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Jim VanCleve Announces Mountain Heart Departure

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 22:36

Fiddler Jim VanCleve has announced that he will be leaving Mountain Heart, a group he helpd establish almost 16 years ago. Jim has certainly made his mark with this outstanding group of bluegrass music artists and he and the group are seperating on good terms. Jim will keep his fans posted through his Facebook page. Mountain Heart has not announced any possible replacements and Jim will continue to fulfil his existing committments as best he can.

Jim VanCleve released this announcement regarding his decision...

Today, after nearly 16 years of touring and recording, I am publicly announcing my decision to leave Mountain Heart. We have discussed this together, and I leave on what I think must be considered the absolute best of terms. These fine gentlemen are much more than co-workers, they are family. While it’s been a very difficult decision to reach, I feel that the timing is right and that God has been tugging me to explore a number of different opportunities that have presented themselves over the last few months, as well as be open to new ones I’m not yet aware of.

As some may already know, I’ve been very blessed to become deeply engaged in the Nashville studio scene: from producing full projects in a variety of genres, to A & R, session work, mixing/mastering/editing, and a myriad of other tasks. Between all this, and my intent to freelance with a number of various artists, teaching online and at various camps, my goal is to be as busy as ever, which is just the way I like it. So, I am looking forward to collaborating with many new faces in a variety of situations moving forward!

My time with the Mountain Heart boys has been an amazing adventure. It’s no small thing to be able to create and perform your own music with literally some of the very best musicians in the world, who – as many of you know – are also some of the finest people you’ll meet as well. From the very first iteration of the band, almost 16 years ago, to today’s band, the hallmark we created with Mountain Heart has been a positively-charged, energetic, and highly personal approach to American Music. We poured ourselves into what we created. We took a lot of chances, broke a few rules, even took some lumps. But, ultimately we excelled and succeeded in many things we weren’t sure could be done. Mountain Heart has afforded me the opportunity to grow as a musician, as a producer, as a writer, as an arranger, and most importantly, as a teammate and person. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I am heartily wishing these boys the VERY best as they move forward, and continue to set new musical standards for us all.

I feel that I am leaving Mountain Heart as strong as ever, and that they are on the precipice of entering yet another great season. At present we have agreed that, though I will begin appearing with a variety of musical ensembles immediately, I will also be playing the remainder of the calendar dates Mountain Heart has scheduled for 2014 as well. It is my hope to be able to visit with many of our long time friends and fans during this time – and I’ll admit – to “throw down” with with these particular guys a few more times!

I look forward to seeing everyone, either with Mountain Heart over the next few months, or wherever our paths may cross from here forward!

Mountain Heart's Barry Abernathy represented the group and said,

“Jim VanCleve has been a wonderful friend and band mate for the last 16 years. I wish him nothing but the best in all of his endeavors. I feel privileged to have had Jimmy as a part of the band, as well as a huge part of my life over what has been the ‘Prime’ of our careers. I feel that I am a better person, and musician, having created music the last 15 years with this man. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all the music and memories which I will cherish forever (or at least as long as I am in my right mind).

Good Luck Jimmy, and don’t forget to set your clock!”

Mountain Heart's musical virtuosity, unmatched energy, and keen sense of entertainment dynamics have helped them to forge a highly unique sound, and stage show, which appeals to an incredibly wide variety of musical tastes. From large outdoor folk music and bluegrass festivals, to sold-out arena shows opening for Southern Rock icons, Lynyrd Skynyrd, to co-headlining concerts with the acoustic guitar legend, Tony Rice, Mountain Heart always makes an undeniable connection to an audience, leaving them on their feet. In short, this rare comibination of abilities makes Mountain Heart one of the most versatile acts ever assembled.

As the group leading the charge in taking acoustic music to the masses, Mountain Heart deftly combines elements of southern rock, jam band, country, delta blues, jazz, funk and traditional bluegrass into a high-energy sound that is at once unique, fresh, accessible, and unmistakeable.

Fiddler Jim VanCleve has already achieved more than many musicians do in a lifetime, and with the release of his solo debut, No Apologies, the dynamic youngster has taken a bold step forward. Producing, arranging, performing, and sharing in the writing credits for more than half of the CD's eleven selections, Jim has created a collection of unusual depth and breadth that can only enhance his reputation as one of the leading musicians of his generation.

No Apologies was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, garnering a 2006 Grammy Nomination, an IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year Nomination for 2007, and taking "Album of the Year" honors in the Folk Music category of the Indie Acoustic Awards. Following the success of his album, Jim was nominated as IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year.

As one of the most in-demand session musicians in Nashville, Jim has played on countless recordings. He played a prominent role as fiddler on the 2004 Country Album of the Year Livin', Lovin', Losin': The Songs Of The Louvin Brothers, winning him his first Grammy. He also recorded fiddle for a smash-hit single drawn from American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts (2005)-his first participation in a multi-platinum seller.

As one of the original members of Mountain Heart, Jim has become well-known for the intense energy, charisma, and dazzling musicianship he brings to the stage. We all wish both Jim and Mountain Heart great future successes.

Tags: Jim VanCleveMountain HeartBand Announcement

Dolly Parton to Celebrate Record Store Day with Blue Smoke

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 22:34

New York, NY -- Sony Masterworks and internationally-renowned superstar Dolly Parton celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday, April 19, with the release of a limited 7-inch vinyl. The blue vinyl features two tracks from Parton’s upcoming album Blue Smoke - “Blue Smoke” and “Home.” Blue Smoke will be released by Sony Masterworks and Dolly Records on May 13, 2014. It is available for pre-order now. The album includes 12 bluegrass and country songs including covers of Bob Dylan and Bon Jovi classics, and duets with Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. Blue Smoke marks the first release of new music from Parton since 2011.

April 19th is Record Store Day!! As a vinyl lover who still uses and appreciates the LP format including the newer "heavy vinyl" format, this day has special meaning for me. Bluegrass artists continue to produce albums in the LP vinyl format and this album is certainly part of this collection. 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.

Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1000 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally. This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store - the staff, the customers, and the artists - to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances.

Sony Music Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit

Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, Dolly has had 25 songs reach number 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years.

All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during her Hall of Fame career have reportedly topped a staggering 100 million records worldwide. She has garnered 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. Dolly was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. And the litany goes on.

Dolly’s career has spanned nearly five decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. An internationally-renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Parton has contributed countless treasures to the worlds of music, film and television. Some of her hit films have included Nine to Five, Steel Magnolias, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, Straight Talk, and Joyful Noise. Parton received two Oscar® nominations – one for writing the title tune to Nine to Five and the other for Travelin’ Thru from the film Transamerica.

Tags: Dolly PartonBlue SmokeRecord Store DayCD ReleaseVinylLP Release

2014 FreshGrass Award Open for Submissions

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 22:32

North Adams, MA -- The FreshGrass Award, a highlight of the eponymous three-day bluegrass and roots music festival held each fall at MASS MoCA, crowns up-and-coming musicians who offer a fresh take on the genre. Now in its second year, the Award expands from one category to three - giving unsigned bands, duos, and banjo players a chance to compete for cash prizes totaling $15,000, recording time at Compass Records' studio in Nashville, and a main stage slot at FreshGrass 2015. The competition, judged by a panel of industry professionals, is held concurrently with the festival on September 19-21, 2014, and contest performances are open to the festival audience.

To enter, contestants submit two videos via the festival's website - one live performance of an original composition and one live performance of a bluegrass traditional. Notes festival producer Chris Wadsworth, "We want to hear musicians who know the rules well enough to break them!"

Submission videos are judged by originality, instrumental/vocal skill, and bluegrass proficiency. Award finalists are notified of their Award slot in mid-August. The contest runs on an indoor stage throughout the festival. The winner is announced on the festival main stage on Sunday afternoon, September 21st.

Developed in an effort to boost the careers of promising young musicians, the FreshGrass Award looks for future stars of the bluegrass festival circuit. 2013 Award winner Cricket Tell the Weather has filled clubs around the northeast since its FreshGrass debut last year, and performs at this year's festival. "It's a thrill," Wadsworth continues, "to watch the next generation of music-makers hunker down in this contest while the top bluegrass musicians in the country are playing right outside the doors on festival stages, jamming in workshops, picking in the courtyards, and sometimes popping on to the contest stage to have a listen."

An opportunity for enthusiasts to both appreciate and participate, FreshGrass is a family-friendly festival, brimming with bright talent on our four stages, and also in our galleries, brick-lined courtyards and grassy field. FreshGrass is more than a festival - the event and its website are a hub for the bluegrass community.

Music starts early in the museum courtyards, moves to a spacious (and grassy!) urban concert meadow, and continues well after dark with wild and wooly late-night barn dances in the Hunter Center on Friday and Saturday nights. Instrument-specific workshops and industry seminars are offered in conjunction with Berklee College of Music and its American Roots Program, and often feature guest musicians from the festival. The FreshGrass Award gives $15,000 in cash and prizes, rewarding fresh takes on bluegrass.

$15,000 in prizes offered to the brightest up-and-coming bluegrass talent in three categories: Band, Duo, and Banjo

The festival continues to be one of the best values on the festival circuit. Limited-time, early-bird, three-day festival passes are available for $87 adults, $77 students, and $43 children 7 to 16. Children 6 and under are admitted free. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event, on a space-available basis. Museum members receive a 10% discount on the regular ticket prices, but membership discounts do not apply to the early-worm and early-bird discounted ticket prices. The festival will be held rain or shine.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn,Sam Bush, The Infamous Stringdusters, David Grisman Sextet, The Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Valerie June, Aoife O'Donovan, Rodney Crowell, Sam Amidon, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Claire Lynch, Darol Anger, Martha Redbone Roots Project, Cricket Tell The Weather

FreshGrass is sponsored by Compass Records, American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, the Porches Inn, Chronogram, and The Fretboard Journal. FreshGrass is a coproduction of MASS MoCA and FreshGrass, LLC.

MASS MoCA is one of the world's liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today's most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.

From June 21 through September 1, 2014, MASS MoCA's galleries are open 10am to 6pm every day, Sundays through Wednesdays, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays, when performing arts events are often featured. In non-summer months, MASS MoCA's galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. The Hall Art Foundation's Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, Spring - Fall. As of June 21, 2014, gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $6 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit

Tags: FreshGrassAwardsAwardCompetitionMASS MoCA

Stevens Family Releases New Album 'Down on the Farm'

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 22:30

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce today's release of Down on the Farm by West Virginia traditional bluegrass group The Stevens Family. The first single also titled “Down on the Farm,” was released earlier this year.

“Down on the Farm” was written and arranged by band member Sissy Stevens. The song is a true portrayal of actual events in Stevens life and expresses her love for her Grandfather ‘Kentucky Ken,” and other family members.

The remarkable Stevens Clan, with ten children, has been making music together at home and in church for decades. Since their debut as full-time professional performers in 2007, they've been impressing and captivating audiences from the Mid-Atlantic seaboard to Florida, from the Midwest to the Missouri Ozarks, up into Canada and back again. Their Appalachian roots lend a unique authenticity to their bluegrass-style sound and performances.

“You can hear the conviction in every song that was played or sang (by the Stevens Family) and I’m sure that it has been a blessing and inspiration to all who have listened...”
Russell Moore, IIIrd Tyme Out

Down on the Farm continues to convey the Steven’s Family’s easy going country mountaineer humor, stunning instrumental wizardry and a unique blend of vocal harmonies.

Through an impressive catalog of original songs, their performances capture not only the high lonesome sound of American bluegrass at its strongest, but also reveal the love, joy, passion and strong faith of this proud mountain family.

Very few bluegrass artists today can lay claim to such an authentic musical heritage, and every member of the band nurtures this heritage to bring audiences very real American roots music as it has been performed throughout the Appalachian Mountains for more than two hundred years.

Tags: The Stevens FamilyDown on the FarmCD ReleaseMountain Fever Records

IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2014 Tickets, Registration Now Available

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:47

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event, September 30 – October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina, is now open for conference registration, hotel reservations, Wide Open Bluegrass festival tickets, the IBMA Awards Show, and Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes. Additional details about World of Bluegrass 2014 will be announced on May 7 at a press conference in Raleigh.

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2, the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2, the Wide Open Bluegrass Music Festival, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, conference registration, Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.

“All of Raleigh is so ready for the return of IBMA and the World of Bluegrass,” said the Honorable Nancy McFarlane, mayor of Raleigh. “I encourage everyone to get their tickets today to make sure that you are part of WOB14, which promises to be even greater than last year.”

Before opening World of Bluegrass tickets and registration to the general public today, the IBMA offered its members a chance to pre-purchase, and were very pleased with the results: “We’re excited to report the best kick-off week of World of Bluegrass sales in IBMA history beginning March 31 with our pre-sale for members,” said Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “In the first week we sold around 1500 tickets for both Friday and Saturday night of the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival’s main stages (3000 for the weekend), more than 160 Bluegrass Ramble multi-day showcase tickets, 430 IBMA Awards Show tickets, and over 160 Business Conference full-attendee registrations.”

“We also had a number of exhibitors for the Bluegrass Expo sign up the first week. Hotel rooms at the two anchor hotels are going fast and are sold out on some nights already. The good news is that we still have rooms at all of our discount block hotels, as well as tent and RV camping availability.”

“The city of Raleigh and IBMA’s worldwide Bluegrass Nation had a great ‘first date’ at World of Bluegrass 2013, and we’re looking forward to continuing the relationship in 2014 with an even bigger and better IBMA Business Conference, plus expected repeat sell-outs at the International Bluegrass Music Awards and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival,” Cardwell continued. “World of Bluegrass is the place to discover what’s new in bluegrass, promote your band or business, and to network with peers in the industry. If bluegrass music moves you, we invite you to register, buy tickets and make plans now to be at the event that moves the bluegrass music world Sept. 30-Oct. 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina.”

While a more extensive list of changes and additions to this year’s World of Bluegrass event are available at the IBMA website, some of the changes include:

  • Bluegrass Ramble:
    • An improved, dedicated transportation system – with extended hours – running between hotels and venues
    • An additional official showcase stage in the Raleigh Convention Center, which will provide an opportunity for attendees to see all showcase bands under one roof
    • A new “Late Night Showcase” and weekend “Wide Open After Hours” format will provide additional performance opportunities for both artists and bluegrass fans
  • Business Conference:
    • The debut of “Bluegrass Marketplace,” a two-hour concentrated “mini” exhibit hall
    • A return of the popular “DJ Taping Sessions”
    • An expanded four days for the Exhibit Hall ”Bluegrass Expo”
    • A special Talent Buyers Focus planned especially for event producers and agents, with a new pitching session, reception, an expanded Gig Fair and discounts for first-time talent buyer attendees.
    • Creative, new educational formats to help attendees learn and share their expertise.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $10 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be over 154,000, exceeding expectations for the event’s first year in Raleigh. Over 300 performances by more than 160 different artists took place during World of Bluegrass 2013.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s three-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee. /li

Tags: International Bluegrass Music AssociationIBMAWorld of BluegrassEvent

Bluegrass Master Richard Bennett Drops 'In The Wind Somewhere' May 27

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:44
It’s one thing for an artist to feel like his latest musical endeavor is his best, but when you’re a music veteran with a mile-long resume, decades of recording and performing experience, critical acclaim, and more recordings than one can count, it’s quite a statement to say, “This is my favorite record I’ve ever done.” Such is the case with bluegrass music star Richard Bennett of his forthcoming new release, In The Wind Somewhere, which is due May 27 via Kentucky-based Lonesome Day Records. “It just feels good,” says Bennett of his fifth solo release.

Lonesome Day Records owner Randall Deaton couldn’t agree more. “I think this is Richard’s strongest work of his career,” says Deaton. “And it was recorded in an old fashioned way where all four of the musicians sat in the same room with no headphones and just played music. Each take had to be just right because there was no going back and fixing.”

On In The Wind Somewhere, Bennett skillfully mixes his considerable traditional bluegrass chops with songs that expand and transcend the genre in an exciting contemporary fashion. “I want to let the people hear something new,” he says.

Joining the singer/songwriter/guitarist on In The Wind Somewhere are a group of stellar musicians, including Mark Schatz (Nickel Creek, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt), IMBA Mandolin Player of the Year Adam Steffey, celebrated fiddler Ron Stewart, and Sean Lane of the Grammy-nominated band Blue Highway on tenor vocals. The record was recorded at the Lonesome Day Studio Booneville, Kentucky, and mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Brandon Bell.

The album features a graceful and affecting take on Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” a jazz-inflected solo instrumental version of the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” and a spry and swinging Appalachian mountain-flavored cover of the Marshall Tucker Band song “Fire on the Mountain.” On his version of Tom Paxton’s folk classic “The Last Thing on My Mind,” his long-time pal and acoustic guitar icon, Tony Rice, enriched Bennett’s luminous double flat-picking.

Elsewhere on the album, Bennett epitomizes the soul of old-school bluegrass on “Stronger Every Day,” harks back to the Celtic folk roots of American country, folk and mountain music on “Georgie,” renews the newgrass revolution of the 1970s on a take of folk music heroine Kate Wolf’s “Across the Great Divide,” and musically summons up the swirling forces of nature on his self-penned opening title track. The album is deliciously capped by a sublime reading of bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe’s landmark song “Wayfaring Stranger” on which Bennett and Rice engage in breathtaking guitar interplay (as they also do on the hidden track that follows, “Home Sweet Home”).

Richard Bennett hails from Johnson City, Tennessee. A strong and versatile guitarist, he performed with his own band, Richard Bennett Band late ’70s thru late ’80s era. He joined as the lead singer and guitar player for J.D. Crowe and New South 1990 thru 1995 and is included on several of the recordings during this time, including their Grammy award winning record, Flashback. 1996 thru 1997 found him with Lou Reid and Carolina. In 1998, Richard branched out with the trio featuring Jimmy Guadreau and Mike Aldridge where he remained for four years. One of his most prominent jobs was filling in for Tony Rice in The Tony Rice Unit and The Bluegrass Album Band from the mid to late ’90s. Along the way, Richard has released four solo albums and has worked with the most esteemed acts in bluegrass and country/folk music.

Randall Deaton as a family-run business started Lonesome Day Records in 2002. The name Lonesome Day Records was chosen from the title of a Bruce Springsteen song from the album The Rising. Randall grew up on a small farm in Kentucky instilled with a strong work ethic and a passion for music that has kept him rockin’ for the past 20 years. Playing in bands throughout high school and college, he earned a degree in business administration and a minor in political science while wielding a guitar and mandolin. Fifteen years ago he turned his attention towards audio engineering and converted an old church into his temple - a recording studio. That studio has since expanded and spawned Lonesome Day Records which has released top-ranking records for the likes of Ralph Stanley II, Larry Cordle, and Fred Eaglesmith among other prolific artists from bluegrass to country.

Tags: Richard BennettLonesome Day RecordsIn The Wind SomewhereCD Release

Crooked Road Leads Appalachian Trail to Carter Family Fold

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 23:00

Appalachian Trail is a union of seasoned and innovative singers, songwriters, and musicians who are breaking new ground in the bluegrass music arena. Ireland, Scotland, England, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Holland, and Switzerland are some of the countries that have hosted the talents of the individuals in this band, as well as coast-to-coast here at home. Formed in 1984, the band combines strong lead vocals, tight harmonies, and distinctive picking. Saturday, April 19th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of traditional bluegrass music by Appalachian Trail. Adult admission to the concert is $10, $1 for children 6 to 11, and under age 6 free.

Tommy Austin is no stranger to the bluegrass community. He started playing guitar and singing as a boy in local churches. Later, he moved to mandolin when he became interested in the bluegrass sound. Tommy helped organize the Rising Wind band which toured extensively in the 1980s and 1990s as well as Tennessee Skyline. Tommy has recorded with several groups, including Ray Harper, Carl Story, the Hopson Family, Trey Hensley, and the Linda Lay Cracker Barrel project. Currently he sings lead and harmony, plays mandolin, and shares the songwriting and arranging with the other members of Appalachian Trail.

Vickie Austin has been signing for audiences since age six, when she caught the performing bug by winning two dollars in a school talent show. At age thirteen, Vickie became the church pianist. She learned how to play by watching her grandmother chord an old pump organ. Traveling to local churches in the east Tennessee/southwest Virginia area as the Page Sisters, Vickie developed an extensive vocal range. Eventually joining Twin Springs Bluegrass Band, Vickie honed her skills on the upright bass. She plays bass for the group and sings lead and harmony vocals.

Allen Hughes has played guitar with Appalachian Trail for six years. Through the 1990s he, along with Tommy, played with the Rising Wind band. His distinctive style sets him apart from most guitar players. Allen took guitar lessons from G.C. Matlock, and has played with numerous other groups before joining Appalachian Trail. He adds some strong lead and harmony vocals to the group as well.

Glen Rose has been playing the banjo since the age of 10 and was inspired by his cousin Buddy Rose who gave him lessons. Glen has performed on the Opry and been a part of the ETSU Bluegrass Band. When he’s not playing, Glen teaches guitar and banjo.

For some of the best traditional bluegrass music around, don’t miss Appalachian Trail at the Carter Family Fold! For additional information on the group, check out their web site. Vickie has been playing on the Carter Fold stage since she was a little girl, and Appalachian Trail has performed many times over the years. The Fold is excited to welcome them back.

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 – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Appalachian TrailThe Crooked RoadCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Enter the Ancient Dreams of Red June April 15th

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 22:58

Arden, NC -- Red June, purveyors of original music created in a traditional style, will release its third album in April. Ancient Dreams is set for release on Organic Records April 15. A powerful acoustic trio from Asheville, North Carolina, Red June performs beautifully distilled original American music. The band is known for a dynamic, yet refined sound that features striking three-part harmonies, tasteful instrumental work, and honest, soulful songwriting that seamlessly blends bluegrass, old-time, country and American roots music.

Ancient Dreams is illustrative, honest and exquisitely crafted, featuring the talents of Will Straughan (resonator guitar, guitar, mandolin and vocals), Natalya Weinstein (fiddle and vocals) and John Cloyd Miller (mandolin, guitar and vocals). Red June delivers well-crafted songwriting, close harmonies and impeccable musicianship on pastoral story-songs that hold an underlying familiarity. It is music that is evocative and instantly comforting. The album was produced by Tim Surrett of the award-winning band Balsam Range. Tim also contributed some of his stellar bass playing to Ancient Dreams.

Like their namesake heirloom apple variety, Red June has strong roots in the Appalachian tradition while constantly forging new ground in American music. With Ancient Dreams, the trio collaborated with fine artist, Nancy Hilliard Joyce, who created the original album art: a pastoral painting that captures the idyllic tones within.

Natalya, Will and John are longtime friends who first jammed together at a pickin’ party in Asheville in 2005. In late 2008 they formed Red June and went on to release their debut album, Remember Me Well, in 2010. Remember Me Well was very well received, and was voted the #1 regional release of 2010 by the listeners of the southeast’s premier independent radio station, WNCW. The band followed with its second album, Beauty Will Come, in June 2012.

Red June has been capturing the hearts of audiences across the country and has performed at the renowned Music City Roots live radio show in Nashville, TN as well as Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Suwannee Springfest and the 25th anniversary MerleFest.
Intriguing. Illustrative. Appalachian inspired. Red June.

Ancient Dreams is available on Organic Records April 15, 2014. For more on Red June, visit

Tags: Red JuneAncient DreamsCD Release

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Earns Mayors' Award of Distinction

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 22:43

Bristol, TN/VA -- Birthplace of Country Music® is proud to announce Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion annual music festival has achieved the esteemed Mayors' Award of Distinction from the cities of Bristol. The call was received from the judges’ committee chairman, Gary McGeough, Thursday afternoon.

“Earning the Mayors' Award of Distinction is a reflection of the loyal, community support Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has received over the years. It’s a direct result of the hard work and long hours put in by our staff, board members and volunteers,” said Leah Ross, executive director of Birthplace of Country Music®. “We are humbled, and deeply grateful, to our cities and sponsors for their continued support.”

Sue Williams, founder of the Holly Help Spay & Neuter Fund, and Bristol Regional Medical Center’s volunteer auxiliary are also 2014 Mayors' Award recipients.

Bristol, VA Mayor Guy Odum said, “The Mayors’ Award of Distinction annually recognizes the accomplishments of engaged community members from both sides of the state line who are committed to enriching our City through the common denominators of compassion, resourcefulness, and working toward a common good.”

The awards presentation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 17, 2014 at the Paramount Center for the Arts, located at 518 State Street, in Historic Downtown Bristol.

Birthplace of Country Music® encourages all Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion volunteers and supporters to be present and celebrate the award alongside the organization.

Birthplace of Country Music® is the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Birthplace of Country Music® Museum, opening August 1, 2014. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is scheduled for September 19-21, 2014 in Historic Downtown Bristol.

Tags: Bristol Rhythm & Roots ReunionAwardMusic FestivalEventBristolBirthplace of Country Music

Advance Tickets Ends 4/30 for Graves Mountain Festival

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 22:41

Save $$ and get early bird discounted tickets by April 30 for the 22nd Annual Graves Mountain Festival of Music taking place May 29-31, 2014. Advance tickets are only $75 for 3-Days. Order now by phone at 540-923-4231, the Graves Mountain website or by sending a check or money order to Graves Mountain, Syria, VA 22743 by April 30.

Beginning May 1, 2014, all 3-Day tickets will be $95 for 3-day tickets. All campers must have 3-day tickets. Daily tickets are also available for $35 Thursday, $35 Friday and $40 for Saturday.

Download the Graves Mountain Festival of Music FREE mobile APP and have quick access on your phone to view the performance schedule, upload your festival pics and much more!. View the app online to send yourself a direct link to your smart phone OR just visit your APP STORE and download the free YAPP app and search for GravesMountain.

The incredible line-up of talent this year includes: Lonesome River Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Newton & Thomas, Claire Lynch, Seldom Scene, The Duhks, US Navy Band "Country Current", The Steel Wheels, East Of Monroe, Town Mountain, Bankesters, Malpass Brothers, Love Canon, Big Country Bluegrass, The Church Sisters, and Flatt Lonesome.

LISTEN to all of the artists that will be performing at the 2014 Graves Mountain Festival of Music by visiting our website!

Graves Mountain is nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and was featured last year in USA Today’s “10 Great places to go to bluegrass festivals.” The Graves Mountain Lodge amenities offer on-site accommodations (hotel, cabins, and camping), fishing, hiking horseback riding, outdoor pool, educational farms, food, family-style dining at the Graves Mountain Lodge and festival area and much more. Attendees are also invited to check out the preserves and gift baskets at the Graves Mountain Store or online.

Tags: Graves Mountain FestivalBluegrass FestivalEventLonesome River BandSteep Canyon RangersThe GrascalsDoyle Lawson & QuicksilverRussell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutJunior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Roger Williams & the All Mixed-Up Quartet at Carter Fold Friday

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 22:39

Friday, April 18th, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, and Mount Vernon United Methodist Church will present a concert of praise music with Roger Williams & the All Mixed-Up Quartet. Entitled Praise in the Valley, this concert marks our second annual gospel youth rally. Last year’s rally was very well-attended and enjoyed by people of all ages. Admission to the concert is free. In lieu of admission, a donation of canned goods is requested to benefit local food banks.

Roger Williams & the All Mixed-Up Quartet (AMUQ) is a Christian rock band based in Tennessee. Roger Williams does vocals for the group and plays guitar. Andy Blanchard plays bass and violin. James “Earl” Greene plays mandolin for the group. Will Carter plays guitar, and Ben Bolden plays drums.

After six independent releases, the group signed with Christian label Barner Records in 2010. Shamrock Media Group handles booking and radio promotion for the group. Their first major release with Barner, entitled A Different Road was produced by Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer Travis Wyrick. Featured at Christian youth rallies like Resurrection – an annual event in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – the All Mixed-Up Quartet has played many major gospel events throughout the U.S.

Entitled Praise in the Valley, their April 18th concert at the Carter Family Fold is geared to the youth of the region and presented by Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. A.P. Carter helped build the church in 1906 when he was 15 years old. The 7th and 8th generations of Carter descendants now attend Mount Vernon UMC. Bring along your family, your church’s youth group, and anyone else you feel might enjoy this concert. For information on the church, go to http.// Information on Roger Williams & the All Mixed-Up Quartet can be found at

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 – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Roger WilliamsAll Mixed Up QuartetCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

A Gift for Fans of the Great George Shuffler

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 22:47

Nashville, TN -- Fiddle and vocal virtuoso, Buddy Melton, and equally gifted pal, Milan Miller, have released a special recording of “The Boy From Valdese" as a tribute to Bluegrass giant, George Shuffler, who passed away earlier this week. "We couldn't think of a better way to honor George Shuffler than through the music he loved and so greatly influenced,” Melton says. “That was our intention in releasing this tribute."

Melton and Miller, along with Mark Winchester, have collaborated previously.

"We have done three historic projects," Melton notes. "Songs of Haywood, " "Songs of Jackson," and "Songs of Burke" consist of all original songs about places, events, stories and people from each county in North Carolina, where we live, and of course where George lived as well. The CD comes with a history booklet with pictures and write ups about each song. The projects, in fact, are the source for "Papertown," the top-charting title track from Balsam Range’s Album of the Year winning project. The song appears on the "Songs of Haywood" historic project.

The projects have been recognized by the North Carolina Society of Historians and awarded the prestigious Paul Green Multimedia award. Cybergrass recently wrote about The Boy from Valdese - A Tribute to George Shuffler.

Melton and Miller invite fans to enjoy this free download of Shuffler’s "The Boy From Valdese." Link to free download:

Long before the Old Rock School became a popular stop for Bluegrass touring artists, hardcore fans of the genre knew the small town of Valdese, NC as the home of the legendary George Shuffler. Born on April 11, 1925, Shuffler is one of the most beloved and influential sidemen of Bluegrass’ first generation. His contributions to the genre include his “walking” style of playing the bass, and even more significant, his cross-picking style of guitar playing.

“The Boy From Valdese” was written for the 2013 release Songs From Burke County, the third in an ongoing series of North Carolina history projects by Buddy Melton, Milan Miller, and Mark W. Winchester. Although the target audience was history buffs, “The Boy From Valdese” began to receive high marks from members of the Bluegrass community.

This new recording of the song features old friends and long-time collaborators Buddy Melton (Lead Vocals) and Milan Miller (Guitar, Baritone Vocals), with special guests Terry Baucom (Banjo), Carl Jackson (Tenor Vocals), Ron Shuffler (Upright Bass), and Adam Steffey (Mandolin). In just over three minutes, the song takes the listener on a journey that begins with Shuffler’s early days learning to play guitar, through his induction into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2011. The end result is a fitting tribute to a man who helped introduce the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument in Bluegrass music.

Known as an accomplished fiddler with a seemingly endless vocal range, Buddy Melton is a founding member of the bluegrass super-group Balsam Range. Along with producing a string of chart-topping hits across their four albums, the band took home the coveted Song of the Year award at the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA) for their single Trains I Missed, and won the 2013 IBMA trophy for Album of the Year. The band’s fifth album is slated for release on the Mountain Home Music label in the summer of 2014.

Milan Miller grew up in Waynesville, NC, but moved to Nashville, TN in 1999. Able to wear many hats, his talents as a multi-instrumentalist have enabled him to work with a variety of major label artists, but fans of Bluegrass perhaps know him best for his songwriting credits that include “Caney Fork River” and “Papertown” by Balsam Range, “Pretty Little Girl From Galax” by Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, and Terry Baucom’s award-winning “What’ll I Do.” Career highlights include numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, being featured in Guitar Player magazine, and receiving nominations for Bluegrass Song of the Year in 2012 and 2013 from the IBMA.p

Tags: George ShufflerThe Boy from Valdese - A Tribute to George ShufflerDigital Downloads

Béla Fleck Confirms World Premiere of 'How to Write a Banjo Concerto'

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 22:45

Nashville, TN -- April 19th at the Nashville Film Festival marks the world premiere of Béla Fleck’s full-length documentary, How to Write a Banjo Concerto (Argot Pictures). Directed by Sascha Paladino and Béla Fleck, the film is a revealing look at the renowned banjo player’s creative process and relationships, including lifelong friend and colleague Edgar Meyer, his hero Earl Scruggs (making one of his last on-camera appearances and to whom the concerto is dedicated), wife Abigail Washburn, mentor Tony Trischka, Chris Thile, Chick Corea, his namesake Béla Bartok, the individual players in the orchestra and more.

“The fact that I had no qualifications whatsoever as a classical composer didn't seem to bother the symphony, and honestly it bothered me only a little,” adds Fleck. “I've always enjoyed dreaming up challenging scenarios, and then digging deep and working obsessively to attempt to pull them off.”

Béla and the 90-piece Nashville Symphony Orchestra world premiered The Impostor concerto to a sold out audience in September, 2011.

Bela Fleck has won 15 Grammy Awards and has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history. He remains a powerfully creative force in bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and world beat. In 2009, he produced the award-winning documentary, Throw Down Your Heart, where he journeyed across Africa to understand the origins of the banjo. The Impostor album is currently available through Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics.

band, the Flecktones, for 25 years and counting, Fleck has collaborated with musicians across multiple genres and from around the globe – from composer-bassist pal Edgar Meyer to jazz pianists Chick Corea and Marcus Roberts, from Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain to such Malian artists as singer Oumou Sangaré and kora player Toumani Diabaté.

How to Write a Banjo Concerto @ Nashville Film Festival
World Premiere:
Saturday, April 19 @ 6:15pm, followed by Q&A
Wed, April 23 @ 3:45pm
Green Hills Cinema, Nashville
Ticket info at Nashville Film Festival.

The Impostor performances:

  • April 12 - Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center w/ Peoria Symphony Orchestra
  • May 3 - Columbia, SC Roger’s Center w/ South Carolina Philharmonic
  • June 20 - Telluride Bluegrass Festival w/ Colorado Symphony
  • Aug 1 & 2 - Santa Cruz, CA Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
  • Sept 13 - Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall w/ Oregon Symphony
  • Sept 26 - Lenoir, NC w/ Western Piedmont Symphony

Visit for more information and tour dates for this awesome artist.

Tags: Bela FleckHow to Write a Banjo ConcertoEventConcertBanjo Concerto

Step Inside the New Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 22:43

Nashville, TN -- The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will officially reveal the final phase of its state-of-the-art expansion on Tuesday, April 15, at 1:15 p.m. with the opening of an additional 10,000 square feet of dynamic new exhibit space. The grand opening ceremony is supported by Ford Motor Company and the Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers.

Open to the public, the grand opening celebration will take place on an outdoor stage at the corner of Demonbreun and 5th Avenue South in Nashville, and will feature performances by Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller and more, along with appearances by dignitaries including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and other special guests.

The debuting exhibits comprise the joint ACM Gallery and Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery, featuring an interactive, hands-on immersion into the country music of today, and the Design Gallery: A Window into the Collection, which allows a behind-the-scenes view of museum staff hard at work on actual archival projects.

The ambitious 210,000-square-foot expansion more than doubles the size of the museum and augments the institution's ability to focus on its core mission to preserve, interpret and teach the history of country music and related vernacular music rooted in Southern culture.

Previously unveiled sections of the expansion include new education, entertainment, retail and event spaces, including the 800-seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Education Center, the legendary and thriving letterpress operation Hatch Show Print and the Event Hall overlooking the Nashville skyline. The expansion also includes much needed archive and library spaces, allowing for even more robust cultivation of the museum's treasured collection.

"This expansion is a major milestone for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum," says Kyle Young, Museum Director. "It also embodies the exciting momentum shaping Nashville today, especially downtown. All of us at the museum are so proud to help lead the current growth that is defining one of the country's most culturally significant regions."

As a result of its pioneering 2001 downtown relocation, the museum now sits at the epicenter of Nashville's rapidly growing core. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1987, the museum has been assembling its two-million-item collection since 1967. Using its unrivaled collection and expertise, the museum seeks to engage visitors in the breadth and depth of country music's evolving story, in the context of local and national history.


The Honorable Karl Dean, Museum Director Mr. Kyle Young, Board Chairman Mr. Steve Turner, Country Music Hall of Fame members and special guest performers including Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller, and more
Tuesday, April 15, at 1:15 PM CDT
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Expansion Grand Opening (open to the public)
Outside, corner of 5th Ave South and Demonbreun Street

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum's Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.

Tags: Country Music Hall of Fame and MuseumGrand OpeningEvent

Get Ready for Record Store Day 2014

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 22:52

April 19th is Record Store Day!! As a vinyl lover who appreciates the LP format and the newer "heavy vinyl" format, this day has special meaning for us. This year we find some gems in the release roster that includes The Everly Brothers Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, some Greatful Dead, a bit of Gram Parsons, and more. If its something more bluegrass related, there are vinyl releases for our favorite genre too including the newly released A Dotted Line by Nickel Creek, Keep On Walkin' by the Grascals, Will The Circle Be Unbroken in 180 gram vinyl and more.

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 from the past on your turntable! Vinyl is alive and well and once again, growing in popularity.

Annual sales of vinyl LPs have crossed the half a million mark for the first time in more than a decade, revealed a BPI analysis of Official Charts Company data released today. Releases from Daft Punk, Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie have helped push the popularity of the format to renewed heights this year. Almost 550,000 LPs have been snapped up by music fans so far in 2013, already giving vinyl its most successful year since 2003.

Last year we reported Vinyl Revival Continues As LP Sales Reach Highest Level In More Than A Decade. The year-to-date sales figure reflects year-on-year growth of over 100%, doubling vinyl's market share in the last 12 months. LPs now account for 0.8% of all albums sold in the UK – as recently as 2007, its share was just 0.1%. Record Store Day, the one-day celebration of independent record shops which took place in April, generated £2m worth of vinyl sales itself alone. With around 15,000 LPs currently being bought every week, BPI is estimating that more than 700,000 units could be sold by the end of the year, the highest total sales since 2001, potentially generating £12 million at retail.

Bluegrass artists continue to produce albums in the LP vinyl format. Doc Watson and Alison Krauss have been featured in the new heavy 180 gram vinyl, a wonderful format. Other artists continue to release a limited number in vinyl. Recently, Pinecastle announced they will release The Osborne Brothers Nashville in the vinyl format on June 10th. A bit after Record Store Day but, yet another vinyl release!

Many artists are helping to push vinyl sales by offering digital downloads for free if you purchase the vinyl edition of their works. With the resurgence in vinyl popularity, this is a great way to have your cake and eat it too! You get the vinyl for your collection and the portable digital format too and all for just the price of the album. Aren't LPs great?!?!?

Some of the classics are making encore releases. Sugar Hill reissued epic Skaggs and Rice, Townes Van Zandt, Black Prairie on vinyl for Record Store Day 2012. Sarah Jarosz featured her EP in vinyl last year. You may still find fresh copies of these around but, don't just limit yourself to these. Check and see if your favorite bluegrass artist has any vinyl. Many do -- you just have to ask.

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.

Lists of this year's releases and previous year's releases are on the Record Store Day website. Hopefully in the next few years, we will see greater participation by bluegrass artists. Supporting your local record store on Saturday, April 19th is a great way to get started. Ask your store if they have bluegrass!old

Tags: Record Store DayVinylLP Release

Dr. Harde on Appalachia Mining Songs at International Country Music Conference

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 22:50

The International Country Music Conference (ICMC) is pleased that they can share yet another first rate presentation by a new BFF! Dr. Roxanne Harde of the University of Alberta, Canada will be dealing with “As Long As My Luck and Lungs Hold Out: The Processes of Power in Appalachian Mining Songs.” Harde indicates that since “the 1930s, Southern singer-songwriters have recorded songs about the tensions surrounding Appalachian coal mining, tensions produced by, to paraphrase Michel Foucault, miners and their families functioning as both elements and agents in the processes of power. These lyrics reinscribe power in social institutions, economic inequalities, language, human bodies, and the natural world. Collectively, these songs shift between critiques of the mining companies and the devastation they cause, and passive acceptance of the part played by Appalachian people. The relevant opposition in these lyrics is not between just and unjust uses of power, but between struggle and submission.” Harde develop her analysis by tracing “these oppositions in songs by Florence Reece, A.P. Carter, Jean Ritchie, John Prine, Steve Earle, and Gillian Welch.” Harde’s presentation will fit well with Ron Cohen and Si Kahn’s keynote, Sue Maasek’s Friday evening presentation on Sarah Ogan Gunning, and other discussions on social justice topics.

We want give a special congratulations to long time ICMC friend Greg Reish who will begin duties 1 August 2014 as the new Director of the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Popular Music! Congratulations Greg! is another congratulations! ICMC friend June Sawyers has been appointed editor of the ‘Folk, Blues, and Americana Traditions Past and Present’ series. Sawyers indicates that “unlike other book series devoted to the American folk music tradition, ‘Folk, Blues, and Americana Traditions Past and Present’ takes that tradition and both spreads it out where it reaches into other traditions—from the folk musings of the Grateful Dead to the folk-blues stylings of Keb Mo’—and brings it forward in time to “new folk” work of singer-songwriters.” For further information contact Sawyers at

Pickers don’t forget that there will be the usual informal picking Thursday evening prior to the 7:00pm keynote event and Friday evening at Studio B prior to Sue Massek’s ‘Precious Memories’ portrayal of Sarah Ogan Gunning. It would also be great if pickers want to start their collaboration prior to the Thursday noon luncheon. Please contact Nate Gibson (, Greg Reish (, or Karen Raizor ( for additional information. This includes the just announced Wednesday 5.21.14 pre conference picking component at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. Don’t forget that the pre conference event also includes tasting of Calfkiller Brewing company products as well as the launch of some fine books by ICMC participants!

If the 5.21.24 Holiday Inn Vanderbilt Calfkiller Brewing Company tasting, multiple book launches, and informal picking isn’t enough, consider the Ginsu Knife commerical’s. But wait!! There’s more!! We’re also VERY pleased that ICMC pickers have been given a 9:00-10:00pm slot on the Wednesday evening Holiday Inn Singer Songwriter program! If you wish to participate contact our ICMC picking troika listed above to discuss! If you wish to do a song or two, it needs to be your original material.

The Holiday Inn Vanderbilt will be again the official ICMC hotel of choice. The $115 single-quad rate is minimally $50 below the current rates available! Plesae call for reservations at 877.327.4707 and identify that you are with the International Country Music Conference. All reservations should be made by Sunday 20 April 2014 after which availability and the rate cannot be guaranteed.

The ICMC web site ( has been updated to reflect ICMC 2013 events with a variety of photos and awards information a well as ICMC 2014 due dates for registration. The ICMC 2014 program is now available. ICMC 2014 will have to revert to The Board Room of The Massey Center where ICMC was housed in previous years.

Keep in mind that Don Cusic ( wants to be receiving your well crafted manuscripts for the International Country Music Journal (ICMJ). While ICMJ is a formal function of ICMC, manuscripts do not have to be presented at ICMC for consideration. If you have questions please contact Don Cusic. The first ICMJ is available from You’ll not only enjoy the articles, but the Year In Country Music is a special feature that will be a valuable resource in your country music work over the years.

Tags: International Country Music ConferenceICMCAppalachia

Appalachian Musician and Bluegrass Radio Host Otis Head, 94 Dies

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 22:47

Harmonica stylist and 60-year radio host Otis Head, age 94, of the Plainview Community, died Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at Heritage Health Care in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. He was born near Prater’s Mill, North of Varnell, Ga. at Gobbler’s Knob. Head was also a prizefighter, Western and Appalachian music promoter and performer and record producer. He began his performance career competing on a talent show in “Doc” Chamberlain’s Medicine Show hosted by country legend Rambin’ Tommy Scott in the late 1930’s.

As a producer, he fostered the careers of multi-million selling banjo stylist Raymond Fairchild; country singer Clyde Beavers and numerous bluegrass and gospel acts. He hosted seasonal western shows in Florida and North Carolina featuring an array of western-themed street plays featuring gunfights for audiences in western theme parks. Head was a quick draw pistol artist and usually played the role of the town marshal in the productions.

Otis promoted music shows in the Northwest Georgia area featuring Country Music Hall of Famers Bill Monroe and Charlie Louvin, Boys from Indiana, the Bailes Brothers, the Lewis Family, Randall Franks and Raymond Fairchild. His “Otis Head Show” and it predecessors ran on Dalton area radio for almost 60 years with his final live broadcast on WTTI in March 2014. He began hosting live radio shows featuring country and bluegrass in 1959 on WBLJ. He moved to WRCD for 28 years and finally settled at WTTI sharing bluegrass gospel for 27 years.

Head was an entrepreneur and entertainer that opened the Plainview Superette, a grocery store and restaurant, famous for his Otis Burger, north of Dalton, Ga. in the 1940s. Working to meet the changing needs of the community, his business location changed its focus from food to clothing, shoes to videos and finally to a tanning and hair salon.

Otis was a volunteer of the Share America Foundation donating his time to raise funds for scholarships encouraging youth in Appalachian music. Head was highlighted in Ramblin “Doc” Tommy Scott’s autobiography “Snake Oil, Superstars and Me” in 2007. He was inducted into the Atlanta County Music Hall of Honor for his contributions to music in 2008.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel and Cleo Head; his first wife, Floy Felker Head; his second wife, Mary Pittman Parris; brothers, Euelle, Floyd, Basil, William, and Dewey Head; sisters, Ruby, Edith, and Betty.

He is survived by his sons, Kenneth O. Head of Atlanta, Chris Davidson of Dalton, Judy (John) Hayes of Dalton; sister, Alise Cline of Palm Bay, Florida; grandchildren, Holly and Keith Rollins, Shana and Jim Medlen both of Dalton, and Glen and Danette Head of Memphis, TN; seven great-grandchildren; special niece, Connie Long; step-children, nephews, nieces; long time friends, Randall Franks, Don and Pam Poteet, Deborah Jones and listeners also survive.

The funeral service to honor the life of Mr. Head is Friday April 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm at the Pleasant Grove Chapel of Julian Peeples Funeral Home with Minister Brother Doyle Partin and Randall Franks officiating. Burial will be in Varnell Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the following: Central Church of Christ building fund, PO Box 1527 Dalton GA 30720 or the Share America Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755 ( or the American Cancer Society.

Tags: Otis HeadObituarySilent StringsShare America Foundation

"Reno's Old Time Music" Hosts Steve Wariner Saturday

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 22:45

Nashville, TN -- Country music legend Steve Wariner will make his debut appearance on “Reno’s Old Time Music” on the RFD-TV network this Saturday, April 12, at 7:00 PM/EDT (6:00 PM/CDT). Wariner will sing some of his greatest hits on the program. The show will re-air on Sunday, April 13 at 2:30 AM/EDT (1:30 AM/CDT).

Wariner performed two of his biggest hits on the show: his No. 1 hit “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” which was named both CMA and ACM Song of the Year in 1998, and one of his signature songs: the No. 1 hit “Life’s Highway.” He also performed “Arrows at Airplanes” and “’48 Ford” from his current album It Ain’t All Bad, and his instrumental “6120” from his classic GRAMMY Award-winning Steve Wariner c.g.p….My Tribute to Chet Atkins CD which was recently added to the music catalog available at all Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations. Talented instrumentalist Jimmy Mattingly joined Wariner for most of the performances.

Ronnie Reno has been an entertainer for over 35 years, having first started with his father, the legendary Don Reno and then playing many years with The Osborne Brothers and Merle Haggard. It is this heritage, along with his own talent, that enables Ronnie to book the biggest names in both the acoustic and bluegrass fields.

Each show begins with a performance by Ronnie and his band, The Reno Tradition, followed by a performance and a short interview from the weekly guest. The guests then return to the Main Stage for more performances, leading into the Super Pickers segment. In following Ronnie's long held tradition, he then joins his guests back on the Main Stage for a sterling close out performance.

Needless to say, this fast-paced format, along with the quality of Ronnie's guests and their performances, are why "Reno's Old Time Music" consistently garners huge television audiences on a weekly basis! To find RFD-TV in your local viewing area, visit

Catch Wariner on tour this Spring:

  • April 26 | Cartersville, GA | The Grand Theatre | (special solo acoustic show)
  • May 8 | Alexandria, VA | Birchmere Music Hall
  • May 9 | Lancaster, PA | American Music Theatre
  • May 16 | Cleveland, OH | Cleveland Masonic Auditorium

For additional dates, visit

Tags: Reno's Old Time MusicSteve WarinerEventBroadcast

Donna Ulisse on WSM Station Inn Sessions Today

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 22:55

Bluegrass singer-songwriter Donna Ulisse and her band The Poor Mountain Boys will take the stage at the world famous Station Inn at 402 12th Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, April 10, 2014 as part of the popular WSM-650AM show The Station Inn Sessions. The show is free and open to the public and is hosted by Mike Terry. Ulisse's performance will feature much of the music from her current release Showin' My Roots as well as some of her chart toppers from her six previous releases.

The show runs from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. with the interview segment taking place at 5:00 p.m. and the music starting at 6:00 p.m. The show is also broadcast live over WSM 650 and can be listened to on the radio dial in the Nashville area or online at

The first thing you're likely to notice when you listen to Donna Ulisse - whether live or on a recording - is the voice. Variously described as "rapturous and angelic," strong, supple, warm, rich, companionable and crystalline, that voice commands your attention, adapting readily to whatever song she is singing, wrapping itself around the lyrics and imbuing them with just the right emotion needed to bring the song home.

Ulisse (pronounced You-liss-ee) also has been called "one of the best singer-songwriters in bluegrass." Which leads us to the pen. Nominated as the International Bluegrass Music Association's Songwriter of the year for two years running, Ulisse has been blessed to have her songs recorded by the Del McCoury Band, Claire Lynch, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, The Bankesters and Nu-Blu, Diana Jones, Natasha Borzilova and Louise Mosrie among others.

Ulisse has released seven well received albums for Hadley Music Group, each incorporating traditional and contemporary bluegrass, gospel and country: Walk This Mountain Down (2009), Holy Waters (2010), An Easy Climb (2011), All The Way To Bethlehem (2012), the gospel compilation I Am A Child of God (2013) and Showin' My Roots (2013). Her 2012 release, All The Way To Bethlehem, a stunningly original song cycle relating the story of Christ's birth, drew rave reviews, including: "may be the best Christmas story-related country album of 2012" (Country Standard Time) ... "a work of art" (The Bluegrass Special) ... "a masterpiece" (Bluegrass Unlimited) ... "a grand adventure told in song" (CMT. com).

Interestingly enough, Ulisse's latest album, Showin' My Roots, is one in which her own songwriting takes a back seat to the compositions of some of her greatest influences including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn. Merle Haggard and Carter Stanley. Her performance on the Station Inn Sessions will feature much of the material from the new release which is currently climbing several bluegrass and roots music charts.

For more information about Donna Ulisse visit

Tags: Donna UlisseWSM-AM 650BroadcastStation Inn SessionsEvent

Tower Hill Club hosting JamGrass SpringFest

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 22:54

Laconia, NH -- Weirs Beach - The Tower Hill Club, located at290 Lakeside Ave, Laconia, New Hampshire will host the inaugural JamGrass Spring Festival and canned food drive on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12, from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. on both nights.

A half a dozen bands from across New England will get that spring feeling in the air, and will make even the coldest winter is a distant memory. Bluegrass music regularly features banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and stand-up bass, dobro, and tight vocal harmonies. Bands will be performing both traditional and original tunes.

This event doubles as a canned food drive to benefit Strangers Helping Strangers, a unique organization that provides support and resources to care for those less fortunate by setting up food drives at local concerts and festivals, after which supplies are delivered to local food banks, pantries and shelters.

JamGrass is an affordable event, $8 for a one day pass and $14 for a two day pass 21+ or all ages with a parental guardian. Concessions, beer, wine and liquor will be available. The festival is housed indoors and will be a rain or shine event, there are several places to stay in the area. For hotel or motel reservations visit

The JamGrass Spring Festival is held at the Tower Hill Club, located on the 2nd floor above Tower Hill Tavern. Parking on Weirs Beach is free for this event. For more information, contact Jay Santagate at (603)366-9100 or visit

Tags: JamGrass SpringFestMusic FestivalBenefitFood Drive