SEMINOLE – A long-time local favorite ensemble, Gypsy Wind, is next in the impressive lineup for this city’s free Music in the Park concert series. Gypsy Wind, presented by Waste Management of Pinellas, Inc., will play Friday, 7 to 9 p.m., at Seminole City Park.
According to its Web site, Gypsy Wind has performed live with violin virtuosos Vassar Clements, as well as sharing bookings with such bluegrass greats as The Rice Brothers, Tim and Molly O’Brien, Mark Johnson, Alan Shadd and Dan Hicks. Soon, the group will perform at venues to include the Tavern on the Bayboro at the University of South Florida, Katiki on Sunset Beach and the Yalaha Country Bakery.
The ensemble’s musical journey has been a long road with many twists and turns, according to its Web site. Even though the journey has been varied, this innovative group of players has always captured the essence of what is true to their hearts. Their music is energizing, new and entwined in the family roots.
For three of the members, bluegrass has defined a way of life. Brother and sister duo, Kristen and Kevin Holloway, spent most of their childhood listening to the sounds of the five-string banjo echo through the house as their father, Mike Holloway, picked until the wee hours of the morning with fellow musicians. As children, they often participated with their dad in home jam sessions.
Kevin picked up his first three-quarter size fiddle at the age of 8 and within a couple of months it became apparent that he was a natural. Playing local talent shows, festivals and parties developed Kevin’s ability to captivate crowds everywhere. By age 13, Kevin discovered his forte – the mandolin. In 1984, Kevin wooed judges at the Pioneer Days Music Festival in Dade City with his original composition, “Rain,” for which he received first place in the championship. Today Kevin’s playing and singing are clean, dynamic and an integral part of Gypsy Wind’s sound.
Kristen began playing the flute at age 10 and continued her musical training in high school and college. Her exposure to music at a young age paved the way for the formation of their family band, “Grass With Class,” and later their album, “Friends.” The influence of David Grisman and the “Dawg” movement opened the door for Kristen to explore another realm of her musicianship. Her vocal influences include Emmylou Harris, Claire Lynch, Nancy Griffith and Shawn Colvin. The group also has a CD called, “Timeless Journey.”
Michael Godwin’s musical roots also were seeded by his father, Walter. He began playing banjo at age 13 and continued to study a wide range of musical instruments. Today, Godwin teaches and performs on various instruments including guitar, bass, mandolin and the low brass family. During college, he performed with John Fadis and the Bob Hope Show Band. Godwin and Billy Sandlin, a guest performer on Gypsy Wind’s CD, played with Bill Monroe at his last show in Tarpon Springs. Today, Godwin spreads his talents through a host of regional bands and teaches locally.
David Crisler was first attracted to the banjo by seeing a close-up of a musician’s hands on television picking the strings of one at breakneck speed. That, combined with a love for the sublime beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, propelled him headlong into the desire to play this instrument.
• Sept. 24 - Wiley Fox (country)
Presented by Lake Seminole Square
• Oct. 1 - The Tom Kats (Oldies Rock ’n’ Roll)
Presented by State Farm Insurance, agent Mark Higgins