Saturday evening was the official grand opening of The Haymarket Whiskey Bar on Main Street, in NuLu. Front man, Mason Dixon is bent on preserving what he described as, “old time music”. Following The Shovel Bums, a band of archeologists, Mason rounded up the boys, Leroy, JR, and Johnny.
The Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, dressed in plaid shirts, slacks, and suspenders topped of their look with 19th century hats. The boys live the music, notably Mason and JR with beards that make the look. Beginning in 2012, the boys are focusing on regional shows, festivals, and releasing a self-titled album, out March 9, 2012. The group plays festivals and shows around the country, yet want to focus their attention on their fans in and around Kentucky.
Mason led the band with foot-stomping’ tunes, such as their original, “Late for the Dance”, that opened the first set. Two 45-minute sets later, the crowd had two-stepped and square-danced into the wee hours of the morning. A balanced set list included both originals and covers of popular songs. One of the crowd favorites was the last song, “Cumberland Gap”, a folk song that summed up the night very well with the last line, “They’re all raisin’ hell in the Cumberland Gap.”
Mason played with a true energy for the music and the culture in which it was made, stomping his left foot to keep the beat. Singing with a side address microphone, JR and Jonny played fiddle and mandolin, respectively. Bass player, Leroy Jones describes his love for the music as, “Being bitten by a bug.” The soft ambient lighting of The Haymarket Whiskey Bar provided a warm, friendly setting for friends, family, and connoisseurs of Kentucky originals; both the music and the bourbon.