Palisade Bluegrass Festival: Henhouse Prowlers

Sunday June 12th, 2011
Riverbend Park- Palisade, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

Saturday June 11th, The Henhouse Prowlers played Quixote's True Blue... My favorite venue. Unfortunately I had to miss the affair due to a wedding in Palisade. Disappointment set in, until Sunday June 12th when I received a text from Ben Wright (banjo) informing me that myself and my guests would be on the list. As we were nearing the exit for the festival on our way back to Denver, we made a last minute decision to make it happen. We're glad that it all came together, as Palisade Bluegrass Festival played host to some great music with the mesa's of the Western Slope of Colorado as the backdrop!

The check in process went smoothly and we made it into the riverside venue as the Prowlers began. The sun peaked through the tall trees as a slight breeze kept the lawn chair crowd cool. There was a great vibe about this little festival. There were lots of vendors, activities for the children and friendly faces everywhere.

The Prowlers sported their usual suits and ties and gathered around one main vocal mic, a nod to the early days of bluegrass. They sounded as though they had fallen back into the swing of things after some changes in the band. They sounded focused and practiced as they picked through some impressive instrumentals without issue.

Ben seemed to lead the charge, nailing some complicated melodic rolls with ease. His playing was crucial to the band, not only as the one responsible for keeping time, but as a contributor vocally in the lead and on harmonies. Behind Ben was original member Jon Goldfine on the bass. Jon's roll in the band has always been more than most bluegrass bassists, with Jon also contributing a large portion of the vocals and harmonies. His honest, heartfelt sound provided some really enjoyable moments throughout the set.

Grant Ziolkowski, the newest member of the Prowlers, seemed to be settling in and growing musically show to show. He seemed to be more comfortable and held a stronger presence than the times that I had seen him prior. His chops were solid, his vocals strong and his sense of the music was on point.

On the opposite side of the stage was guitar-slinger Eric Lambert. Eric has always impressed me with larger-than-life solos and animated expressions. His ability to captivate the crowd seemed immeasurable. Eric would step to the front of the stage and unleash a barrage of notes in the ever so delightful flatpicking style.

Individually, I was impressed. Collectively, I was excited to see one of my favorites in top form. The highlights of the set included "Carolina Moon", "Syracuse", "Unsteady Footing" and "Forty Acres & a Mule." Having seen the Prowlers a plethora of times, it's easy to get tired of the same core songs, but the Prowlers seem to continuously progress in regards to learning and incorporating new material.

Following the set the Prowlers headed over to the merch table where fans had a chance to meet and great with one of their new favorites.

We were all very impressed with not only the Prowlers, but with the clean, well run Palisade Bluegrass Festival. There is something special about getting together with kind folks for some good ol' traditional music.

Photo Gallery From The Show


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