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Suwannee Banjo Camp, March 27-29, 2015, is Open for Business

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:43

Live Oak, FL -- It is time to announce that the 2015 Suwannee Banjo Camp, in Live Oak, Florida, is open for business. The Suwannee Banjo Camp takes place March 27-29, with an optional extra day on March 26th. Our camp features classes, demonstrations, concerts and jams, in bluegrass and old-time banjo styles, and includes a guitar track and fiddle track, as well as instruction in minstrel banjo and the African akonting (ekonting).

Come study 5-string banjo with some of today’s best players and teachers. Our program features hands-on classes, demonstrations, and two big faculty concerts, and still leaves lots of time for jamming with your fellow banjo enthusiasts.

SBC offers serious instruction in clawhammer, old-time fingerpicking, and bluegrass banjo styles. In addition, we offer introductions to both minstrel banjo and the west-African banjo ancestor known as akonting (ekonting) If you don’t have your own ekonting, contact us ahead of time and instruments can be provided.

The atmosphere and schedule is designed to allow plenty of opportunity for casual interactions between staff and students. There is plenty of time to get to know our staff of great and notable performers and teachers, as well a chance to share music and make friendships with other students. Our camp is set up to accommodate all experience levels, from true beginners to the highly skilled and expereinced.

2015 Staff:

  • Bluegrass Banjo:
    • Scott Anderson
    • Janet Beazley
    • Gerald Jones
    • Ned Lubrecki
    • James McKinney
    • Alan Munde
    • Tony Trischka
  • Old-time Banjo:
    • Paul Brown
    • Bob Carlin
    • Adam Hurt
    • Mark Johnson
    • Brad Leftwich
    • Chuck Levy
    • Terri McMurray
    • Ken Perlman
  • Old-Time Fiddle:
    • James Leva
  • Guitar:
    • Danny Smith
Tags: Suwannee Banjo CampBanjo CampBanjoEducation

Darin & Brooke Aldridge Sign with Buddy Lee Attractions

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:41

Nashville, TN -- Mountain Home Music recording artists, Darin & Brooke Aldridge are excited to announce that they have signed with Buddy Lee Attractions (BLA). Buddy Lee Attractions’s recent expansion of the agency representation to encompass Bluegrass performing artists has opened the doors for artists like Darin & Brooke Aldridge.

“BLA is thrilled to add Darin & Brooke Aldridge to our Bluegrass Roster. They are a wonderful talent and we are looking forward to a busy 2015,” said Sherry Graf, BLA’s Nationwide Bluegrass Agent.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge are up for two 2014 IBMAs. They have received a nomination for Gospel Recorded Project for “Love Does” which appears on their most recent album FLYING. They’re also nominated for Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project (Lynn Weathers, designer) Flying.

Husband and wife duo Darin & Brooke Aldridge draw on the traditions of their native North Carolina, the savvy of a young, gifted band and their own dedication to ingenuity to create the most mature release of their career with their latest release, Flying.
their most recent album FLYING. They’re also nominated for Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project (Lynn Weathers, designer) Flying.

The duo has placed at the top of the charts on Americana/Roots, SiriusXM, Bluegrass and Gospel charts. They have received multiple nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPGBMA) and Inspirational Country Music (ICM). The music video “Wildflower” is being featured on CMT and CMT Edge and GAC. Their TV appearances include PBS, Great American Gospel, The Bluegrass Road, Presley’s Country Jubilee, RFD-TV, Rural-TV, Daystar Network, Blue Highways TV, Song of the Mountains and Music City Roots.

Both highly acclaimed vocalists in their own right, Darin and Brooke combine rich harmonies with impeccable musicianship to create the unmistakable sound that has made them one of the hottest young acts in acoustic music and they’ve surrounded themselves with a band of equally amazing pickers. Darin spent 6 years as a member of the acclaimed County Gentleman and is a highly sought-after multi-instrumentalist. Brooke has been lauded for having one of the most powerful voices in music of any genre.

Buddy Lee Attractions, Inc. is Nashville`s oldest and largest privately owned talent agency, serving the needs of country music`s live entertainment industry worldwide. Originally founded in 1964 as Aud-Lee Attractions, the agency was fully acquired by Buddy Lee in 1964. Throughout the past 50 years, the agency has developed and represented the biggest names in country music, including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.

Based on a belief that you are only as strong as your weakest link, Buddy Lee Attractions, Inc. prides itself in the across the board quality of the agents it has brought together to serve the needs of their artist`s touring careers. Their integrity, collective knowledge base and solid work ethic have garnered the agency numerous awards, including 3 time recipients of the Country Music Association`s Talent Agency of the Year Award, as well as 3 time winners of Performance's Country Music Agency of the Year Award, two time Pollstar Tour of the Year Award and numerous Agents of the Year Awards to it`s staff.

Tags: Darin & Brooke AldridgeBuddy Lee AttractionsPromotionBusinessBand Announcement

IBMA Launches Inaugural Film Festival at World of Bluegrass

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 23:19
Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) is excited to present its first annual IBMA Bluegrass Film Festival during World of Bluegrass Week September 30-October 4 in Raleigh, NC! The festival is comprised of two Feature Films, screened during the IBMA's World of Bluegrass Business Conference (Tues.-Thurs.), and six Festival Films, screened during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival (Fri.-Sat.). Featured film screenings will include an introduction and post-screening Q&A session with the filmmaker or a representative during the Business Conference. All eight films (feature and festival) will be shown twice during the weekend.

“Banjo Romantika” by Lee Bidgood and Anna Schwaber’s “The Porch Light Sessions” were singled out by the IBMA Film Festival Committee as projects that best represent the criteria of the film festival. The other films selected for 2014 are “At the Feed & Seed” (April Janow), “The Cricket” (Andrew Cartoun), “G2- Mind Over Matter” (David Elfgren), “Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B” (Rick Bowman), “The History of Future Folk” (Jeremy Walker) and “The Tao of Bluegrass – A Portrait of Peter Rowan” (Christine Funk).

“We have several goals for the film festival: to introduce the bluegrass industry to new bluegrass-related films, to promote the creation of these films, and then to provide a platform and a showcase for our members who have created these films,” said Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director of IBMA. “We feel this will be a benefit not only to the filmmakers in our industry, but to the many bluegrass fans that attend World of Bluegrass.”

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, takes place over five days. The event 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; Wide Open Bluegrass, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival 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.

All eight films in the IBMA Film Festival will have multiple showings on October 3 and 4; those showings – inside the Raleigh Convention Center, near the Bluegrass Expo Hall – are free and open to the public. Some filmmakers will attend the screenings, participating in “Q&A” sessions with the audience about their project.

The Cricket from Stoney Lonesome Productions™ on Vimeo.

Business Conference attendees will have the opportunity to view “Banjo Romantika” and “The Porch Light Sessions” earlier in the week, with an intro and “Q&A” session from the respective filmmakers.

More information about each film, as well as movie trailers, scheduled viewing times and location, etc. can be found at

“The first IBMA Film Festival will welcome bluegrass filmmakers to the mix of creative professionals at the World Of Bluegrass,” said Michael Hall, IBMA Film Festival Committee Chair. “Films about bluegrass music history, culture, performers, and lifestyles help tell the bluegrass story to existing fans and new fans alike. These films are now beginning to reach beyond ‘film’ audiences to ‘music’ audiences and are an important developing area of bluegrass event programming. Thanks to the IBMA's staff and volunteers for supporting this new trend by introducing the films at the World Of Bluegrass.”

Hall started the first bluegrass film festival in 2008 in the San Francisco Bay Area for the Northern California Bluegrass Society; the 8th annual NCBS Film Festival will be held in Redwood City in January, 2015.

Tickets, registration and passes for all aspects of World of Bluegrass – as well as additional information and scheduled for all events - are available through IBMA’s website,

Tags: IBMAFilm FestivalEventWorld of Bluegrass

AirPlay Direct Co-Sponsors IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 23:17

AirPlay Direct is pleased to announce our on-going partnership with the IBMA, and our “Co-Sponsorship” of the 2014 IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference, as well as the IBMA Momentum Awards. The IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global Bluegrass music community.

World of Bluegrass is the annual Bluegrass music homecoming, taking place September 30-October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The week features four separate events and hundreds of offerings for every Bluegrass professional and music fan! If Bluegrass music moves you, come to the conference that moves Bluegrass music.

“We continue to be impressed with the work the IBMA is doing to create relevant, educational and professional opportunities for their membership. AirPlay Direct is pleased to support the IBMA and the ever-growing global Bluegrass music community, by delivering more Bluegrass music to radio stations worldwide than any other company in the world.” Lynda Weingartz, CEO – AirPlay Direct

AirPlay Direct would like to congratulate all of the Momentum Award nominees for 2014. The IBMA Momentum Awards were instituted in 2012 to recognize both musicians and Bluegrass industry professionals who, while in the early stages of their careers, have contributed to, or had an influence on, Bluegrass music. These contributions can be to Bluegrass music in general, or done in a specific part of the industry.

For more information on the IBMA, the WOB Conference and the Momentum Award nominees, please visit For more information on AirPlay Direct please visit

AirPlay Direct is an artist marketing, promotion, and education platform that delivers premium digital services and is the leading secure digital file transfer system for the music industry. We are a centralized, professional eco-system that connects artists, labels, radio stations, as well as equipment and services. All of our subscribers are qualified music industry participants. We have a national and international reach of 9,100+ radio station members in 90 countries with over 38,000 artist / label members. We give direct access to the primary target market of artists, musicians, labels, and radio stations of all musical genres.

Tags: AirPlay DirectIBMAWorld of BluegrassPromotionBusiness

The Roys: The View Provides Insight to Their Lives

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 22:06

The Roys have put together a project that shines some light into their personal lives. Elaine Roy shares some of her personal feelings in the opening track "No More Lonely." Those that have followed their social media commentary will find the relationship to this song and Elaine's personal journey. This fifth album of theirs is definitely the duo's greatest effort to date.

The Roys have heart. A lot of big heart. As the album weaves tracks of stories and reflection that give a wider view what The Roys represent. There is a lot of reflection in the songs presented here. They are deep, personal and convincing -- not an easy task to master. It is easy to understand how this happens when Elaine and Lee wrote the material on all the tracks in this album. These are the songs of their lives brought together into an awesome collection.

As songwriters, Lee, Elaine put together a new sound. Songwriters write about their dreams, experiences and views. The View certainly does that as it delivers the theme of bluegrass - fine musicianship, emotion and a bit of lonesome. The title track sings of looking outward but also offers a view inward.

The sibling duo's harmonies get better with each release and this album is definitely the pinnacle of their career. There is a magic that comes from family related artists that you don't get with other bands. It's in the harmonies, music and lyrics where they come across as sincere, honest and personally directed towards the listener. You can listen to this album and feel they are singing it just for you.

Doyle Lawson makes a gues appearance on "Mandolin Man," a song about the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Speaking of mandolins, Lee plays more than just the mandolin on this disk. In addition to the mandolin, he also plays a Mandocello and a Mandola adding a bit more to the album. While breaking away from tradition, the sound works and works extremely well.

Tags: ReviewThe RoysCD ReleaseThe View

Nu-Blu Goes All the Way with Newest Album

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 22:04

All The Way, the latest release by bluegrass artists, Nu-Blu, once again delivers. This album makes the bluegrass blue from start to finish. The tight artistry is a trademark of this outstanding band and this album is even tighter. Carolyn Routh's vocals on the tracks is soulful and emotional.

The band's rendition of Anne Murray's "A Little Good News" fits today's world news. It is a timely and a fitting today as it was 31 years ago when first released. Things really pick up with the instrumental "Black Jack" made popular by J.D. Crowe and the New South. They do this track justice with some outstanding picking that is full of drive and powerful. Turn up the volume on this one!

Of course, the highlight of this project is "Jesus And Jones" featuring Sam Moore. We certainly need more of this kind of depth in bluegrass. American Southern soul and R&B artist Sam Moore's contribution to this track adds an entire new dimension to what bluegrass music can be. I hope that more artists find a way to put the blues into bluegrass. After all, that's where it all started with Bill Monroe.

The overall tempo of the album is mild. "Black Jack" is the peak of the pickin' however, don't let that hold you back. This album covers stories and life as bluegrass music is known for. The album touches various ups and downs throughout the ten tracks. Nu-Blu put a lot of their own soul into this release. This is Nu-Blu listening material that will be as good years from now as it is today. That staying power is why this band is at the top of todays contemporary bluegrass.

Tags: ReviewCD ReleaseAll The Way

Bourbon & Bluegrass - a Bluegrass Museum Benefit

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 22:21

Owensboro, KY -- The Owensboro Bourbon Society, The Miller House and the International Bluegrass Music Museum are partnering together for 'Bourbon and Bluegrass,' Saturday, October 11 at The Miller House. This special evening will include dinner, bourbon and wine tastings with the meal, champagne, a silent auction and live music, and will be a benefit for the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

A cocktail hour will kick-off the night and open the silent auction at 5:00 pm, followed by a gourmet four-course dinner prepared by The Miller House. Live music by the fabulous 2014 ROMP Festival performers, Phoebe Hunt and Connor Forsyth, will begin after dinner.

The silent auction will include premium items such as a Pappy Van Winkle 15 year bourbon, a 6-person private tour and tasting with Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker's Mark distillery, a private dinner for two with Master Distiller Jim Rutledge of Four Roses, UK basketball tickets and many rare bottles of bourbon.

Tickets are $75 per person and include four courses with a bourbon or wine pairing; a vegetarian option is available upon request. Reservations for a table of four include a complimentary bottle of wine; a table of eight--two bottles.

For individuals wishing to only attend the musical performance, tickets will be available for $10 each. To purchase tickets, please visit or call the Bluegrass Museum - 270-926-7891.

Tags: Bourbon & BluegrassInternational Bluegrass Music MuseumEventBenefit

Rebecca Frazier to Shocase at IBMA and AMA Conferences

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 22:20

Over the past decade, Rebecca Frazier has led one of today’s hottest bluegrass ensembles, Hit & Run Bluegrass. They’ve become known as one of the tightest groups performing, taking them all the way to the coveted winner’s circle. Hit & Run is the only band to take first place at Telluride, Rockygrass, and SPBGMA Festival Band Championships.

Rebecca and company are honored to be a part of two of the largest conferences for Americana and Bluegrass music. Catch her at the Americana Music Association Conference and the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass where she is an official showcase artist at both!

Rebecca Frazier achieved notoriety in the bluegrass world as the first female musician ever to appear on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, but it is her vocal prowess and songwriting chops that make her one of the most exciting new artists to emerge on the national bluegrass stage. When We Fall is her long awaited solo debut and it is already garnering praise from bluegrass fans and critics in the know. Accompanying Frazier on the album of original songs and tunes are some of the finest players in bluegrass including Barry Bales (bass), Scott Vestal (banjo), Ron Block (banjo), John Frazier (mandolin) and more.

Vocally the album places Frazier solidly in the tradition created by Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch and others with driving tracks like “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow” which are reminiscent of the early recordings of Alison Krauss while instrumentals such as “Virginia Coastline” and “Clifftop” give a tip of the hat to guitar legends Tony Rice and the late jazz guitarist Emily Remler, about whom Frazier wrote her Honors Senior Thesis at the University of Michigan. Taken as a whole, Frazier is a triple threat and her multi-faceted musicianship is sure to place her at the top of the crop of up and coming leading ladies in bluegrass.

Tags: Rebecca FrazierWorld of BluegrassIBMAShowcase ArtistsShowcaseAmericana Music Festival & Conference

Free WOB Wifi at Raleigh Convention Center Courtesy celito

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 22:17

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced an added bonus for those attending IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, September 30-October 4, in Raleigh, North Carolina: “Wide Open Wifi” - free access to wifi within the Raleigh Convention Center, courtesy of Raleigh-based telecommunications company celito.

World of Bluegrass attendees inside the Raleigh Convention Center will be able to access the free wifi throughout all days of the event, from Tuesday, September 30 through Saturday, October 4. Once inside the RCC, attendees can connect to the "IBMA Free Wifi by" wireless network (SSID); no password is required.

Outside the Raleigh Convention Center, attendees can use the "Downtown Raleigh FREE WiFI" network to get free Internet service. This service is available on the Fayetteville St. Mall and at other outdoor areas downtown. A service area map is available at:

celito is a Raleigh born, Raleigh based company that was founded in 1999 with the mission to “help people with our unique knowledge and capabilities and build services on our fiber based network.” Fast forward 15 years and is now the Internet provider for all major entertainment venues in Raleigh-Durham, servicing hundreds of businesses in North Carolina with their fiber based Internet service, voice and data center services.

“When we look at an opportunity to give back to our community we really try and focus on organizations that fall into one of three categories: the military, organizations serving children, or the arts, said celito’s Catrina Vienrich. “When the opportunity to support IBMA presented itself we knew that it was a core focus and core value fit for our company and we wanted to be a part. As a Raleigh born, locally grown company we are advocates for our city and are proud to support an amazing arts organization and event such as IBMA.”

“As an international organization, IBMA members rely heavily on web-based communication and marketing in our efforts to promote bluegrass music to new audiences literally around the world,” said Nancy Cardwell, IBMA’s Executive Director. “So we are especially grateful to our friends at celito and the Raleigh Convention Center for wifi access during World of Bluegrass events. This generous offer is unprecedented in the convention center world. Free wifi on site is just one more good reason for us to be hosting World of Bluegrass events in Raleigh through 2018.”

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-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.

Tags: IBMAWorld of BluegrasstechnologyBusiness

Sounds Like Home Concert with Steve Gulley, Dale Ann Bradley & More

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:49

Sounds Like Home: A Night of Music from the Cumberlands is a community homecoming for bluegrass legends Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley, who have grown up, performed and made countless friends and fans in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee and Kentucky. This special event takes place September 26th at 6 PM at Cove Lake State Park in Caryville, Tennessee.

These amazing bluegrass artists return to help kick off a great weekend celebration, along with the Pinnacle Mountain Boys (featuring Don Gulley) and Vic Graves & Friends. This remarkable night of lightning-fast picking and sweet, soulful harmonies will remind you how special our community is.

Steve has just put together the next chapter in his legendary bluegrass career with his new band, Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle. Joined with Bryan Turner on Bass, Gary Robinson on Mandolin and Matthew Cruby on Banjo, this group has healthy and deep bluegrass roots. They also have the experience to greak out with some hot music as well.

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.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and RICKARD RIDGE BBQ will be selling food and beverages on site.

The concert raises funds for the non-profit, all-volunteer Campbell Culture Coalition, the organization that runs Louie Bluie and many other arts and culture events in Campbell County. Tickets are on sale now! Get them online by clicking the link below or find them at one of the ticket outlets listed below. Advance tickets are $12.50 and tickets at the gate are $15.

Tags: Steve Gulley and New PinnacleDale Ann BradleyEventSounds Like Home: A Night of Music from the Cumberlands

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn Present Debut Album Oct. 7

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:47

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn present their eponymous debut album as a duo, after many years of prominence as banjo players and composers in their own eclectic avenues. Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn is a front porch banjo and vocal album of new music, Appalachian murder ballads, gospel, chamber and blues; the culmination of a yearlong tour as a duo in 2013, following the birth of their son, Juno. Béla, an icon and innovator of jazz, classical and world, with more multi-category GRAMMY wins than any other artist (15 total), and Abigail, a formidable talent with triumphs in songwriting, theater, performance, and even Chinese diplomacy by way of banjo, turn out to be quite a fortuitous pairing with a deep, distinct and satisfying outcome. The culmination is an album like no other.

The record reveals their astounding chemistry as collaborators, as the two seamlessly stitch together singular banjo sounds (through an assortment of seven banjos spanning the recording) in service to the stories that their songs tell, with no studio gimmickry needed. According to Béla, “finding a way to make every song have its own unique stamp, yet the whole project having a big cohesive sound – with only two people,” was at the core of their joint vision. Demonstrating seemingly unlimited rhythmic, tonal and melodic capabilities, Fleck and Washburn confirm the banjo’s versatility as the perfect backdrop to the rich lyrical component that Fleck and Washburn offer, “Sometimes when you add other instruments, you take away from the banjo’s being able to show all its colors, which are actually quite beautiful.”

Thanks to this album, the musicians’ palette has never been more vivid or pure. Sure, in the abstract, a banjo duo might seem like a musical concept beset by limitations. But when the banjo players cast in those roles are Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck—she with the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter, he with the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots— it’s a different matter entirely. There’s no denying that theirs is a one-of-a-kind pairing, with one-of-a-kind possibilities.Fleck and Washburn have collaborated in the past, most visibly 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 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 (releasing October 7 on Rounder Records).

There was one other small, yet not at all insignificant factor in the timing: the birth of their son Juno. Says Fleck, “I come from a broken home, and I have a lot of musician friends who missed their kids’ childhoods because they were touring. The combination of those two things really made me not want to be one of those parents. I don’t want to be somebody that Juno sees only once in a while. We need to be together, and this is a way we can be together a whole lot more.”

That goes for touring and album-making both. Thanks to the fact that they have a first-rate studio on the premises, Fleck and Washburn could record at home—but that didn’t mean it was an easy process. Consumed with caring for their new baby and perpetually sleep-deprived, they had to get resourceful in order to carve out time to cut tracks.

“Béla is really the reason that it’s finished,” Washburn emphasizes. “There were a few months when Juno was a newborn that I just really had to have somebody say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re gonna do today.’ As long as I could spend a few hours a day between nursings, we could make some good progress on the record.”

The aim wasn’t simply to get the album done, but to make it feel satisfying and complete using only the sounds they could coax out of their bodies and their banjos. Says Fleck, “We didn’t want any other instruments on there, because we’re into this idea that we’re banjo players, and that should be enough. Why do you always have to have a rhythm section, a guitar player, a bass player or something? Sometimes when you add other instruments, you take away from the ability of the banjo to show all its colors, which are actually quite beautiful.”

Washburn and Fleck didn’t confine themselves to playing their usual workhorses, her Ome Jubilee and his pre-war Gibson Mastertone Style 75. Between them, they used seven different banjos in all, including a cello banjo, a ukulele banjo that technically belongs to Juno and a baritone banjo that Fleck commissioned specifically for this album.

“We had this vision of playing different banjos in different registers,” he says, “finding a way to make every song have its own unique stamp, yet the whole project having a big, cohesive sound – with only two people.” (A giggling Juno is the only other person who appears anywhere on the album.)

From track to track, Washburn and Fleck are a nimble band unto themselves. On the trad tune “Railroad,” she sustains a droning feel, while he jabs in syncopated counterpoint. Woven into the middle of their arrangement is an excerpt from another American banjo chestnut, “Oh! Susanna,” an occasion for Fleck to briefly slip into a dixieland role. In their co-written original “Little Birdie“ he supplies what amounts to a ticklish, inventive bass line while she plays circling arpeggios and picks out the melody. “Bye Bye Baby Blues” is her turn to toy with droll, walking bass beneath his wonderfully jaunty licks. “What’cha Gonna Do,” which came entirely from his pen, lyrics and all, rides a churning groove made up of intertwining banjo figures and foot patting.

All that’s to say, there’s a ton going on rhythmically, tonally and melodically. Then there are the breathtaking ballads like Washburn’s “Ride To You” and the traditional “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?,” which showcase the way she caresses a lyric with the hearty yet elegant empathy of her vocals. (The story goes that Fleck was so taken with her singing the first time he heard it on a recording that he lost track of how fast he was driving and got pulled over.) He’s singing harmony on a couple of tracks too, something he hasn’t had the chance to do since his New Grass Revival days.

You’d expect Fleck to take the lead during intricate instrumentals, but that’s not always the case here. In “New South Africa,” which came from his Flecktones repertoire, he and Washburn each take a turn out front. And if you listen to “banjo banjo” in stereo, it’s easy to make out the subtle rippling effect of the two players seamlessly trading notes during ascending and descending runs.

That kind of stuff was way out of Washburn’s comfort zone. “I come from the old-time world,” she says, “which is more about communally trancing out on old fiddle and banjo tunes. It has very little to do with soloing or anything technical or virtuosic. So for me to try to learn Béla’s music has been a big challenge, but a wonderful one. Although I’m a very different type of player, I feel very lucky that he’s a musical mentor to me. It’s a beautiful part of our connection.”

Fleck chimes in, “I’m a big fan of Abby’s playing. I know it so well that I could imagine the two of us playing these tunes together. I love looking at her playing and going, ‘What can I throw into your kettle of soup that would make it bubble up just a little bit?’”

The directness of her musical sensibilities had a profound effect on him, too. “I do a lot of heady music,” he explains, “and I’m always trying hard to keep soul and melodicism as important elements, but there’s also a lot of complexity going on. When I play with Abby, there’s an opportunity for me to make music that hits you in a different place emotionally. That’s one of her gifts, is a pure connection to the listener, taking simpler ideas and imbuing them with a lot of personality and a point of view. I wanted to make sure that while I was respecting my own ability to play complex ideas, I was also part of making that feeling happen.”

A surprising number of the songs on the album address matters of life and death, a coincidence that Fleck and Washburn came to embrace. There are multiple meditations on the afterlife, one example being the Appalachian-accented “And Am I Born To Die,” which Washburn learned from a recording of one of her heroes, Doc Watson. And if they were going to record the Victorian murder ballad “Pretty Polly,” Washburn wanted to make sure that it was a version where Polly had a speaking part, and that it was immediately followed in the song sequence by her original “Shotgun Blues,” a song whose gist she summarizes as “I’m gonna come after that nasty, old man that keeps killing all those ladies in all those murder ballads.”

Of course, Fleck and Washburn also had a new life entrusted into their care, and were overwhelmed at times by how strong the protective parental instincts hit them. So, after recording one version of “Little Birdie,” they ultimately went with an alternate version where the mama bird saves the baby bird from a crocodile in the final verse. That one felt right.

Judging from the way Juno dances every time he hears it, his favorite song in the bunch is “Railroad.” In fact, Fleck suggested they work it up after he overheard her singing it to their newborn. (Washburn’s mother used to sing to her when she was little too.) Juno gets to hear rehearsals and sound checks a plenty, since he accompanies his parents to folk festivals, arts centers and theaters all across the country. But he’s typically already asleep in his very own bunk on the bus before the shows start.

Washburn and Fleck playfully embrace the notion that they’ve become a family band. And at home, on stage or on record, it’s their deep bond, on top of the way their distinct musical personalities and banjo styles interact, that makes theirs a picking partnership unlike any other on the planet.

Tags: Bela FleckBela FleckAbigail WashburnCD ReleaseDebut

Front Country's Powergrass Debut Album

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:45
From the first notes of “Gospel Train,” as Melody Walker’s soaring voice entwines around the phrase “I woke up with heaven on my mind,” you’ll hear that Front Country isn’t your usual bluegrass band. When the fiddle and distorted acoustic guitar come crashing into the song like roaring waves, rushing back and forth with swelling ferocity, you’ll know that this is bluegrass unleashed, American roots music that refuses to be constrained.

Each song on the album points to traditional influences, but it’s clear that Front Country views these traditions as a launching pad for grander explorations. On their highly anticipated debut full-length album, Sake of the Sound, Front Country blend everything from high-lonesome mountain music to new-wave power pop, newgrass picking, oldgrass harmonies, and just plain glorious musicality. This is Americana at its best: music with deep roots and wide-ranging vision.

From the first notes of “Gospel Train,” as Melody Walker’s soaring voice entwines around the phrase “I woke up with heaven on my mind,” you’ll hear that Front Country isn’t your usual bluegrass band. When the fiddle and distorted acoustic guitar come crashing into the song like roaring waves, rushing back and forth with swelling ferocity, you’ll know that this is bluegrass unleashed, American roots music that refuses to be constrained. Each song on the album points to traditional influences, but it’s clear that Front Country views these traditions as a launching pad for grander explorations.

On their highly anticipated debut full-length album, Sake of the Sound, Front Country blend everything from high-lonesome mountain music to new-wave power pop, newgrass picking, oldgrass harmonies, and just plain glorious musicality. This is Americana at its best: music with deep roots and wide-ranging vision.

Coming out of the California Bay Area’s red-hot roots music scene, Front Country first made waves with a rare double band competition win at both the Telluride and Rockygrass music festivals. Following national tours and invites to prestigious events like Wintergrass and IBMA, anticipation has been mounting for their debut full-length album.

Wanting to create something that pushed their sound even further, Front Country recruited renowned instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter Kai Welch (Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck) to produce Sake of the Sound. With Welch at the helm, Front Country were able to unite their many far-reaching musical influences and inspirations and do credit to their electrifying live show. The songs on the new album are sourced from all across the Americana spectrum (Utah Philips, Bob Dylan, Kate Wolf), but each cover brings a fresh, new perspective.

New songwriters like Nashville scribe Sarah Siskind or Laura Wortman of The Honey Dewdrops bring powerful songs as well, but Front Country truly shines when the original songs of lead singer Melody Walker give them room to flex. “Colorado” is a gorgeously crafted showcase to both Walker’s voice and the understated power of each instrumentalist in Front Country. Melody’s songs draw out Front Country’s furthest reaching interests in music. Her title song “Sake of the Sound,” a rapturous musical ode set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, references Paul Simon’s “Graceland” or Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as easily as new-wave progressive bluegrass bands like Crooked Still or The Punch Brothers, and even dips into Melody and Jacob’s interests in ethnomusicology and Afro Pop. With a global span of interests and world-class talent, it’s no wonder Front Country’s bluegrass sounds like it was born in a new century.

Front Country formed in 2011 from a monthly gig with friends in San Francisco’s Mission District. They quickly found a musical rapport that was open to challenging arrangements, unique covers and original songwriting. Melody Walker brought her award-winning songwriting to the table and her hall-shaking voice, which sounds like a mix between Bonnie Raitt and Natalie Maines. Mandolinist Adam Roszkiewicz was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for his work with the Modern Mandolin Quartet, and is a composer of new acoustic instrumental music. The offspring of a concert violinist and a geology professor, fiddler Leif Karlstrom is an explosive mix of talent and precision, erupting like a bluegrass volcano. Banjo player Jordan Klein has been an asset to the Bay Area bluegrass scene for over ten years and can be found picking in the campground of many a festival till the wee hours. Starting out on electric bass in funk bands, Zach Sharpe plays upright bass on-stage, and picks a mean banjo off-stage. Jacob Groopman is the hardest working man in Front Country, acting as both lead guitarist and head cat-wrangler, while supplying sweet harmony vocals and spiritual guidance for a crew of six.

Tags: Front CountryCD ReleaseSake of the Sound

Phil Leadbetter Releases “The Next Move”

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:49

Nashville, TN -- It’s a remarkable commentary on the character of a man when he can call upon friends and associates with the answer repeatedly being a resounding “yes.” A stellar list of friends make his Bucket List dreams come true with this release.

After being diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011, Phil Leadbetter feared that his 37-year career as a touring and performing musician may be over and yet, recognized the immense blessing of having enjoyed that career. The 2005 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year winner sat down and made a “bucket list” of friends and idols in the music business with whom he’d always wanted to record, or simply wanted to play with once again … if his health would ever allow a return to playing the music he loved.

In 2012, the cancer went into remission and slowly, as the effects of the chemo drugs left his body, Phil found himself strong enough to pick up the resonator guitar once again. He also returned to that dream list of musicians and friends. Phil felt ready for the next move.

With almost more Grammy, IBMA, and Country Music Association Award winners than one can count, The Next Move (Pinecastle Records) is the culmination of Phil’s dream; a bucket list of artists who all said, “yes.”

In The Next Move, Phil shows his amazing gift for creativity, arrangements, and brilliant picking with a stellar lineup of his friends and favorite artists. The list of guests reads like a Who’s Who of award-winners from Bluegrass, Country and Acoustic music, including: Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Mike Bub, Shawn Camp, Steve Wariner, Joe Diffie, Marty Raybon, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ken Mellons, Kenny Smith, Cory Walker, Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, John Cowan, Jake Stargel, Matt Leadbetter, Jim Hurst, Steve Thomas, Paul Brewster, Con Hunley, Charlie Cushman, Jarrod Walker and more.

Critics are already aflutter in anticipation of Phil’s latest project. Commenting on the song “I’m a
Ramblin’ Rolling Stone,” Gracie Muldoon of Worldwide Bluegrass Radio calls the reso-guitar player “A Champion of Champions, that Phil Leadbetter,” and adds “After defeating the dreaded C, and picking up his instrument of choice, which has become more like an appendage to his person, Phil doesn’t miss a smooth, gliding, sparkling lick on his dobro.”

Recorded after his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma went into remission, Phil has since learned that the cancer has returned. He is valiantly waging a second fight with cancer while releasing his dream album. The Next Move is a reminder to never give up and always remain positive.

“Cancer can take a lot from you,” Leadbetter admits, “but it can't kill your dreams.”

Although he’s currently undergoing treatment, Phil continues to perform with the Dale Ann Bradley Band and recently made an appearance on the world famous Grand Ole Opry.

Tags: Phil LeadbetterCD ReleaseThe Next Move

IBMA’s Momentum Awards Nominees Announced

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:47

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced the nominees for this year’s Momentum Awards; the nominees were announced today through the bluegrass organization’s social media sites. The winners of the 2014 Momentum Awards will be presented with their awards at a luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 1 in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, September 30-October 4.

The Momentum Awards were instituted in 2012 to recognize both musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who, while in the early stages of their careers, have contributed to, or had an influence on, bluegrass music. These contributions can be to bluegrass music in general, or done in a specific part of the industry.

"One of the distinctive features of the bluegrass world is that the peak years of careers are often measured in decades, even as we welcome an abundance of new artists and industry professionals into the ranks,” said Jon Weisberger, IBMA Board chair. “So as our top artists and professionals continue to enjoy recognition from their peers through its annual awards, the IBMA's Board of Directors saw a need to salute some of the best and brightest among those who are closer to the beginnings of their careers, and created the Momentum Awards--noteworthy for including not just singers, pickers and bands, but events or venues and professionals--as a vehicle for drawing attention to their achievements.”

Starting with recommendations from the IBMA membership, nominees are chosen by committees through a multi-stage process involving respected musicians and industry leaders in the bluegrass world.

“Momentum Award nominees and recipients are chosen by small committees of whose members' experiences and vantage points within the industry give them the broad awareness and perspective needed to make good choices,” said Weisberger. “Though the awards are just a couple of years old, they're already helping to create new fans and new opportunities."

The 2014 Momentum Awards are sponsored by AirPlay Direct, the Boston Bluegrass Union and the California Bluegrass Association.

This year’s Momentum Award nominees are:

  • Performance Award nominees, Instrumentalists (final committee will select 3)
    • Mike Barnett (fiddle)
    • Casey Campbell (mandolin)
    • Dominick Leslie (mandolin)
    • Cory Piatt (mandolin)
    • Cory Walker (banjo)
    • Janice Martin (banjo)
    • Andrew Rigney (guitar)
    • Zeb Snyder (guitar)
    • Jake Stargel (guitar)
  • Performance Award nominees, Vocalist (final committee to select 1)
    • Savannah Church (The Church Sisters)
    • Jesse Gregory (Jesse Gregory & Faultline)
    • Sarah Harris (Trinity River Band)
    • Mo Pitney
    • Molly Tuttle (Molly Tuttle Trio)
  • Performance Award nominees, Band (final Committee to select 1)
    • Barefoot Movement
    • The Lil’ Smokies
    • Meyerband
    • The Snyder Family
    • Vickie Vaughn Band
  • Industry Involvement Award nominees, Media/Artisan/Business/General
    • Jamie Deering – Deering Banjos
    • Cory Hemilright – Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival
    • Megan McNair – Sugar Hill Records
    • Ashlee Jean Trott – Music City Roots/Bluegrass Underground
    • Aaron Youngberg – Swing Fingers Studio
  • Nominees for Festival/Event/Venue
    • Bluegrass Situation showcases at Bonaroo & Americana Music Association
    • Colonial Theater, Balsam Range monthly concert series – Canton, NC
    • ISIS Music Hall – Asheville, NC
    • Redwing Roots – Mount Solon, VA
    • The Festy – Roseland, VA
  • Mentor Award (given to a bluegrass professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the
  • bluegrass industry):
    • Jim Lauderdale
    • Stephen Mougin
    • Ricky Skaggs
    • Tim Surrett
    • Pete Wernick

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community.

Tags: IBMA AwardsMomentum AwardIBMAInternational Bluegrass Music AssociationWorld of Bluegrass

Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle Reaching for New Heights

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:45

Nashville, TN -- 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.

Now Steve has begun a new chapter in his music career heading up his own band Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle. "After a lifetime of living and breathing bluegrass music, I feel like it's finally time to spread my wings a little bit and put my name and stamp on something that totally reflects my personality and musical passion. I've been so blessed to have gotten to travel and perform with some of the finest musicians and people in the world and have helped to create some music of which I'm so proud to have been a part. Hopefully, after so many years of traveling the world performing, folks know what I do and will want to hear the music I'll make with the new band. Along with my good friends at Rural Rhythm Records and The Andrea Roberts Agency, I look forward to what the future holds and couldn't be more excited to start this new phase of my life and career", says Steve Gulley.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes:

  • Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals)
  • Bryan Turner (bass, vocals)
  • Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin)
  • Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals)

Steve Gulley certainly does not need any introduction to the Bluegrass community with accomplishments that includes 16 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 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.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle has joined the successful artist roster of the Andrea Roberts Agency (ARA) and Andrea will be lining up performance dates for the 2015 calendar at the upcoming 2014 IBMA Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina later this month. "The Andrea Roberts Agency is thrilled to add Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle to our roster of talent! Steve is one of the premiere male vocalists in our industry, as well as being one of the most beloved and respected, and it's an honor to be working with him as he moves into the next phase of his career", commented Andrea Roberts.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle are currently gathering songs for their Rural Rhythm Records debut album coming out in the first quarter of 2015. Rural Rhythm Records has been the home for Steve Gulley’s recordings since 2010. Plans call for a single from Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle to be released in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Steve Gulley has been a very important part of Rural Rhythm Records dating back to 2010 with the release of his album, ‘Dogwood Winter’ (with Tim Stafford) and the next year with ‘Kickin’ Up Dust’ with Grasstowne. Since 2010 Steve has been a major factor in the creation of 10 albums released on Rural Rhythm where Steve has been a featured artist, songwriter, guest musician, or album producer. We are all trilled about this new chapter in Steve’s career with the formation of Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle. The time is right for Steve to head up his own band and it will be a treat for us all to hear the amazing music that will come from this new band for future generations to enjoy” – Sam Passamano, II, President – Rural Rhythm Records.

Father and Son, Don Gulley and Steve Gulley recently had a chance to record several songs together on Steve’s new gospel album Family, Friends & Fellowship which was released in July of this year on Rural Rhythm Christian. The album has been received very strongly by both bluegrass and gospel radio. “God has blessed me to realize more than I have ever dreamed. Playing on a Steve Gulley album was beyond my wildest dreams. What an honor! What a CD!” said Les Butler host of Front Porch Fellowship on Sold Gospel Radio. Also, from Lee Michael Demsey – WAMU / BluegrassCountry & Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, “Some Bluegrass singers shine their "soul" by wailing, and effectively so, but Steve Gulley is the epitome of smooth soul. His warm approach to singing is spotlighted on this gospel from the heart, sung from deep down in the soul...Steve Gulley at his best.”

Tags: Steve GulleySteve Gulley and New PinnacleBand Announcement

Kindred Records signs deal with Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:42

Irvine, KY -- Kindred Records has signed a record deal with Virginia-based Bluegrass group Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder. Adam is the son of Mike McPeak of the legendary McPeak Brothers, and Adam's love for bluegrass music has instilled in him the passion to carry on the McPeak tradition.

The band has recently completed a new CD project The Last Dirt Road recorded at Eastwood Studios in Cana, VA. and includes band members Adam McPeak on mandolin, Mike McPeak on guitar, Nikki Wright on fiddle, Dave Chrisley on bass, and Steve Chrisley on banjo.

The project includes 10 songs, with 5 written by Larry McPeak. Classic sounds of bluegrass and bluegrass gospel that hearkens back to the old school harmonies of Virginia. Adam has put together a serious act with his Dad and Nikki up front on vocals, and his mandolin instrumentation glues the tracks together, along with driving banjo, tremondous fiddle and solid bass work.

Kindred is pleased to add Adam McPeak to its catalog of artists, and is excited about the opportunity to help bring back the McPeak sound.

Watch for sound track samples to be available soon on their Kindred artist web site. For more information visit the band's website at

Tags: Adam McPeak & Mountain ThunderAdam McPeakKindred RecordsBand AnnouncementBusiness

Lonesome River Band Releases New Album

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 00:45

Nashville, TN -- For more than three decades, Lonesome River Band has set a standard that other Bluegrass groups have aspired towards. They have returned to live up to that standard with their first original studio release in four years, Turn on a Dime, from Mountain Home Music Company.

Turn on a Dime showcases Lonesome River Band at the top of their creative game. When masterful players and vocalists combine with top notch material and thoughtful arrangement, the result is a dynamic release.

Led by five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year Sammy Shelor, the group holds a powerhouse line up of award-winning players including vocalist and songwriter Brandon Rickman on guitar, Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass and Randy Jones on mandolin and vocals.

From the title track, “Her Love Won’t Turn on a Dime,” which offers a clever twist on a familiar phrase, to the jazz-influenced gospel track “Don’t Shed No Tears,” Turn on a Dime brings both excitement and nostalgia. Pulsing with drive and sentiment, the recording moves from the pocketed groove for which LRB is renowned to barn burning versions of ultra-traditional tunes like “Cumberland Gap.”

With Turn on a Dime, Lonesome River Band delivers the kind of album that made them an iconic band who pioneered and still shapes the modern bluegrass sound.

Lonesome River Band is one of the most respected acts in Bluegrass Music. Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer and multi-award winning banjo picker, Sammy Shelor, has assembled a wealth of talent that includes Brandon Rickman, Mike Hartgrove, Barry Reed, and Randy Jones; all performing the distinctive LRB sound that fans adore.

Lonesome River Band’s enduring career includes 17 albums, three of which were released in 2012 in celebration of the group’s 30th anniversary. The band has a multitude of awards and recognitions including numerous IBMA Awards for Album of the Year, Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year, and Sammy Shelor for his five Banjo Player of the Year Awards.

The band has been seen on high-profile national TV shows like The Late Show with David Letterman. Sammy Shelor was honored with the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Award as they sat down to chat with Letterman. LRB also performed with special guest Steve Martin. Recently, Sammy Shelor returned to the show, performing with country superstar Alan Jackson.

For over 30 years, Lonesome River Band has set the standard in the bluegrass music world as they tour extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Whether hitting the famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry or headlining major concert events and festivals, their loyal fans continue to praise them as one of the most loved and influential acts of our time .

Tags: Lonesome River BandCD ReleaseTurn on a DimeMountain Home Music

Steep Canyon Rangers Raise Over $75,000 for Charity

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 00:43

Nashville, TN -- This past weekend, the Steep Canyon Rangers presided over their 9th annual Mountain Song Festival at Brevard Music Center in their hometown of Brevard, North Carolina. The festival, which the group founded with local music promoter John Felty in 2006, is an annual fundraiser that benefits the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, N.C.

This year’s sold out event, which took place over September 12th and 13th, boasted a lineup that included some of the finest musicians on the contemporary bluegrass and acoustic music scene, including Della Mae and The Kruger Brothers on Friday night with The Boys & Girls Club JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) Program opening the event. Chatham County Line, Shannon Whitworth with Barrett Smith, Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan, Seldom Scene and the Steep Canyon Rangers played on Saturday. The legendary King of Telluride and Father of New Grass, Sam Bush, even made a special appearance Saturday evening to close out the show with the Steep Canyon Rangers during their headlining set, with Pikelny and Duncan joining in for the star-studded finale.

This year’s Mountain Song raised approximately $70,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County. Since its inception, the annual event has raised over $420,000 for the organization, which provides educational and recreational programs for youth between the ages of five and eighteen. The Steep Canyon Rangers also strive to keep Mountain Song Festival a "green event," with very few bags of waste generated throughout the entire weekend and everything else being recycled or composted.

Mountain Song offers non-profits the opportunity to set up booths to raise awareness for their causes during the festival as well. Participating non-profits this year were: Free Rein, Friends of DuPont State Forest, Transylvania Youth Strings Orchestra, Muddy Sneakers and IBMA (SCR bassist Charles R. Humphreys III serves as chair of the Membership Committee).

Volunteers from the Brevard College recycling club, students from the Outdoor Academy and neighbors from the surrounding communities showed up to help make this two day event a huge success. Brevard College's own theater department even provided the design and lighting for the stage set. The Steep Canyon Rangers expressed the following message of gratitude: "Mountain Song Festival is a joy to produce and host. We love the support we receive from the local community and beyond! The Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County is a wonderful, impactful organization that will have a long term positive influence on our local youth - we are proud to be involved."

Mountain Song Festival is not the only event the Steep Canyon Rangers are involved in to benefit their home state of North Carolina. They recently partnered with Bonesteel Films to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Graveyard Fields trail. Earlier this year they filmed the instrumental "Graveyard Fields" written by the band’s mandolin player, Mike Guggino, off their latest album, Tell The Ones I Love. They gathered there in a collaborative effort with Bonesteel Films to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, whose mission is to safeguard the future of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Graveyard Fields is not only a place that inspired the band’s songwriting, but is also a place that continues to inspire their lives.

While this collaboration primarily focuses on improvements at Graveyard Fields, it is hoped it will also inspire others to engage with the Foundation’s widespread efforts to protect the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Foundation released the video in a final push to accelerate fundraising for completion of the Graveyard Fields project completed just before July 4 this year. Funds raised helped with construction of a much needed restroom, significant trail improvements, and expansion of the parking lot. They will also perform at the Blue Ridge Music Center on October 11 to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Watch “Graveyard Fields” on Vimeo and visit BRP Foundation online to learn how you can help.

"Graveyard Fields" is nominated for a 2014 IBMA Award for Instrumental of the Year. The Steep Canyon Rangers are slated to perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, N.C. on October 3. They are also set to perform at the Americana Music Association Festival in Nashville this week. For a full schedule of tour dates, visit

Tags: Steep Canyon RangersCharityEvent

Rebel Announces New Project from Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 00:41

Charlottesville, VA -- Rebel Records is pleased to present the new single "Surrounded" by Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein from their upcoming album If I Had A Boat (REB-1853), set for release on September 30. The song comes from the pen of noted singer-songwriter and producer Jonathan Edwards, a long-time friend of the duo since their days crossing paths on the Washington DC-area folk scene. It features Moondi on lead vocals and guitar with Jimmy playing mandola and singing harmony. They are joined by Moondi's daughter, Lauren, who supplies lovely high harmonies.

Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein have nearly a century of professional muscianship between them. As a duo, they call on their considerable experience that includes extensive earlier work with such powerhouse bands as the Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, and The Tony Rice Unit to create a distinctive blend that takes full advantage of Moondi’s wonderful singing and Jimmy’s skills on several stringed instruments: mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin and guitar. They joined forces in the early 90s to form the progressive group Chesapeake. After that band dissolved, they kept in touch and once again began to play together as a duo, releasing their superb debut Rebel release, 2:10 Train in 2008. A critically acclaimed follow-up album Home From The Mills came out in 2012.

This latest release, If I Had A Boat, may be Jimmy and Moondi's strongest album to date. Once again, they impress with their ability to bring together a wide variety of songs into one cohesive project. Starting with opening number "I'm Always on Mountain When I Fall" (a hit for Merle Haggard in the late 70s), it includes lovely versions of the traditional "Bury Me Beneath the Willow" and "Where The Soul of Man Never Dies," as well as songs from writers like Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and Lyle Lovett, who penned the title track. In addition, Jimmy contributes two dazzling original instrumental pieces to the project: "Waltz for Anais," written in honor of his first grandchild, as well as the stunning "Grassnost" featuring Moondi on piano and Jens Kruger on banjo. With their distinctive sound and innovative approach to performing previously recorded songs, listeners are in for a treat.

Tags: Jimmy GaudreauMoondi KleinCD ReleaseIf I Had a BoatsingleSurroundedRebel Records

Becky Buller Releases New Album to Radio

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 00:39

Joelton, TN -- Dark Shadow Recording is proud to announce the worldwide radio release of Becky Buller’s long-awaited solo album ‘Tween Earth and Sky. Buller’s first solo record with Dark Shadow Recording marks a new chapter in her bluegrass book: Stepping to center stage and taking the lead.

October 21st has been set as the album’s official release date. Physical and digital copies will then be available on Dark Shadow Recording’s website, iTunes and other online sources, as well as wherever you catch Becky on the road. Digital preorders of the album are available by purchasing an autographed iDitty card from Becky via her website or by digital download at

The single “Nothin’ To You” is currently at #14 on the Bluegrass Unlimited magazine National Bluegrass Survey radio airplay chart.

While each piece of this album is special and unique to Buller, one may stand out a little more than the rest: The heady re-creation of Bill Monroe’s 1988 classic “Southern Flavor.” Marvelously, the song features six former Blue Grass Boys: Buddy Spicher and Michael Feagan on fiddle, Peter Rowan on guitar and vocals, Blake Williams on banjo, Roland White on mandolin, and Ernie Sykes bass. With 11 original songs, and featured guests such as Tim O'Brien, Dale Ann Bradley, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Ron Block (and many more), ‘Tween Earth and Sky proves Buller’s depth, charm, creativity, and wisdom.

Chris Stuart notes, "I’ll let others praise Becky's crystalline voice and flaming sword of a fiddle. What pulled down all my defenses and made me cry, whoop, and dance is her songwriting. Each song is a gem, polished to just the right reflection of worlds past and within. If she doesn’t win Songwriter of the Year, I’m burning my poetic license.”

‘Tween Earth and Sky explores complexities between honoring tradition and supplementing creative liberties. Her first solo album in ten years, Buller presents a declaration of independence, a statement of faith, with no lack of rigor nor entertainment.

“She moves forward (at long last) into a stage of her career where she’s calling her own shots. Becky Buller has every reason to be excited about this album.” says Jon Weisberger.

Becky Buller will showcase during World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 30 through October 4. She is also booking dates for 2015.

Tags: Becky Buller‘Tween Earth And SkyCD Release