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Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out Release "Brown County Red" to Radio

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 23:19
Cumming, Ga. -- Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are proud to announce the long awaited release of new music on their newly formed label, Break-A-String. "Brown County Red," the first single from the band's upcoming album, The Test of Tyme, was delivered to radio stations Tuesday. Their new album, The Test of Tyme, is due to be released this summer.

For nearly 25 years, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have proven their staying power and have firmly marked their place in bluegrass music as a powerhouse, headlining group, due in part to over 50 industry awards to their credit. But when it comes right down to it, it's the music, their own unique sound fronted by the golden voice of Russell Moore, that will be archived in the music history books long after the band has played their last note. IBMA's most awarded male vocalist with five trophies under his belt, along with veteran members Wayne Benson on mandolin and Justen Haynes on fiddle welcomed the two newest members, Keith McKinnon on banjo and Blake Johnson on bass at the end of 2013.

Even after being a professional musician his entire adult life, Moore is still on fire with enthusiasm and is quick to want to speak about the new configuration of IIIrd Tyme Out and the band's next chapter. "Keith and Blake have been in the band now for a little over a year and we're all very excited about the makeup of the group as it is right now," he states. "The stuff that they bring to the group to make the IIIrd Tyme Out sound is special. We've been looking forward to getting in the studio, to document and to put something down that shows what we have to offer now." The excitement from Moore continues when the subject of starting his own record label comes up. "A couple years ago we decided to start our own music label and it's called Break-A-String. It's exciting to be in that much control of everything that's going on around you."

Watch "Behind the Scenes with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out - The Making of 'Brown County Red'"

With new life breathed into the band, a new record label, and an armful of first rate songs in tow, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out sought out a new recording venue with only one familiar piece requested; that they bring Grammy Award winning engineer Brandon Bell back on board. Bell engineered the band's previous album and the team discovered that the combination worked like a well-oiled machine. And with that, the band landed at Southern Ground Nashville, owned by country music star Zac Brown, where Bell is the studio director and chief engineer. The studio's staff welcomed the band with open arms and were thrilled to have this supergroup as the first band to record a bluegrass record at the historic site.

Written by Kyle Burnett, "Brown County Red" is the first single from the new album, The Test of Tyme, due for release this summer. A quick three-quarter time signature, the song will immediately grab the attention of listeners for its uniqueness. Add in the swift fiddle kick supported by solid mandolin chop, some of the finest banjo picking and bass playing in the business, and then top it off with Moore's unmistakable power-driven vocal and signature IIIrd Tyme Out harmonies akin to the very early years in the band's history, and "Brown County Red" will make for a sure-fire hit!

Tags: Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutSingleBrown County RedCD ReleaseThe Test of TymeRadio

Doug Bartlett Joins Hammertowne

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 23:16

With the release of a brand new album, Highways & Heartaches, just days away, Hammertowne has added another weapon to their arsenal. Doug Bartlett, a seasoned veteran on the bluegrass circuit, joins the Hammertowne band on fiddle and vocals. Doug has cut quite a large path through the years as a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver(recording no less than 3 albums), The Lonesome River Band, The James King Band, and Del McCoury to name a few.

"Doug is one of the most talented people I know." says Dave Carroll of Hammertowne. "Not only is he a top tier musician and singer, he is a joy to be around. His fiddle playing is a absolute perfect fit for our music. We're all just thrilled about the future with Doug in the mix." Ironically, Doug's first show, will be at Hammertownes's Release Celebration of their new Mountain Fever Records release Highways & Heartaches on Saturday, April 11th, in Grayson Kentucky, at "Simply the Best" Bluegrass and Sports hot spot. Sounds like percect timing to me.

Doug has been a professional musician for over 30 years. He has toured all across the United States, Canada and Europe. Winner of two IBMA Awards and two time Grammy Nominee. Besides being a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, fiddle and other instruments, Doug is also a fine singer-songwriter. He has released his own solo material including the powerful Mama, Will You Call My Daddy

Hammertowne is a mix of seasoned veterans and young, new generation Bluegrass prodigies, and the mix makes for some high powered bluegrass rendering. With multiple industry renowned song writers in the unit, Hammertowne "Hammers Out" a sound that is certainly their own, while still holding fast to the traditions of the pioneers that laid the tracks before them.

From its inception, the group’s identity has been defined by a hard-driving style of bluegrass that combines unique instrumentation with a distinctive knack for weaving vocal harmonies. Hammertowne creates their hard driving sound with one foot in the traditional arena to honor those who paved the way before them, and the other in the progressive arena as reflected in their many original songs they write and perform. Help welcome Doug to Hammertowne and get ready for even hotter bluegrass.

Tags: Doug BartlettHammertowneBand AnnouncementFiddle

Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers' Assoc to hold 50th Anniversary Concert

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 22:34

Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers' Association (OOTFA) is presenting a Celebration Concert featuring State and National Champion Fiddlers at their 50th Annual State Convention at the Polk County Fairgrounds on April 10th, from 7 to 10 pm.

Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers' are gearing up for their Annual State Convention to be held at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall Oregon. Highlighting this years convention will be a Traditional Fiddlers Program on April 10th Friday evening from 7 pm to 10 pm that will showcase some of the finest State and National Champion Fiddlers from Oregon. There are ten Districts throughout the state that will be sending their best performers to add to the event. OOTFA members gather once a year for their Annual Convention from April 8th to April 11th where there will be fiddle workshops for kids and adults, Jamming non-stop and plenty of visiting for friends and families.

A special Concert appearance will be made by Dr. Chip "Horsehair" Cohen. Chip recently published his first book, Tall Tales and Twin Fiddles, a collection of traditional old-time fiddle tunes. Chip's solo CD, Horsehair, was hailed by the Eugene Weekly as a "musical masterpiece". He will be accompanied by Tenia Cooley from Eugene who just won First Place in the Junior Junior Division at the Oregon State 2015 Fiddle Contest.

The Convention is also providing several workshops in the Southern Appalachian Fiddling style taught by Cohen who learned his fiddling in the Smokey Mountains. OOTFA will be providing the workshops for OOTFA youth members free on Saturday April 11, for information Call Roland White OOTFA State President at: 541-647-4789.

State President Roland White says, "Oldtime fiddling is indeed an American Cultural Heritage and the OOTFA is committed to preserving and promoting the music for now and in the future." ?White continues, " This past year we have been celebrating our 50 Year Legacy of providing all Oregon citizens the opportunity to, play learn and listen to Oldtime Fiddle Music, while promoting our mission statement, "To promote, preserve and perpetuate Old Time Fiddling and Old Time music." For more information on how to join or donate please visit

Tags: Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers AssociationFiddleConcertEvent50th Anniversary

Record Store Day Coming April 18th

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 22:54

The party in 2015 will once again cement Record Store Day’s legacy as the music industry’s biggest holiday, celebrating the culture of the independent record store worldwide on Saturday, April 18th. Each year, artists and lables release their vinyl offerings for this special day. The offerings include almost every genre and style and there's always something for bluegrass music fans too.

With music sales in steep decline, only two media formats are on the rise: Streaming and Vinyl! The resurgence in vinyl is a welcome format to both those older people who cherished the format and for the people just getting introduced. The newer "heavy vinyl" in 180 gram to 200+ gram are being added to audiophile libraries across the country.

In addition to the new vinyl releases, new outlets are popping up with viny music displays. Many are in unlikely places such as Whole Foods markets. Our local recycled records store is also selling new releases and more and more artists are offering a limited number of their latest works in the vinyl format.

The vinyl releases related to bluegrass music this year include vinyl albums by Steve Earle & The Dukes, Robert Earl Keen, Mumford & Sons, Dolly Parton, Doc Watson, Lee Ann Womack and more. Here is a short list of what you can expect on Record Store Day...

Steve Earle A-side version of "Terraplane" (a song not on the record) and a b-side of Robert Johnsons "Terraplane Blues". Will be mastered at the level of Robert Johnson's original recording. Most of the versions you hear today are remastered and the db's are brought up. This one will be as close to the original 78 as possible. Includes download card.

Robert Earl Keen's much anticipated vinyl issue of the Texas troubadour's breakout 1994 release.

Mumford & Sons' bootleg style 7" hand numbered and hand stamped. First physical release of music from the upcoming album.

Dolly Parton's seminal award winning 1999 bluegrass debut, available for the first time on vinyl.

Doc and Merle Watson's Ballads from the Gap fan-voted vinyl re-issue of the iconic release, re-mastered from the original tapes and presented in 'exact replica' pacakaging.

Lee Ann Womack with her three track acoustic LP Trouble in Mind limited run release.

Check you favorite bluegrass artists as many have current LP offerings today that are not included in the Record Store Day list of releases. So, lets boogie down the boulevard to better ballads, truck down the trail to true tunes, spin the platter, cut the chatter, with another goldy oldy moldy blast outta the past on your turntable! Vinyl is alive and well and once again, growing in popularity.

Buying vinyl is only half the story. The other half is in helping the brick & mortar Mom & Pop record stores to stay open and offering to bring more vinyl to the market. With many younger people getting interested in the "old" format, more albums may be offered. While we will probably never see the supermarket sized stores like Peaches, Record Barn, or Sam Goody's, the fact that interest in vinyl is increasing is a good thing.

Tags: Record Store DayDoc & Merle WatsonLee Ann WomackDolly PartonRobert Earl KeenSteve EarleMumford & Sons

Kilby Spencer & the Crooked Road Ramblers at Carter Fold Saturday

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 22:52

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, April 4th, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special concert by Kilby Spencer & the Crooked Road Ramblers. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. The Crooked Road Ramblers play traditional old time dance music from the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. Members of the band are Kilby Spencer on fiddle, John Perry on guitar, Peco Watson on clawhammer banjo, Donald Hill on guitar and vocals, Wayne Dye on mandolin, and Karen Carr on bass and vocals. Most of the band are second and third-generation musicians who now play old time mountain music influenced by their families and communities.

Kilby grew up in a musical family. His parents are Thornton and Emily Spencer of the Whitetop Mountain Band – a band that has performed for over four decades. John Perry is well-known throughout our area for his guitar playing. Lots of people remember John for playing in the award-winning band the New River Ramblers. Donald Hill has been playing music his entire life. His father, Leon Hill, was a musician and singer as well. Don is the senior member of the band, and he was actually playing guitar with the Whitetop Mountain Band in 1982. In fact, he was playing at the 1982 World’s Fair while Kilby was being born. Karen Carr is a dream-come-true for any old time or bluegrass band. She loves to play music and sing. She and Don also handle comedy for the group. Karen is deeply rooted in the musical heritage of the region with relatives who played including Fred Cockerham and Wilson Ramey. Karen’s won the award for best old-time bass at Galax twice. Wayne Dye is a former member of the Russell County Boys – a band formed by the former sheriff of Russell County – Trigg Fields. Peco Watson is well-known throughout the region. He played with the award-winning New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters for many years. Kyle Creed taught him a great deal on the banjo.

Don’t miss Kilby Spencer and the Crooked Road Ramblers at the Carter Family Fold. It will be an evening of down-home entertainment. Bring along your friends and your dancing shoes!

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Kilby SpencerCrooked Road RamblersCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Memphis in May by Sugarlands Distilling to Feature Bluegrass and More

Sat, 03/28/2015 - 22:40

Gatlinburg, TN -- Sugarlands Distilling Company, crafters of award winning Smoky Mountain moonshine, has partnered with the Memphis in May International Festival in 2015 to be the exclusive moonshine for the festival. For the second year in a row, Sugarlands Distilling Company will be offering signature Sugarlands Shine cocktails during Memphis in May events. The Beale Street Music Festival features all styles of music including bluegrass, Americana, roots, jazz, folk and more.

The Memphis in May International Festival is a month long celebration in Memphis, Tenn. celebrating music, food, drinks and more. Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, John Fogerty, and The Avett Brothers will headline this year’s Beale Street Music Festival May 1-3. Other notable artists include Band of Horses, Wilco, and The Pixies.

May 14-16 will feature the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. Every year, hundreds of teams compete for over $111,000 in prizes and supreme bragging rights. Sugarlands Distilling Company’s signature moonshine cocktails will be offered as a refreshing companion to the award winning food.

The festivities will conclude May 23 with the 2015 AutoZone Sunset Symphony. The Sunset Symphony will end its 39-year run with a Grand Finale Celebration that includes a performance by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, several special guests, and an expanded fireworks event.

Sugarlands Distilling Company will be giving away ticket packages to the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest, and the AutoZone Sunset Symphony on their Facebook page in the weeks leading up to the festival.

Sugarlands Distilling Company proudly supports music, drinks, and culture at their distillery in Gatlinburg, Tenn., where guests can taste Sugarlands Shine, listen to some of the nations’ best Americana and bluegrass music on The Back Porch, and plan excursions into the Smoky Mountains.

With her earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter, and his virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity fused with bluegrass roots the music of Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn is a one-of-a-kind pairing, with one-of-a-kind possibilities. Fleck and Washburn have collaborated in the past, most notably in their Sparrow Quartet, with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee. Until last fall, though, any performances they gave as a two-piece were decidedly informal: a pickin’ party here, a benefit show at Washburn’s grandmother’s Unitarian church there. It was inevitable and eagerly anticipated by fans of tradition-tweaking acoustic fare that these partners in music and life (who married in 2009) would eventually do a full-fledged project together.

Now that Fleck, a fifteen-time Grammy® winner, has devoted time away from his standard-setting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones to a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments, from writing a concerto for the Nashville Symphony to exploring the banjo’s African roots to playing in jazz duos with Chick Corea, while Washburn has drawn critical acclaim for her solo albums, done fascinating work in folk musical diplomacy in China, presented an original theatrical production, contributed to singular side groups Uncle Earl and The Wu-Force and become quite a live draw in her own right, the two of them decided they were ready to craft their debut album as a duo, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn.

Tags: Memphis in MayBeale Street Music FestivalBéla Fleck & Abigail WashburnThe Avett BrothersEventMusic Festival

Big Country Bluegrass at Carter Fold Tonight

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 22:42

Big Country Bluegrass was formed by husband and wife Tommy and Teresa Sells in the late 1980s and took its’ name from Tommy’s coon-hunting buddy Jimmy Martin’s instrumental Big Country. The group delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Whether it’s at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small, intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music.

Saturday, March 28th, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Big Country Bluegrass. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

All the band’s members live in and around the Virginia/Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. Tommy Sells plays mandolin and handles most of the emcee work. Teresa Sells plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Lynnwood Lunsford, a former member of both the Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and sings harmony for the group. Tony King plays upright bass for the group. Bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin of Bristol, Tennessee, plays fiddle and sings harmony with the band.

Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.

The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. The recent success of Big Country Bluegrass on the bluegrass charts has helped spread the word about their traditional sound. Their last Rebel recording, Memories of the Past, and its’ title cut I’m Putting on My Leaving Shoes, has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited air-play chart. The band just received their new Rebel Records release Country Livin’, and it’s available through their website or at the show. For more information on the band, go to

If you love to dance or if you prefer just listening, Big Country Bluegrass won’t disappoint. In fact, the band has become a favorite of Fold audiences. For some of the best traditional bluegrass music the region has to offer, don’t miss them at the Carter Family Fold!

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo

Tags: Big Country BluegrassCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Deering Banjos Launches the New Goodtime Banjo Ukulele

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 22:40

Spring Valley, CA -- Following resurging interest in banjo and ukulele playing over the last 5 years, Deering Banjo Company has introduced the new Goodtime Banjo Ukulele, ($499 MSRP) available now at authorized Deering banjo dealers. Alongside the Aquila® Super Nylgut strings, patented bridge plate and renaissance head, players will instantly notice that the Goodtime banjo ukulele boasts a genuine concert ukulele scale and a full size 11” rim, instead of the smaller, more common 8” rim of other banjo ukuleles over the last 70 years. The larger rim allows for a fuller, warmer tone and noticeably bigger ukulele sound while retaining the familiar banjo ‘snap’.

“Customers have been asking us about a banjo ukulele for a long time” says Deering Marketing Director David Bandrowski. “We definitely wanted to offer a fuller, more accurate banjo ukulele sound with this instrument. We took our time to really create something different to what was already available and we are really excited with the results.”

Tonally, the warmth of the larger rim is further enhanced by the use of a Deering renaissance head which naturally lends itself to a much warmer sound than its traditional frosted top counterpart. The Goodtime banjo ukulele is finished off with a set of Super Nylgut strings from renowned ukulele string manufacturer Aquila, giving the Goodtime banjo ukulele superior playability and longevity, as well as beautiful balance across all the strings. Fans of strumming style ukulele playing will truly enjoy the fuller sounding chords at their disposal.

"The details of the Goodtime banjo ukulele is what makes it so special. The strings are no exception and when it came time to consider options, Aquila was the only real option", says Bandrowski.

Aesthetically, the concert scale Goodtime banjo ukulele is crafted in a blonde maple with a renaissance head, hardwood bowtie inlays, nickel plated hardware, nylon strings, guitar style tuners, and the new patented Deering bridge plate. The bridge plate helps to increase sustain while reducing unwanted bass frequencies and makes for a warmer, fuller tone without the harsh higher frequencies which can make a banjo ukulele sound thin and insubstantial.

Deering banjo company will be kicking off the launch of the Goodtime Banjo Ukulele with a unique, video based countdown on their Instagram account, Follow @deeringbanjos on Instagram ( or discover more at

Deering Banjo Company was founded in 1975 as the world’s specialist in banjos and has grown to become the largest manufacturer of American made banjos in the world. Located in Spring Valley, CA, Deering produces all of its quality 4-string, 5-string, 6-string, and 12-string banjos in the same US facility and boasts the most knowledgeable team in the industry. Always on the cutting edge of banjo innovation, Deering is proud to have artists such as Steve Martin, Taylor Swift, Bela Fleck, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, the Avett Brothers, Jens Kruger, Dropkick Murphys, and many more play their banjos. Visit to learn more about Deering Banjos.

Tags: Deering BanjosGoodtimeUkuleleNew ProductBanjo

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle Debut New Album March 31st

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 22:42
Nashville, TN -- The highly anticipated debut album from Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle will be released on March 31st. Several months back the Bluegrass Situation called the debut album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle one of the most highly anticipated bluegrass albums for 2015.

The first single from the album “Leaving Crazytown” written by award winning songwriters Tim Stafford and Steve Gulley was released last September. The single has reached #1 on the Bluegrass Today Weekly AirPlay Chart five times which is a very rare occurrence and an incredible achievement for a new group noted by Terry Herd.

"We couldn't be happier about or more humbled by the overwhelming response to our debut single, “Leaving Crazytown". That, coupled with the enthusiasm and anticipation shown for our new project has been so extremely gratifying and inspiring. It's truly a special time for all the guys in New Pinnacle and we can't wait for you to hear all the new music we've created. A big "Thank You" to our bluegrass family for all the support!” – Steve Gulley

“Leaving Crazytown” displays the fine musicianship, passion and drive of Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle and firmly establishes their unique harmonies and a sound that is all their own. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes; Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals). - See more at:

On March 27th Bluegrass Junction, hosted by Kyle Cantrell on SiriusXM radio will broadcast a Live World Premier of the debut album. The Live World Premier will include performances by band members Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals) and special guests Tim Crouch (fiddle) and Amanda Smith (vocals on “Every Time You Leave Me”). Broadcast days and airtimes for the Live World Premier are as follows:

  • Friday, March 27th - 6 pm (EST)
  • Saturday, March 28th 1- 2 Noon (EST)
  • Sunday, March 29th - 5 pm (EST)
  • Tuesday, March 31st - 9 pm (EST)

Coming soon is the second video promo for the album featuring all the band members who discuss the development of the band and recording the album, as well as, some interesting back stories on several songs from the album.

The Gulley family name enjoys a rich musical heritage that reaches across generations with strong roots in Bluegrass and Mountain Gospel music. It starts with long time radio personality Don Gulley who was a founding member of the Bluegrass group the Pinnacle Mountain Boys. Don’s son, Steve Gulley, has carried on the family tradition performing for many years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, as a founding member of Bluegrass super groups Mountain Heart and Grasstowne, as a regular featured performer at Renfro Valley and with Steve’s longtime friend and colleague Dale Ann Bradley.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes; Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals).Steve Gulley certainly does not need any introduction to the Bluegrass community with accomplishments that include16 years as a featured performer, staff musician, music director, studio manager and producer at Renfro Valley, KY. From 1994-96 Steve was a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and a founding member of Mountain Heart ('98 - '06) and Grasstowne ('06 - '11). Steve is currently touring with Dale Ann Bradley through the end of 2014. Steve is a winner of 4 IBMA Awards including Co-writer of the 2008 Song Of The Year, "Through The Window Of A Train", by Blue Highway and SPBGMA Multi award winner including 2008 Album Of The Year, "The Road Headin' Home”, by Grasstowne.

In addition, Steve has produced many albums at his Curve Recording studio in Cumberland Gap, TN, including the Dove nominated album “Healed” for Locust Ridge, the critically acclaimed Civil War album project “God Didn’t Choose Sides”, and the Christmas CD/DVD and broadcast of “Christmas The Mountain Way”, which aired on RFD-TV’s FamilyNet and BlueHighways TV networks.

Steve has put together an impressive group of musicians to form New Pinnacle pulling some of the top talent in his Tennessee / Kentucky / Virginia border state community that he has called his home all his life.

Bryan Turner is a super talented musician with a strong pedigree in bluegrass, country and gospel music. His family contains many well-respected musicians including his dad, Bill, and his late uncle, Buster Turner, who wrote and performed so many wonderful songs that have been recorded by some of bluegrass and gospel music's most respected artists. However, Bryan doesn't stand on his family name alone. He has carved his own musical path filled with respect and accomplishments. He has performed and traveled with the groups Cumberland Gap Connection, Pine Mountain Railroad and The Dale Ann Bradley Band and worked with many other great names in the bluegrass world. Besides being a fine instrumentalist and vocalist, Bryan is also a great studio engineer and technician. He is co-owner, along with Steve Gulley and Mark Laws, of The Curve Recording Studio and has his name on a great number of nationally acclaimed recordings that have been created there. A native of New Tazewell, TN, Bryan plays bass and sings lead and harmony vocals in the band and is a welcome and valuable asset to New Pinnacle.

Gary Robinson, Jr. is a spectacular young multi-instrumentalist who hails from Lee County in the beautiful mountains of southwestern Virginia near the Cumberland Gap National Park where so much great bluegrass and old - time roots music has originated. Gary carries the banner of that music proudly and it shows in everything he does. Although only in his early twenties, Gary boasts a long tenure in the world of bluegrass music. He started playing guitar at age 8 and mandolin when he was only 9 years old. As his love for the music and his talent grew, he later made his way to the stages of Renfro Valley as part of its Young Country Showcase where he was exposed to a larger audience. Not long after, he joined the band Cumberland Gap Connection where he remained for several years, he then became a member of the hard driving, cutting edge bluegrass band, Cumberland River until 2014. Gary plays mandolin in New Pinnacle, but is also accomplished on several other instruments including guitar and banjo.

Matthew Cruby resides in the small town of Fort Blackmore, Virginia with his wife, Melinda, and their daughter, Matalie. Matt was introduced to bluegrass music at a young age and it has remained a big part of his life ever since. He began playing the guitar when he was only 5 years old. Then, at age 10, he took an interest in playing the banjo and soon became incredibly well versed on that instrument as well. Over the years since those early days, he has become well known in bluegrass circles for his impeccable musicianship as well as his passion for the music. Matt has performed and toured with the groups Appalachian Trail and Dave Adkins and Republik Steele. He plays banjo and sings harmony vocals with New Pinnacle.

Tags: Steve Gulley and New PinnacleCD ReleaseVideoLeaving Crazytown

Trinity River Band Announces Upcoming "Heartstrings" Album

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 22:55

Callahan, FL -- Orange Blossom Records is proud to announce the new album, Heartstrings, by Trinity River Band will be released on May 12, 2015. The album was recently recorded at National Media Services in Virginia with Executive Producer Mike Harris and Producers Will Shenk, Sarah Harris, and Joshua Harris. Trinity River Band members, Mike, Lisa, Sarah, Joshua and Brianna Harris are joined by special guests Marty Raybon on the song “Fences” written by Mark “Brink” Brinkman and Dale Pyatt, along with the talents of Mark Johnson (on the song “Tell Me Darlin’ written by Anne and Pete Sibley.

Fans can expect the first single and title track “Heartstrings” to hit radio mid-April. The song, written by Mike Harris, is certainly highlighted by the band's tight family harmony and impressive lead vocals by Sarah Harris. Sarah has received two consecutive nominations by the International Bluegrass Music Association for the Momentum Award in the Performance, Vocalist category.

Trinity River Band is a Bluegrass, Americana and Acoustic Roots band from Callahan, Florida that has burst onto the national acoustic music scene in just seven short years. Tracing their beginnings to performances in their local area churches in early 2008, they went to full-time touring in 2011 and quickly gained a devoted following nationwide.

There is no better harmony than that of a family band and the group's harmony blend perfectly serves their acoustic roots musical style. The years spent honing their vocals are evidenced by their recorded and live performances. The group includes the talents of Mike Harris (Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Lisa Harris (Bass, Harmony Vocals); Josh Harris (Banjo, Dobro, Harmony Vocals); Brianna Harris (Fiddle, Lead and Harmony Vocals); and the mesmerizing lead singer and Mandolinist, Sarah Harris who is a two-time IBMA Momentum Award Nominee in the Vocalist of the Year Category.

The band’s 2014 CD release, Better Than Blue, is receiving extensive radio play on SiriusXM satellite radio as well as terrestrial stations worldwide and is a showcase of the band’s versatility. Released on the Orange Blossom Records label, the album features new original material from Mike and Sarah Harris, Larry Cordle, Lisa Shaffer, Carl Jackson, Lucinda Williams, Sarah Pirkle, Brink Brinkman and Paula Breedlove.

Trinity River Band has received chart success and media attention for their previous albums: Better Than Blue, Today Don’t Look Like Rain, Time To Move, and their latest Christmas album, On A Morning Like This.

Heartstrings tracks include:

  1. “You Can’t Walk All Over Me”
  2. “Heartstrings”
  3. “Rusty Old American Dream”
  4. “Going Down Hard”
  5. “Tell Me Darlin’”
  6. “Mindbender”
  7. “Fences”
  8. “How Blue”
  9. “Give God The Power”
  10. “Where Are You Tonight, I Wonder”
  11. “Blue Mandolin”
  12. “Only Here For A Little While”

Heartstrings pre-orders are now available at Fans are also invited to follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags: Trinity River BandCD ReleaseHeartstringsOrange Blossom Records

The Del McCoury Band Leads 2nd Wave of 2015 FreshGrass Lineup

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 22:53

North Adams, MA -- FreshGrass, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA) 3-day bluegrass and roots music festival announced the second round of bands set to play its annual September festival. Festival favorites The Del McCoury Band, Indiana alt-country rockers Houndmouth, Malian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vieux Farka Touré, Boston-based trio The Ballroom Thieves, and acoustic roots band Cat and The Moon join an already-robust lineup, featuring headliner the Punch Brothers, a late-night hoedown by Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan, festival favorite Alison Brown, Peter Rowan, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Flatt Lonesome, Darol Anger’s Mr. Sun, Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, and 2014 FreshGrass Award winners Twisted Pine and Quiles & Cloud. FreshGrass, to be held on September 18-20, 2015, features bluegrass traditionalists and trailblazers on four stages and throughout every nook and cranny of MASS MoCA’s 28-building, 16-acre campus.

FreshGrass veteran The Del McCoury Band will be returning to the festival for the third time this September. For fifty years, Del McCoury’s music has set the bluegrass standard of authenticity while maintaining its relevance: “Del epitomizes the bluegrass musician from a previous era, and also from this one,” says acclaimed guitarist and 2013 FreshGrass performer Jerry Douglas.

Oft-compared to swaggering folk-rock legend The Band for its group vocals, narrative songwriting, and larger-than life stage presence, Houndmouth, after forming in the summer of 2011, played small, local venues in Louisville and Indiana until its big break at SXSW in March 2012. According to legend, Geoff Travis, head of the tastemaking Rough Trade Records, heard the band at the music festival and offered Houndmouth a contract on the spot. Despite its UK representation, Houndmouth’s distinctly Americana sound shone through on its first album, From the Hills Below the City. The album was a critical success (NPR Music called it “near perfect”) and led to several performances on the late-night circuit and several major festivals (SPIN and Esquire magazines named Houndmouth a “must-see” at Lollapalooza 2013). The band recently followed up its debut album with Little Neon Limelight, released on March 17, 2015, showcasing the same signature blend of classic Americana sensibilities and raucous, rollicking, rock ‘n’ roll delivery that the band will be bringing to FreshGrass 2015.

Last year, Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam Ó Maonlaí brought his solo act to our FreshGrass stages. His raw, unapologetic traditional Irish influences and instrumentation made him an instant festival favorite (so much so that he returned to the museum for a special St. Patrick’s Day show this month). Like Ó Maonlaí before him, Malian singer-songwriter Vieux Farka Touré offers an unexpected and global perspective to the FreshGrass lineup, although Touré’s sound is an eclectic meld of blues, world, rock, reggae, soul, and Malian folk music. Touré has received critical acclaim from an equally eclectic array of sources, he’s no stranger to the top of the world-music charts, and his own father, Ali Ibrahim "Farka" Touré, is one of Africa’s most internationally renowned musicians to date. Vieux Farka Touré has collaborated with the likes of Derek Trucks, John Scofield, Dave Matthews, and, of course, his father, and in 2010 he performed alongside Shakira, Alicia Keys, and K’naan at the opening celebration of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Touré’s diverse array of musical influences and collaborators, his soulful, groove-ready tracks, and his firm roots in folk are sure to catapult him to FreshGrass 2015 fame.

The Ballroom Thieves bring their city heritage and country feel to this year’s FreshGrass lineup. The Boston-based threesome boasts a stripped-down, acoustic, organic setup — so that the show goes wherever they do — and amidst their rollicking guitar riffs, emotive cello, and pulsating drum beats is the crown jewel of the trio: their breathtaking three-part vocals. Their unique sound strips the conventions of pop and folk to their core and builds them back up again with renewed vitality, which explains why acts such as The Lone Bellow, Dispatch, the Wheeler Brothers, and fellow FreshGrass 2015 performer Houndmouth have all toured and collaborated with the band.

Cat and The Moon, a dynamic acoustic roots band, rounds out this wave of announcements with its strong Celtic and bluegrass influences. After forming at the Berklee College of Music, the band quickly rose to prominence in Boston’s world-class Irish music scene. The band features the musical stylings of San Francisco banjoist, Ricky Mier, who takes a multi-faceted approach to his instrument. Inspired by the musical traditions of bluegrass, jazz, traditional Irish, folk, and classical, and motivated by an academic interest in the banjo (Mier is still an active contributor of tablature and transcriptions to the Banjo Hangout), his diverse and compelling banjo skills made him winner of the 2014 FreshGrass “Best Banjo” contest. Now returning to FreshGrass 2015 with Cat and The Moon, Mier’s unbelievable banjo prowess finally gets the staging it deserves.

In addition to concerts, contests, workshops, and the festival’s legendary jam sessions — during which professional musicians pick and play among the crowd, many of whom bring their own instruments — festival events include camping, located a short distance from MASS MoCA’s campus, and children's programming. Admission to MASS MoCA's galleries is included with a festival pass, and festival-goers enjoy dozens of pop-up concerts set among dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art.

Advance 3-day adult tickets are now available for $93, with student tickets priced at $83, $46 for kids 7-16, and free admission for kids six and under. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount on festival ticket prices. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event, as space allows. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website,, and on Facebook at FreshGrass Festival. FreshGrass is held rain or shine.

Tags: FreshGrassMASS MoCABluegrass FestivalThe Del McCoury BandEventHeadlineLineup

10th Anniversary Bluegrass at The Pavilion Concert April 11th

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 22:49

The Flagler Museum will host its 10th annual Bluegrass in The Pavilion Concert on Saturday, April 11, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. Balsam Range and The Grascals will perform at this National Historic Landmark. Tickets are $35 and all proceeds benefit the South Arts' emergency planning for Gulf Coast cultural institutions. The Pavilion concerts continue to bring the best Bluegrass musicians to South Florida. Past artists have included Audie Blaylock and Redline and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

2014 Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year artists, Balsam Range, is comprised of five gifted friends who all hail from Western North Carolina. Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing. Tim plays bass and he will occasionally share his talents on the resonator guitar. He charms with spontaneity, wit and professionalism. A stellar fiddler, Buddy Melton is also one of the most gifted tenor voices in Bluegrass and Americana today. His range and tone give Balsam Range its identifying sound. With his envied guitar style, Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” He sings with both power and control, delivering a high energy song or a tender ballad with equal vocal skill. Darren Nicholson is a gifted mandolin player and harmony singer with tremendous enthusiasm for American heritage music. That twinkle in Darren’s eye says it all. He is usually up to something! Grammy Award winner, Marc Pruett brings more than 40 years of entertainment experience to the group. He brilliantly complements the ensemble with the intuitive, traditional three finger style that has made him one music’s most admired banjo players.

Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience make up the award-winning Balsam Range.

Great musicians will always find a way to make good music, but for great musicians to make great music, they must form a bond – one that, more often than not, goes beyond the purely musical to the personal. For The Grascals, that bond has been forged at the intersection of personal friendships, shared professional resumes and an appreciation for the innovative mingling of bluegrass and country music that has been a hallmark of the Nashville scene for more than forty years. As their releases prove, The Grascals’ rare musical empathy gives them an unerring ear for just the right touch to illuminate each offering’s deepest spirit - whether they’re digging into one of their original songs or reworking a bluegrass classic or pop standard.

Vocally, the trio of Terry Eldredge, Jamie Johnson and Terry Smith are tighter than ever, cutting loose on driving solo vocals and soaring trios with equal fire and passion. As an instrumental unit, The Grascals have never sounded sharper, with mandolin ace Danny Roberts, fiddler Jeremy Abshire and banjo player Kristin Scott Benson leading the charge. As a result, their cutting-edge modern bluegrass is delivered with a deep knowledge of, and admiration for, the work of the music’s founding fathers. Timely yet timeless, The Grascals make music that is entirely relevant to the here and now, yet immersed in traditional values of soul and musicianship.

Tags: Flagler MuseumBluegrass at The PavilionConcertBalsam RangeThe GrascalsEvent

Critics Praise The HillBenders’ Performance of "Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry"

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:19

A capacity crowd at legendary Austin venue Threadgill’s this past Saturday braved the chilly spring rain to see The HillBenders perform Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, an all-acoustic rendition of The Who’s classic album performed in its entirety. As evidenced by the coverage in Rolling Stone, Billboard and Raleigh, NC’s News & Observer, the critically acclaimed bluegrass band’s performance at South by Southwest has been noted as one of the stand-out events at this year’s festival.

"In just one hour on stage during this year’s SXSW, The HillBenders proved that Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry is going to be a major hit," said Tommy producer and co-founder of SXSW, Louis Jay Meyers. "Being referred to as among the 'best of’ in Rolling Stone, Billboard, and the News & Observer is quite an honor."

Compass Records will release Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry in the coming weeks, with pre-sale information to be announced shortly. To showcase the project, The HillBenders have posted an in-the-studio video of what is arguably one of the best known songs from the album, “Pinball Wizard” (click here for the video) .

Upcoming performances of Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry include Nashville’s famed Station Inn on May 10th and music festivals Grey Fox (NY) and RockyGrass (CO) in July, with more dates being added. For additional details on The HillBenders, Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry and all tour dates, visit or

“You haven't heard 'Acid Queen' until you've seen it sung by a bearded man with a mandolin. Covering the Who's Tommy in its entirety as a 'bluegrass opry' for an enthusiastic rain-soaked crowd in the backyard of Threadgill's on Saturday was a genius move. They faithfully replicated the songs, even giving short synopses of the plot at key points, but embellished them with banjo, mandolin and dobro to give the music an extra moonshine kick. The HillBenders, a talented five-piece band from Missouri, proved to be the perfect group to execute this 'Whograss' concept.”
– Rolling Stone, 50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2015

“More proof that pretty much anything goes at SXSW? How about a reimaging of The Who’s Tommy as A Bluegrass Opry. (The HillBenders’) ambitiously and audaciously rendered version of Tommy in its entirety was well worth standing in the rain to hear.”
– Billboard (Gary Graff, 3-22-15)

“Two shows stood out well above all else. The silver medalist was Tommy, performed by a Missouri quintet called The HillBenders… it was a phenomenal and brilliantly executed homage to the classic rock opera.”
– Raleigh, NC’s News & Observer (David Menconi, 3-22-15)

Tags: The HillBendersTommyTommy: A Bluegrass OpryEvent

European Bluegrass Music Association Announces New Board

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:17

The European Bluegrass Music Association announced changes to their board in an EBMA blog article of the March 6th regarding the EBMA AGM, Angelika Torrie, Rienk Janssen, Petr Brandejs and Christopher Howard-Williams announced their decision to step back from the EBMA Board subsequently, Dagfinn Pederson also announced his resignation at short notice. Following the Board Meeting and the EBMA AGM held during the Munich Bluegrass Festival three new board members were elected.

Richard Ciferský from Slovakia is an established professional musician having recorded with his own bands (Bill Faster and Fragment) as well as with recording and touring with US artists (see Richard's website) and is the owner of Radio Velvet - Europe's first 24 hour internet Bluegrass radio station (website).

Stu Vincent has been involved with the EBMA since mid-2014 as part of the EBMA Blog Team writing and editing articles and also hosts two weekly internet Bluegrass radio shows - one for The Bluegrass Mix based in the US and the other on Radio Velvet.

Eugene O'Brien is an Irish-born banjo player known around the European festivals as a member of Sons of Navarone. Eugene is also a member of the British Bluegrass Music Association board and has been elected to be the Chair of the newly constituted EBMA Board.

Susie Bowe, Martino Coppo and Chris Keenan were existing Board members who will continue to serve on the Board. It should also be mentioned that retiring members Angelika Torrie, Petr Brandesj and Rienk Janssen will continue to take a supporting role to the new Board and the EBMA (assistance which has been gratefully accepted); Angelika will remain as Chief Editor for the Bluegrass Europe magazine, Petr will continue to support with the EBMA scholarships programme and Rienk will continue to manage the membership administration.

The new EBMA held their first Board meeting on Monday 23rd March. All recognised the work that had been done by the previous Board which resulted in the EBMA receiving a Distinguished Achievement Award at last year's IBMA World of Bluegrass. From the agenda items which were submitted for the first board meeting it seems that EBMA will have a very busy year ahead! 2015 is going to be an exciting year for the EBMA and Bluegrass music in Europe.

Tags: European Bluegrass Music AssociationEBMABoard of Directors

Bluegrass In Baltimore to be Released May 2015

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:15
Baltimore, MD -- Due to an influx of Appalachian migrants who came looking for work in the 1940s and 50s, Baltimore found itself the recipient of an extraordinarily talented crop of musicians and for a brief time was the center of the bluegrass world.

Based upon interviews with many of the legendary players from this golden-age of bluegrass in Baltimore, who had moved to the city in hopes of a better future and found it in music, Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy, is the first book to take an in-depth look into how the music that was played in Baltimore came to wield influence across a broad musical landscape.

Bluegrass in Baltimore looks in detail at the highly-influential scene in Baltimore that produced such key figures as Del McCoury, Earl Taylor, Walt Hensley, Alice Gerrard, Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger, and Mike Munford and explores the impact the music they made had on a wide-range of musical luminaries including Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Pete Wernick, Sam Bush, Chris Hillman, and many others.

The journey of these Baltimore musicians was not an easy one. They struggled in the face of a music industry that viewed the music they made as the “poorest example of poor man’s music.” There were missed opportunities, personal demons, and the always up-hill battle these pioneers had to fight because of the prejudice against their hillbilly backgrounds. Due to this many of these original Baltimore musicians found they were often resigned to the overlooked role of early innovator or forgotten influence, but the music they made and the influence they had has lasted forever.

Author Tim Newby is the features editor at Honest Tune Magazine. He is an active participant in Baltimore's thriving musical scene. His book will be published by McFarland Books and released May 2015. Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy is available for pre-order now: McFarland Books

Tags: Bluegrass In Baltimore: The Hard Drivin' Sound & Its LegacyBookNew ReleaseTim NewbyBluegrass in Baltimore

Flatt Lonesome Headline Burnet Bluegrass Fest & Fiddlers Contest

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:12

2014 Emerging Artist of the Year Flatt Lonesome will be the featured entertainment at this year's City of Burnet Bluegrass Festival. Named one of the “Five Rising Roots Acts to Watch in 2015” by CMT Edge, Flatt Lonesome made their Texas debut last year at Haley Nelson Park. Also entertaining will be the Sieker Band and Dueling Hearts.

A major change to the event this year is the addition of The Burnet Old Time Fiddler's Contest. The Fiddler's Contest will be held earlier in the day, followed by open mic (assuming time allows) and then followed by the Bluegrass concerts beginning at 4 pm.

The event will be held at Haley Nelson Park, 301 Garden Trails Drive (Just off Highway 29 West) in Burnet. Vendors and food will be available on site but coolers and lawn chairs are welcome. Admission to the festival is free.

The Bluegrass Festival and Fiddler’s Contest is the final event in the Burnet 2015 Summer Concert Series which includes entertainers such as Cory Morrow, Whiskey Myers and Wade Bowen. For more information on the events go online to and click on Bluegrass Festival and Summer Music Series or contact Crista Bromley at (512) 715-3217 or email

Gates Open at 9 a.m.
Fiddlers Contest starts at 10 a.m. (Sign ups 30 minutes before division)
Sieker Band - 4:00 p.m.
Dueling Hearts - 5:15 p.m.
Flatt Lonesome - 7:30 p.m.

The Fiddler's Contest will offer a total purse of over $4,000 in cash prizes as follows:

  • Ages 0-15—10 Places $250 to $10
  • Over 64—5 Places $250 to $50
  • OPEN (any age) —5 places $500 to $300
  • Accompanist—5 places $200 to $50

The events are sponsored by the Burnet Parks and Recreation Department and the Burnet Economic Development Corporation with cooperation from KBEY Radio and Double Eagle Entertainment.

Tags: Flatt LonesomeHeadlineLineupBurnet Bluegrass Fest & Fiddlers ContestEventFiddle

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen Capture Eight Wammie Awards

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 22:17

Austin, TX -- Rising bluegrass band Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen added to their collection of recent accolades with eight wins at the Washington Area Music Association’s 29th annual Wammie Awards, presented Sunday, March 15, at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Va. In addition to Artist and Album of the Year honors (for their 2014 album Cold Spell), the band took home Song of the Year for “Cold Spell,” Musician, Songwriter and Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year for Solivan, and Bluegrass Recording and Bluegrass Duo/Group for the band.

Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he’s built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Solivan, with banjoist Mike Munford, 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, award winning guitarist Chris Luquette and doghouse bassist Dan Booth, simmer a bluegrass/newgrass stew from instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, they’ve been named Washington Area Music Association’s Best Bluegrass Band of the Year for four consecutive years.

In September, the International Bluegrass Music Association awarded the band Instrumental Group of the Year at its IBMA Awards. Cold Spell also earned the band a Best Bluegrass Album Grammy nomination. The album, the band’s second for Compass Records, entered Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart at No. 3. A sizzling collection of 10 tautly arranged songs, it melds jazz, country and blues into a fiery and soulful mix of progressive and traditional bluegrass. Sam Bush, John Cowan, Leon Alexander, Rob Ickes and Megan McCormick guest; standout tracks include the title song and the instrumental “Yeah Man,” and “Days Go By.”

At the highest levels of acoustic musicianship exists a mystery — the mystery of tone, taste and timing… It can best be illustrated by giving a good musician a good instrument and asking him to briefly strum, pick, bow, — whatever is required to produce the best sound. Then, by way of comparison, hand that very same instrument to a GREAT musician and ask for the same.

It is a phenomenon that manifests itself every time that Frank Solivan picks up a mandolin, guitar or violin. What you see may be the same pick or bow, on the same strings, on the same fretboard that the good player demonstrated, but the sound… Ah… there’s the difference!

In Frank’s hands, these instruments take on a life of their own. You hear power. You hear volume. You hear crispness, clarity, timing and taste. All combined with passion and drive. A physicist might slow it down to analyze the strum against string — but he wouldn’t find the answer. For that, you have to know Frank Solivan, a man who has a powerful life force that’s as raw, natural and pure as the place he spend much of his youth, Alaska. Frank is a hunter, a fisherman, a gourmet chef, a beautiful singer, a poet and songwriter of tasteful ballads and of blazing instrumentals. A man of sturdy build who is known to holler out out a powerful, “Son!” whether it be in response to a hot solo, or some hot sauce he concocted in kitchen. It’s as if all these things for him are an affirmation of life. An awareness that all five senses are humming along on overdrive. That life is short and all these gifts are not to be wasted.

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen captured:

  • Artist of the year – Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
  • Album of the year – Cold Spell
  • Song of the year – “Cold Spell”
  • Musician of the year – Frank Solivan
  • Songwriter of the year – Frank Solivan
  • Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year – Frank Solivan
  • Bluegrass Recording of the Year – “Cold Spell”
  • Bluegrass Duo/Group of the Year – Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

For a list of WAMA’s Wammie winners, click here.

Tags: Frank Solivan & Dirty KitchenWammie AwardsAwardsWashington Area Music Association

Art Stevenson to Headline River Falls Roots & Bluegrass Music Festival

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 22:14

The River Falls Roots & Bluegrass Music Festival held April 9 – 12 in River Falls, Wisconsin, has announced the entertainment lineup for its fifth annual event with headlining performances from famed-bluegrass groups—Art Stevenson & High Water, the Barley Jacks, and Dead Horses. This indoor music weekend features over 50 hours of foot stompin’ Bluegrass, Cajun and Roots music from regional and local artists where visitors young and old can stroll historic Main Street and find bluegrass music on every corner!

Kick off the 2015 River Falls Roots & Bluegrass Music Festival on Thursday, April 9, at 7PM at Junior’s Bar & Restaurant with live performances from Walter Croll and Friends as UW – River Falls’ students share their unique blend of Folk, Blues and Jazz musical talents. Friday evening kicks off with the 2nd Annual Beer & Wine Tasting from 5 – 8PM which promises to be even bigger and better. Attendees at this ticketed event can sample a variety of savory wines from Door County Winery, Wollersheim Winery and more plus refreshing beers from local craft breweries such as Rush River Brewing Company and Summit Brewing Company, to name a few.

Only at the River Falls Roots & Bluegrass Music Festival will you find Wisconsin’s 3rd Annual Flatpicking Guitar Championship. Musicians who compose their own musical material are invited to compete in the Singer/Songwriter Competition now in its fourth year. Artists nationwide have a chance to win coveted prizes by demonstrating their musical talents to standing-room only crowds. Also on hand—a variety of free workshops, jam sessions, open mic and more!

Admission to attend the concerts and competitions is free thanks to our great sponsors, including the River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. For festival lodging and more information about the River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Music Festival, call 715-425-2533 or visit us online at

Tags: Art Stevenson & High WaterRiver Falls Roots & Bluegrass Music FestivalEventLineup

Cedar Hill Releases Long Awaited Dixie & Tom T. Hall Album

Sun, 03/22/2015 - 22:22
Cedar Hill has just released a project of songs by Miss Dixie and Tom T. Hall on the Hall's Blue Circle Records. With the recent passing of Miss Dixie and Tom T's current health issues, this is a timely release to showcase the talent of the Halls songwring ability. Frank Ray spoke with the Halls for two years and the band's result is Miss Dixie, Tom T, and Me released today.

After listening to this release, I can assure you that Cedar Hill gives a great performance on these tracks. This is hot traditional bluegrass with the the Hall's bluegrass touch. From the fast paced opening track of "This Ain't No Way To Run A Railroad" to the storyteller styled song of "Hound Dog From Harlan" -- to a Mountain Music styled "Aunt Penny" and all the way through a journey ending on "Hillbilly Highway" back at one's roots. The album is definitely another winner from Cedar Hill.

Frank commented on his latest project, "This project was such an enjoyable one for all of us and a somewhat therapeutic one for me, as you will see. The opportunity to work with 2 of the most prolific songwriters in Country and bluegrass music history and, not to mention absolutely wonderful people who I have been so fortunate to call my friends for a number of years, has proven to be one of the most memorable experiences in my musical career."

Tom T. Hall commented on the album cover, "This is a project Miss Dixie wanted to do for a long time. She wanted to find someone she and I could work with to collaborate on an album called Miss Dixie, Tom T. and Me. Frank Ray turned out to be the prefect person. After working with Frank on several different little projects, Miss Dixie fell in love with him, his knowledge of music, his love of music and their mutual love of tradition. We have had hours and hours of fun sitting around the kitchen table working on this project and Miss Dixie and I couldn't be happier with it."

Frank wrote, "In my forty eighty years since the beginning of Cedar Hill, I never remember having such a diversity of emotions about making a recording. I would first like you to know that I am a most blessed man. I feel I have more blessings in one day than I could list here without even considering 48 years worth. Thank you Lord. I owe more thanks than ever could be repaid. Two years ago I lost what just could have been my two best fans. My Son Scott who at thirty nine, succumbed to a life long illness and my Dad, Dallas, who lived a wonderful, full life at ninety one. Out of my four children, Scott was always the one who would ask Daddy to sing to him. He took up mandolin and loved to play bluegrass. He, along with my Dad, were always quick to have a genuine swelled chest and joy, with every mention of any accomplishment I might have had. Never did I receive more encouragement to play my music than from these two. When they died within 2 months of each other, I honestly felt my music had died as well."

He continues, "As some may know, I wrote a large portion of my own material. As hard as I tried, I have not been able to complete a song since losing them. The current line up of Cedar Hill has some of the dearest and most talented people I have ever been privileged to play with. It was for them that I made a desperate effort to try to write and record but it just wasn't happening. It was at that point that two of the dearest people God has ever placed in my path stepped in. Ms Dixie and Tom T. Hall. I have had a wonderful relationship with them for several years and have recorded several recordings on Ms Dixie's Blue Circle record label. During these day's Ms Dixie would contact me or I her and the things that remained constant in every conversation were first her encouragement and then her telling me she was praying for me. She would always say, “Frank, you have to get your song back”. I knew she was right but just didn't quite know how to do it. I would tell her I just couldn't seem to write anymore. One day she called to tell me she had a proposition for me. As I listened, she told me that she and Tom T. had talked and had written a number of songs lately that she considered good songs and would like for me to record an entire project of their work. I was overwhelmed with warmth and joy. You see, I knew it was not as simple as them wanting me only, to record their songs. Why, they could get nearly anyone they asked to do a project like that. It was that they wanted to help encourage a friend to “get his song back”. That's the kind of people they are."

Frank is a talented songwriter on his own. Frank has been playing in bluegrass bands since 1964. Mandolin player for the group, he sings tenor, low baritone and lead. A veteran songwriter, he has written many outstanding songs and instrumentals over the years that have earned him several Song Writer of the Year Awards and in August of 2008, Frank was inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. He first formed Cedar Hill in 1967.

Formed by its patriarch and mandolin player Frank Ray some 40 years ago, Cedar Hill is a traditional Bluegrass band made up of five accomplished musicians and singers who have stayed true to their Ozark roots. With Jim Bunch on banjo and vocals, Pete Brown on fiddle and vocals, Patti LaFleur on bass and vocals and Britt McGarity on guitar and lead vocals, you will be hard pressed to find a better traditional bluegrass band anywhere. Now settled into their own in the mainstream of the National bluegrass scene, Cedar Hill has been pleasing audiences everywhere with their original, emotional, exciting brand of traditional Bluegrass! Friends joining in on this project include Tim Crouch, Danny Lee Allison, Ron Pennington, and Billy McGarity.

Frank notes after this recording, "I might just write a few more and do another recording." We certainly hope he does!

Post by Cedar Hill.

The songs in order on the CD are as follows:

  1. "This Ain't No Way To Run A Railroad" Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall
  2. "Love Is A Gamble" Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall
  3. "Hound Dog From Harlan" Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall
  4. "I'll Not Stand In Your Way" Dixie Hall
  5. "Aunt Penny" Dixie Hall, Tom T. Hall, Billy Smith
  6. "The Face In The Window" Dixie Hall, Tom T. Hall
  7. "They Don't Make Girls Like Ruby Anymore" Keith Bilbrey, Dixie Hall, Tom T. Hall
  8. "Let's Go Walking Again" Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall, Troy Engle
  9. "Burning Down The Barn" Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall
  10. "Hillbilly Highway" Dixie Hall, Tom T. Hall

Frank gives us further comments on some of the tracks saying, "A few subjects that come to mind are":

"Hound Dog From Harlan"
This is about an old hound dog whose owner has died and the the person in the song finds him. I won't tell more than that so as not to ruin the story line for you but as usual, Tom T. takes the listener on a heart warming journey.
"Aunt Penny"
Aunt Penny turns out to be the unknown sister of Uncle Pen. She plays old time frailin' banjo. An exciting old time song.
"The Face In The Window"
This is a literal ghostly song from the American Civil War period.
"They Don't Make Girls Like Ruby Anymore"
A song about the virtues of the pure Country culture of an earlier rural America.
"Let's Go Walking Again"
It is very difficult for me to pick a favorite on this CD but this song would have to be near the top. It stirs a vivid picture for me of my own parents as my mother became more and more feeble. Dad would ask her to take a walk around their place in the rural Ozarks they loved so dearly. It turns out this was very similar to Tom T. and Miss Dixie as they would walk around their beloved Fox Hollow farm. The things they would do such as stop to check the flowers and visit their neighbor conjures up a very endearing time. This song often brings a tear to my eye.
"Burning Down The Barn"
This is another, oh so typical Tom T. Style song. A somewhat comical but all to real scenario. The bank is about to foreclose on the family farm but Dad gets the last laugh.
"Hillbilly Highway"
Mr Tom T. Told me he lived this song. The song of a country boy who goes to the city and returns to his roots.

This is a Miss Dixie and Tom T. Hall album. Frank did not contribute to the writing other than a couple changed lines here and there. The exciting contribution for him and Cedar Hill was bringing these wonderful songs to life through the arrangements and production.

Worth noting is the song "I'll Not Stand In Your Way". This song was written solely by Miss Dixie. Most all of the songs were a collaboration of Miss Dixie and Tom T Hall with the occasional third writer but Miss Dixie or Tom T would sometimes be a solo writer. This was rare in their later years. This song was one of those for Miss Dixie and certainly one of, if not the last solo song she wrote before keeping her eternal, heavenly appointment.

After listening to this album, the first thing you do is, you want to listen to it again. And, Again. And, yet again! A great tribute to the Halls produced and performed by a class act like Cedar Hill. If you like your bluegrass traditional and the songwriting of the Halls, then you need this album.

Tags: Cedar HillFrank RayTom T. and Dixie HallCD ReleaseMiss Dixie Tom T and MeBlue Circle Records

JD Crowe & New South Reunion to Highlight Tennessee Fall Homecoming

Sat, 03/21/2015 - 22:01

East Tennessee may be anxious for the first signs of spring, but in the spirit of promoting the musical heritage of the region, the Museum of Appalachia is excited to announce this autumn’s stellar lineup for its 36th Annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming.

This year’s beloved and historic three-day event will take place on October 9-11th, with more than 70 national, regional and local musicians booked to perform on five rustic outdoor stages, throughout the pastoral grounds of the Museum of Appalachia. Music enthusiasts come from all over the United States, Canada and Europe to experience this annual tradition, now in its 36th year.

Elaine Meyer, Museum President, has been involved with Homecoming since its inception: “Homecoming began as a very small community event; a gathering of friends, family, and musicians who displayed their talents on the back of a hay wagon. From the beginning, I remember baking bread of all sorts for our guests, and listening with joy to some amazing musicians. Today, 36 years later, Homecoming is now considered a nationally acclaimed festival, but the very same feeling is there, even with some of the same people participating. The one hay wagon has been replaced by five unique stages, but Homecoming continues to an event that music greats have long considered a ‘performance destination’, from legends like Bill Monroe and John Hartford to the current generation of amazing talent. This year’s lineup promises to be one of the best ever.”

The experience is unrivaled, according to long-time fan, Tom Bell of Louisville, Kentucky: “I’ve been attending the Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia for 24 years and wouldn’t miss it for anything. I’m there when the first note is played Friday morning until the last note Sunday afternoon. I sit there in the sun and rain-in the heat and cold. The only problem is there are four (5) stages and it’s difficult to decide which one to go to because they are all so good. When the show is over on Sunday, I look forward to attending the following year.”

Prime artists scheduled to appear include multiple Grammy and International Bluegrass Music Award (IBMA) recipients and Bluegrass Hall of Fame Members, the Del McCoury Band; Grammy nominated and two-time IBMA banjo player of the year award winner, JD Crowe and the New South-Reunion; and, the multiple Grammy and Dove nominated band, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, also a 7-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year and Bluegrass Hall of Fame Member.

The line-up is rich in talent with reigning IBMA Entertainers of the Year, Balsam Range; previous two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year, the Gibson Brothers; IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year, the Boxcars; IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers; IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year and IBMA Guitar Player of the Year, Kenny and Amanda Smith, and multiple Grammy winner, David Holt, accompanied by Josh Goforth.

Welcome favorites returning to grace the stages again this fall are the multi-talented Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome; Blue Moon Rising, recognized by as having a Top 10 Bluegrass Album; the legendary Leroy Troy; and Dale Jett from the Carter family.

Added to these, will be emerging talents Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle, the Hogslop String Band and Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny.

Other musicians attendees can expect to enjoy a reunion with this coming October are The Stewart Family, Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain, Russ and Becky Jeffers, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, Tom Brantley and Missionary Ridge, Johnny Bellar, Roy Harper, the Museum of Appalachia Band, Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers, Daniel Rothwell and Overall Creek, Mack Snoderly and Flave Hart Band, and Lilies of the West.

Jamming sessions will populate the grounds, and, in the relaxed setting of the Museum commons, music enthusiasts will have the remarkable opportunity to “meet and greet” many of their choice entertainers, purchase their latest CDs and request an autograph.

Regional and local talent will abound on several stages: the Ball Sisters, Blue Ridge Entertainers, Clinch Valley Bluegrass, Ron Collins and Circle of Friends, Cicada Rhythm, the Firehouse Band, Hominy Mamas, Knoxville Area Dulcimer Club, Knox County Jug Stompers, Judi Pagter, Just South of Heaven, The Ransom Notes, Jennifer Rose, The Tenos, David West and the Cedar Mountain Folk, and Uncle Doc Wilhite.

The Tennessee Fall Homecoming is much more than a music festival, with something for everyone to enjoy. In keeping with the Museum’s mission, guests will find delight in a wide range of other captivating talent and interesting happenings. Traditional Appalachian dancers, buck-dancers and cloggers, including the legendary Thomas Maupin and the award winning Mala Patterson will charm guests. The Museum continues to preserve what would otherwise be lost arts, with fascinating, educational and historic demonstrations that take place throughout the village, using old-time mountain and pioneer skills, as well as many of the conventional tools. And, all festival long, guests can peruse and shop the heritage arts and crafts, watch the artisans at work, partake in fine Southern fare and Appalachian delicacies, and enjoy the opportunity to connect with regionally and nationally known Southern authors.

Visit the Museum of Appalachia’s website, or the Tennessee Fall Homecoming Facebook Page for breaking details. See the full list of artists as booking progresses, get up-to-date festival information, find answers to FAQs, get directions and more.

To order either full festival or single day tickets at the early discounted rate, call the Museum at 865-494-7680, or purchase on-line by September 15th.

A non-profit organization, the Museum’s mission is to preserve Appalachian artifacts and instill in the community — regionally, nationally, and internationally — a greater knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Appalachian heritage. The Museum is located 16 miles north of Knoxville, one mile east of I-75, at Exit 122.

Tags: Tennessee Fall HomecomingMuseum of AppalachiaJ.D. Crowe & The New SouthReunionEvent