traditional to contemporary.

The Harvesters is a quintet with members of the ministry of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bill Harrison and Friends will also be performing a gospel bluegrass set.