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Circa Blue to Donate Concert Proceeds to Local Flood Victims

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 22:36

Milton, West Virginia -- West Virginia national touring band, Circa Blue will perform at the Mountaineer Opry House in Milton this Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $5 for 12 and under at the door - no presales. The band and their booking agent, Liz DiSessa from Heart Roots Music, are donating 100% of the band proceeds, including merchandise sales, to a to-be-determined worthwhile flood victim charity fund. For more information on the concert, please visit www.MountaineerOpry.com or call 304-743-5749.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragic loss of life and devastation, caused by the flooding. Our home base is Martinsburg, and we're privileged to play at venues across the great State of West Virginia. We want to help give back and support those communities that have given to us. Our blood runs blue and gold," said band member Steve Harris of Circa Blue.

Circa Blue includes the talents of Steve Harris (Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Malia Furtado (Fiddle, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Ashley Stewart (Bass, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Ryan Mullins (Mandolin, Lead & Harmony Vocals); and Matt Hickman (Banjo).

Orange Blossom Records recently released the new Circa Blue album, Once Upon A Time that was an instant chart hit on AirPlay Direct. The album jumped to #2 on the service’s Top 50 APD Bluegrass Folk Albums monthly chart the same day it was made available to radio stations worldwide. Once Upon A Time includes songs written by band members Steve Harris and Malia Furtado along with songs and co-writes hit songwriters such as Brink Brinkman, Dawn Kenney, David Morris, Rick Lang, and the amazing Gordon Lightfoot.

Please visit circa-blue.com and like them on Facebook. For more information on Orange Blossom Records, please visit www.OrangeBlossomRecords.com.

Tags: Circa BlueCharityMountaineer Opry HouseFloodDonation

Tony Trischka Pays Tribute to Bob Dylan

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 22:32

Early Roman Kings: The Music of Bob Dylan features music from over half a century of insanely creative music – from the very beginning to the present, with a whole lot in between. As Jimmy Carter said at the 2015 Music Cares Grammy event, where Dylan received the Person of the Year Award: “There’s no doubt his words on peace and human rights are much more incisive and much more powerful and much more permanent than those of any President of the United States”. That side of his mercurial career and many others will be mined for hidden gems as well as the mother lode hits. Early Roman Kings are: Tony Trischka/banjo, pedal steel; Stash Wyslouch/guitar, vocals; Sean Trischka/drums, vocals; Jared Engel/bass.

Tony Trischka is considered to be one of the most influential banjo players in the roots music world. A 2012 United States Artists Friends Fellow, Trischka has, for more than 45 years, inspired generations of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many innovative and historical voices he has brought to the instrument.

A native of Syracuse, NY, Trischka's interest in the five-string banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio's "Charlie and the MTA" in 1963, the very same year, as a young teen, he was introduced to Bob Dylan – literally and figuratively. Trischka’s banjo teacher brought him to a Dylan show in Syracuse, and he has remained a huge fan ever since.

A multiple Grammy nominee, Trischka has recorded 17 solo albums in addition to another 17 group albums, and has appeared on countless recordings by other artists. He has collaborated with banjoists Béla Fleck, Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, Pete Seeger, Alison Brown and Noam Pikelny, among others, and has worked with as diverse a group as Tony Rice, David Grisman, Mike Seeger, Charles Osgood, John Goodman, Larry Campbell, Michael Daves, John Denver, William S. Burroughs and the Korean Symphony.

The 2011 PBS documentary Give Me the Banjo was co-produced by Trischka, who was also the film’s Musical Director. In the same year, he produced Steve Martin’s Grammy nominated Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), which features performances by Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

As Band Leader and performer for The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park 2012 production of As You Like It, he placed the banjo in an even rarer context. (Mr. Trischka did not wear tights.) In 2014 he released two albums, Rounder Records’ Great Big World and his second collection of holiday tunes, Of a Winter’s Night, a self-released album recorded live at Levon Helm’s barn.

Tags: Tony TrischkaBob DylanTributeEvent

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle to Release “Aim High” July 8th

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 22:31

Nashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Records is pleased to announce the release of Aim High, the new album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle on July 8th. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle has been very busy since the launch of their self-titled debut album a little more than a year ago. The group received standing ovations for both their IBMA and SPBGMA Official Showcase performances and has charted 5 songs from their debut album with several songs still on the charts.

Aim High is their highly anticipated follow up album and contains the #1 single “Aim High” from Bluegrass Today’s Weekly Airplay Chart. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is no stranger to the #1 position on Bluegrass Today’s Weekly Airplay Chart with “Leaving Crazytown” from their debut album going #1 six times, “which is a very rare occurrence and an incredible achievement for a new group”, noted Terry Herd from Bluegrass Today over a year ago.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle have aimed high again and hit the mark at Bluegrass radio with the lead single “Aim High” written by Jon Weisberger and Mark Simos.

Aim High features three Gulley co-written songs including two with his award winning co-songwriter Tim Stafford; “Deceitful Kind”, “Love Brings You Home” and “Short Life Full Of Trouble” co-written with Larry Shell and Kim Williams. In addition, Carl Jackson co-wrote three songs for the new album, in addition to great songwriters such as Larry Cordle, Jim Rushing, Sonya Isaacs, Becky Buller, Keith Sewell and more.

"With the success of our debut project, the guys and I knew the expectations would be even higher for our sophomore recording. With that in mind, we went about the business of writing and finding the very best songs we could with an even stronger intensity. We hand - picked songs from within the band and from some of the greatest songwriters our music has to offer. That being said, I couldn't be happier with the new music we've created on Aim High. I am so proud of our debut album and see it as laying the foundation for our music and sound but, as is always the case, once you have a strong foundation; it's time to start building on that. I really feel like we've done that with the new recording, while staying true to our band's original sound. I'm so excited to share this, the next chapter, with everyone." - Steve Gulley

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals) and Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin), Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals) and special guest Tim Crouch (Fiddle). Aim High builds on the band’s family heritage of strong roots in Bluegrass and Mountain Gospel and at the same time provides a new and fresh sound that further accents the STEVE GULLEY & NEW PINNACLE signature sound.

Aim High Track Listing:

  1. “Aim High” (Jon Weisberger/Mark Simos)
  2. “Deceitful Kind” (Tim Stafford/Steve Gulley)
  3. “Love Brings You Home” (Tim Stafford/Steve Gulley)
  4. “A Man Of Your Word” (Carl Jackson)
  5. “Go Ahead And Tell Me What To Do” (Jon Weisberger/Justin Carbone)
  6. “Not Now” (Carl Jackson/Sonya Isaacs)
  7. “Mountain Swing” (James "Red" Hamilton)
  8. “Living” (John Tipton)
  9. “Good Road” (Jon Weisberger/Becky Buller/Mark Simos)
  10. “Closer To The Shore” (Carl Jackson/Jim Rushing)
  11. “Common Man's Train Of Thought” (Larry Cordle/Jim Rushing)
  12. “Short Life Full Of Trouble” (Steve Gulley/Larry Shell/Kim Williams)

D.J.’s can now download Aim High on AirPlay Direct and CD promos now arriving at Bluegrass radio stations.

In addition, the album is available now for pre-orders on iTunes, Amazon and all other digital and online sources.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle fans can hear the entire album and listen to Steve Gulley and Kyle Cantrell talk about each song on Bluegrass Junction which broadcasts on SiriusXM. Below are the air dates for the Aim High Track-By-Track broadcast schedule:

  • THURSDAY (June 30) -- 9:00 PM (EST)
  • SATURDAY (July 2nd) -- 8:00 AM (EST)
  • SUNDAY (July 3rd) -- 12:00 Noon (EST)

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is now touring the US in support of their debut album. Go to the band’s web site at www.stevegulley.com for a complete listing of tour dates.

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

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes; Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals). Steve Gulley certainly does not need any introduction to the Bluegrass community with accomplishments that include 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), Grasstowne ('06 - '11) and with longtime friend Dale Ann Bradley through 2014. Steve is a winner of 4 IBMA Awards including Co-writer of the 2008 Song Of The Year, "Through The Window Of A Train", by Blue Highway and SPBGMA Multi award winner including 2008 Album Of The Year, "The Road Headin' Home”, by Grasstowne.

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

Tags: Steve Gulley and New PinnacleCD ReleaseAim High

New Music from Kristin Scott Benson

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 22:28

Nashville, TN -- Stringworks is the newest release from Kristin Scott Benson, four-time winner of the IBMA Instrumental Performer of the Year Award for Banjo. As a member of the three-time Grammy-nominated group, the Grascals, Benson has proven herself a polished artisan of complex compositions. Stringworks (Mountain Home Music Company) becomes available July 22, 2016.

The new solo project is a mosaic of original instrumentals that may be called progressive, and the classic driving Bluegrass style for which she has become known as a member of the multi-award winning Grascals.

“I've always thought of a solo project as a musical snapshot,” Kristin says. “It shows how you've grown and reflects your musical interests at the time. My last banjo record was called Second Season and was released in 2009, so it is certainly time for a new snapshot.”

The musical textures and song arrangements on Stringworks display new angles to the banjo instrument. Benson is joined by a who’s who of award-winning players; Cody Kilby (guitar), Tim Surrett (bass), Jim VanCleve and Adam Haynes (fiddle), and husband, Wayne Benson (mandolin). Each of these top flight musicians brings polish and flavor to the project.

“I think every player enjoys the chance to feature instrumentals, particularly originals,” Kristin says. “Band albums may have one, but a solo record gives you the chance to do as many as you want.”

Benson wrote four of the instrumentals on Stringworks, included a never-before-recorded original from banjo great, Bill Emerson, and as she did on her earlier solo efforts, chose one standard.

“I think the six instrumentals are a nice cross-section of what I like,” she says. “Some of the tunes have different feels, melodies and arrangements, while some are straight-ahead bluegrass.”

Each song is a unique piece of art; six instrumentals and six vocal tunes. The pastoral “When Fall Comes to New England” features one of the foremost female vocalists in Bluegrass, Claire Lynch. A powerful original Gospel tune, “You Gotta Climb Over the Cross,” is sung by Shawn Lane of Blue Highway. The lead off track, “Great Waterton,” is an exciting showcase for Benson and her accompanying musicians, brimming with prowess for heady music. In juxtaposition is the traditional, yet equally impressive style, of the classic “Foggy Mountain Top.”

An all-star cast of additional guest vocalists includes Chris Jones, Mickey Harris and Grant Williams. Kristin's Grascals bandmates, Terry Eldredge and John Bryan, lend their talents as well.

“I made the decision to record six vocal songs because, as a banjo player, what really drives me is melody and the nature of a song...the message it conveys,” Kristin explains. “Pairing material that is special to me with ideal vocalists is a privilege, and I love being a part of that process.”

Kristin Scott Benson is a master of her craft, an artist who paints a new picture for banjo-focused music. When she met with Mickey Gamble and Tim Surrett of Mountain Home Music about the project, a key point was Kristin’s desire for the CD to have a musical identity separate from the sound of the Grascals. Kristin wanted to share something different and show something of her own musical identity.

“One of the things I admired about the Grascals before I joined the band (in 2008) was that they had an identity. There was a definite style that reflected the tastes of the band members and I've enjoyed becoming a part of that style and sound,” Kristin says. “Every band I've ever been in has sounded quite different, so I've adapted and tried to be an asset, while preserving what's already there. The culmination of different influences is what defines a band; that's special and there's no replacing it. With a solo project, however, you handpick material and personnel that reflect your own ideas. The individuality that is revealed is the most important reason for a solo project.”

Indeed, Stringworks offers a powerful sense of where Kristin Scott Benson is musically. There is a taste of instrumental depth and diversity that fans may not have heard from her before.

“I hope that people enjoy the album as a whole, get a sense for the vocal material that I'm drawn to, and the kinds of tunes I like to write,” Kristin says. “I hope they're excited by some of the songs and moved by others. In short, I just hope they learn something new about me and like what they hear.”

A four-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year award, (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Kristin Scott Benson grew up in South Carolina, surrounded by a musical family. At age 13, Kristin received a banjo for Christmas and became enthralled with the instrument, spending her teen years studying the great players from Earl Scruggs to Bela Fleck. After high school, she attended Nashville’s esteemed Belmont University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude as a Marketing major with a minor in Music Business. After more than a decade in Nashville, Kristin relocated back to the Carolinas with her husband, Wayne Benson, and young son. Her prior solo releases are Straight Paths and Second Season.

Tags: Kristin Scott BensonCD ReleaseStringworksBanjo

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers Present Donation to World Vision

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 22:00

Xenia, Ohio -- Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers are very proud to announce a donation to World Vision has been made as a result of their recent "Share the Link, Share the Love" fundraising campaign featuring a video performance of the original version of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" with The Isaacs. The fundraising campaign which launched on Easter of this year and ran through Father's Day, raised money simply by tallying views of the "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" performance video featuring The Isaacs.

For each view, Mullins donated 10¢ to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. The result is a $1000 donation already in action helping kids and families around the world. Thanks to EVERYONE who viewed the video and shared the link!

The recorded version of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" featuring The Isaacs can be found on the new album by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Sacred Memories, which was released April 15th on Rebel Records. Sacred Memories features 12 tracks of new and original music plus several traditional tunes. In addition to the The Isaacs, special guests include Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White Skaggs, and Rhonda Vincent.

Mullins had the idea of capturing the studio recording on video in hopes of creating a unique way for fans to "Share the Love" of the music created, while simultaneously supporting the very worthy cause of helping children in impoverished countries around the globe through World Vision. "The Isaacs have supported World Vision for several years and I am thankful for an opportunity to be part of their effort in assisting children worldwide," states Mullins.

The official donation announcement was made on Father's Day during a live concert with Centerville, Ohio's Alternative Strings, a group of orchestra students who perform Bluegrass, Celtic, Bebop, Swing, Celtic, Funk & Rock music on orchestral instruments under the direction of Doug Eyink. Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers performed a concert in front of several hundred fans at Stubbs Park Amphitheater and then were joined by the youth orchestra for a performance of five songs, including the band's latest hit single, "All Dressed Up." The performance with Alternative Strings was presented LIVE via the band's Facebook page and to date, has received nearly 10,000 views. Click image below to view video.

Tags: Joe Mullins & The Radio RamblersDonationEventFundraiser

Bluegrass Stars Support Musicians Against Childhood Cancer July 20

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 22:00
Blue Highway at 32nd Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Festival which will take place July 20 through July 23 outside Columbus, Ohio.! Marty Raybon, Daryle Singletary, and more appearing! Proceeds from this festival will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Since the year 2000, MACC and you have donated over $875,847.00 to St. Jude and the Y.M.C.A., helping children around the world. This year will be the 16th Year for Musicians Against Childhood Cancer.

Besides those artists already mentioned, this year will again host some of the best in bluegrass with artists including Feller & Hill, Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, David Pramley & Cardinal Tradition, The SteelDrivers, Boxcars, Seldom Scene, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Dave Adkins Band, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne, Flatt Lonesome, Band of Ruhks, Terry Baucom & Duykes of Drive, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, many others.

Blue Highway has earned 25 collective IBMA Awards, 6 SPBGMA Awards, one Dove Award, and two Grammy nominations as a band, plus two Grammy Awards among its current members. Blue Highway was voted the Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time by the readers of Bluegrass Today in April 2016. Tim Stafford received honors as 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year and 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year. Shawn Lane was nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year, while Gaven Largent was recently nominated as 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Player of the Year. Blue Highway charted the Most Radio Airplay of any Bluegrass Artist in 2014, per the 2014 Bluegrass Radio Airplay Chart, storming national airplay charts with their heralded album The Game.

As many of our readers know, the producers Darrel & Phyllis Adkins have been promoting high quality concerts and festivals since 1980. These concerts formerly held at Frontier Ranch, and more recently Hoover Y-Park in Columbus, Ohio have drawn thousands of fans from all over the world. We plan to continue the tradition of quality family entertainment but with one major change, the proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

If you cannot attend and wish to make a donation, please make checks payable to:

Musicians Against Childhood Cancer®
1434 S. 3B's & K Rd.
Galena, OH 43021

Since the year 2000, MACC and you have donated nearly one million dollars to St. Jude and the Y.M.C.A., helping children around the world. This year will be the 17th Year for the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer benefit festival. For more information, please visit www.MusiciansAgainstChildhoodCancer.com

Tags: Musicians Against Childhood CancerMACCBlue HighwayMarty RaybonDaryle SingletaryThe SteelDriversBoxcarsSeldom SceneLarry Cordle & Lonesome Standard TimeDoyle Lawson & QuicksilverFundraiserEventBenefitCancer

Uncle Earl Confirms Reunion Tour

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 22:00
Uncle Earl, those fearless ambassadors of string-band music, will reunite in 2016 for a rare US tour. Each member of the classic lineup - Abigail Washburn (banjo, vocals), KC Groves (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals), Kristin Andreassen (guitar, fiddle, ukulele, harmonica, vocals, clogging) and Rayna Gellert (fiddle, guitar, vocals) - has emerged as adventurous, compelling voices in the ongoing old-time renaissance.

In the early 2000’s, tireless national touring and a pair of self-released EPs made Uncle Earl a word-of-mouth favorite at festivals and listening rooms. Their debut She Waits for Night (Rounder, 2005) was produced by old-time maverick Dirk Powell and caught the attention of Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who produced their follow-up, Waterloo, Tennessee (Rounder), and sat in during a square dance or two.

Rolling Stone described the music as “their most ambitious [album] yet, mixing traditional fiddle-powered jams and rich four-part harmonies with countrified covers of classics and old-time hoedowns.”

Uncle Earl Reunion Tour (* = with Anna & Elizabeth):

  • Aug 29 Nashville, TN City Winery *
  • Aug 31 Asheville, NC The Grey Eagle *
  • Sept 1 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere *
  • Sept 2 Woodstown, NJ Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival
  • Sept 3 Charlestown, RI Rhythm & Roots Festival
  • Sept 4 Cleveland, OH Music Box Supper Club

Doyle Lawson Comments on Forthcoming Album

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 22:19

Nashville, TN -- Doyle Lawson recently shared some thoughts on his forthcoming release, Burden Bearer. Available from Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on July 8, 2016, the unique collection boasts 20 tracks: 10 with instruments, and 10 a cappella. "I listen to my fans," Lawson says. "We always include Gospel numbers, but I often hear that fans want to hear more a cappella music."

The Bluegrass Hall of Famer grew up listening to a cappella music, which is powerful vocal harmony unaccompanied by musical instruments. Lawson's own father was a member of an a cappella quintet, and Lawson has had a lifelong love of this musical artform.

Well known for high standards in every aspect of his musical career, Lawson's Burden Bearer is the latest example of the exquisite precision in vocals, harmony and musicianship of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. The album is reminiscent of a traditional “call to a camp meeting,” celebrating the musical legacy of faith, hope, struggle and victory of the spirit.

His recorded and live performances move seamlessly from straight-up Bluegrass to Traditional Country, but Doyle Lawson is undeniably the master of Bluegrass Gospel. Burden Bearer includes traditional convention songs "The Touch of His Gentle Hand" and "Get Right With God," and remarkable Bluegrass driven songs like "God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign." Newer compositions include the title cut and “Best Friend," which Lawson says is one of his favorites on the album.

"It's a wonderful story," Lawson says of the song. "We had to put some thought and work into it in order for it to flow as a slow song. It required some restructuring and it's a little different from the songwriter's version, but it all came together beautifully."

Lawson's exceptionally talented band, Quicksilver, is comprised of Dustin Pyrtle, Eli Johnston, Josh Swift, Joe Dean, Stephen Burwell and Lawson himself.

"This band has been with me a long time," Lawson says. "They are all naturally talented, but they marvel at how much more they understand about harmony structure since they joined. They learned a great deal on this project as well."

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have nearly forty albums to their credit, are seven-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year winners, with enough Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA, and SPBGMA nominations and awards to fill a chalkboard. Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

"This album is a mix of newer songs and some I've done all my life," says Lawson, who grew up listening to a cappella music, often performed by his own father's quintet. "We worked hard on this project, tried different arrangements and worked out a lot in the studio. I'm very happy with it."

Tags: Doyle Lawson & QuicksilverCD ReleaseBurden Bearer

IBMA Announces More Performers for Wide Open Bluegrass

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 22:17

Nashville, TN -- Eleven-time IBMA award winner Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder have been added to the Friday night lineup of the PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, Friday, September 30. Additionally, Alice Gerrard will join previously announced Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands as a special guest Friday night and Symphony of the Mountains joins previously announced Kruger Brothers on Saturday, October 1. All performances take place at the Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, North Carolina. The festival is part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events, which begin at the Raleigh Convention Center Tuesday, September 27.

Wide Open Bluegrass is an urban bluegrass event that includes both ticketed main stage performances at Red Hat Amphitheater and free stages. A portion of proceeds from Red Hat Amphitheater ticket sales go to the IBMA-operated Bluegrass Trust Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals in the bluegrass music community in times of emergency need.

In addition to his IBMA honors, over the course of his 40-plus-year career Ricky Skaggs has won 14 GRAMMYS, eight CMA awards, nine ACM awards, two Dove awards and has received three honorary doctorate degrees. Skaggs has had 12 No. 1 singles on the Billboard country charts and 12 Top 20 country albums. In 2013, the Grand Ole Opry member released his first-ever autobiography, “Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.” It details his life and times and provides a descriptive history of bluegrass and country music, as told by the master himself.

Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status with a career spanning 50 years. In bluegrass circles, she is best known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The duo influenced scores of young female singers, including The Judds, who have acknowledged Hazel and Alice as early inspirations. A tireless advocate of traditional music, Gerrard received a GRAMMY nomination for her most recent release, Follow the Music. She will join Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands on Saturday evening to share music from their album The Hazel and Alice Sessions, which was released earlier this year.

Fourteen members of the professional Tennessee-based orchestra Symphony of the Mountains will perform “Spirit of the Rockies,” a classical piece composed by Kruger Brothers’ Jens Kruger that is a spiraling tale of ghosts, relationships and guides both seen and unseen. Upon being commissioned to write the work for the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, Jens explored the Canadian Rockies and found a spiritual connection to the music he grew up listening to in his native Switzerland. The piece was written for a small orchestral ensemble similar in size to one that might have played at the Banff Springs hotel around the turn of the century.

The Wide Open Bluegrass Red Hat Amphitheater line-up:

  • Friday, September 30
    • Dailey & Vincent. Multiple IBMA Award winners and Grammy nominees Dailey & Vincent perform their entertaining mix of bluegrass, country and gospel music.
    • Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester. Dobro master Jerry Douglas and his bluegrass supergroup the Earls of Leicester return as the 2015 IBMA Entertainers of the Year, ready to share material from their upcoming release on Rounder Records, Rattle and Roll.
    • Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands. Two-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Lewis is one of the leading singers and songwriters in bluegrass music today. She will be joined by special guest – GRAMMY-nominated Alice Gerrard, a traditionalist who’s enjoyed an illustrious career spanning 50 years.
    • Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. Five-time Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Marty Stuart explores the crossroads of bluegrass and traditional country.
    • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. As part of their 50th anniversary tour, the iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country, rock and American roots music, will draw from their legendary catalog of hit songs. Their groundbreaking 1972 Will The Circle Be Unbroken album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress and the Grammy Hall of Fame. Special guests to be announced later.
    • Peter Rowan Band. Rowan’s storied career in bluegrass music spans more than five decades, from his early years with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys to his time in Old in the Way with Jerry Garcia to fronting his own bluegrass band.
    • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. The Grand Ole Opry member and recipient of nearly every musical honor is also a published author.
    • Soggy Bottom Boys. For fans of the blockbuster film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and its Grammy-winning soundtrack hit “Man of Constant Sorrow,” the Soggy Bottom Boys unite for a rare live performance. The band features Dan Tyminski (singing voice for actor George Clooney), Barry Bales and Ron Block of Alison Krauss & Union Station; and Pat Enright, Mike Compton, and Stuart Duncan of the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
  • Saturday, October 1
    • Becky Buller Band. Current IBMA Songwriter of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year, Becky Buller is quickly rising among the ranks of bluegrass music’s premier singers and songwriters.
    • Greensky Bluegrass. Highlighting the genre’s progressive side, Greensky Bluegrass explores the creative space between tradition and innovation, formula and improvisation, and bluegrass and rock sensibilities.
    • John Cowan with Darin & Brooke Aldridge. Newgrass music pioneer and Doobie Brother John Cowan teams up with North Carolina’s own bluegrass duo Darin & Brooke Aldridge for a special set, with other guests to be announced.
    • Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers. Larry Sparks is IBMA’s newest inductee into its Bluegrass Hall of Fame, with 50+ years in the industry.
    • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Celebrating 25 years with a chart topping album It’s About Tyme. Moore is the IBMA’s most awarded Male Vocalist of the Year (5-time career).
    • Steep Canyon Rangers. Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers are enjoying the success of their ninth studio album, RADIO, a project that further illustrates the band’s dynamic songwriting, instrumental virtuosity and high-energy performance. Recorded at Asheville, NC’s Echo Mountain Recording Studio, RADIO was produced by Jerry Douglas.
    • The Del McCoury Band. A true American icon and most awarded band in the history of bluegrass.
    • The Kruger Brothers. Fan favorites and acoustic music innovators The Kruger Brothers are cooking up a very special program for the festival including a performance of the classical piece, “Spirit of the Rockies” with members of the Symphony of the Mountains.

Single-day general admission tickets for performances at Red Hat Amphitheater during Wide Open Bluegrass start as low as $60 for the general public and $50 for IBMA members. Additional details and pricing information - including member discounts – for Red Hat Amphitheater performances, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Awards Show tickets and hotel reservations are available at IBMA’s website, ibma.org. Tickets for all events are on sale now and may be purchased at www.ibma.org or by calling 1-800-514-3849.

IBMA 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 and Visitors Bureau, the Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone (The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music), the City of Raleigh, and a local organizing committee. For more information: www.ibma.org.

Tags: IBMAWorld of BluegrassWide Open BluegrassEventRicky Skaggs

Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising Lets Her Roll with New Single

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 22:30

Based in Tualatin, Oregon, the award winning original roots music group Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising continues to stack up awards and accolades while performing their high-energy shows throughout the West. Awards include guitar player Dennis Nelson being named 2008 Roots Music Association Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year and banjo player Tom Tower winning the $10,000 prize in the 2010 City Love Music Contest. In October of 2015 the band brought home the honor of International Music & Entertainment Association 2015 Bluegrass Group of the Year.

With five CD’s in radio rotation, the band is known far and wide for their songwriting abilities and high energy entertainment style. In the words of Randy Shelton of Nevada’s “Silver State String Buster” magazine, "Kathy Boyd looks to be 100 lbs soaking wet but that little gal can knock a song right out of the park".

In 2014, "Spending Every Christmas With You" debuted as the #1 CD downloaded for holiday airplay for the second year and all ten songs immediately took up position on the Top 50 downloaded songs. The recording was nominated as the IMEA’s 2014 Holiday Album of the Year and the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas (in the State of Oregon)” brought home the IMEA Holiday Song of the Year Award. Radio stations around the world continue to clamor for this original music that somehow feels as though it's been a part of our holiday culture for decades - indicating that Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising's "Spending Every Christmas With You" is well on its way to being a holiday classic. In 2015 music from this recording was developed into a television special and DVD titled “Bluegrass Christmas”.

Radio stations continue to line up to interview this personable group whose songwriting – especially that of member Tim Crosby – has been compared to legends such as Waylon Jennings, Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen.

“After eleven years together we definitely have our own unique sound.” states KBPR band leader Kathy Boyd, “We’ve now reached a spot where we are so comfortable with who we are and what we do that it’s allowing us to stretch in new and more complex musical directions.”

“Audience response to all of our music continues to be enthusiastic, which in turn makes us better performers. It’s a huge circle of excitement and love that benefits everyone!”

The release of "Let Her Roll" marks the first single off the album 40 Years of Lonesome that the general public gets to hear that will give them a taste of what the 6th album by Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising will be all about. A fun song about remembering to have fun - no matter how much trouble life throws at you, the tune was written by American Songwriter Steve Spurgin and also appears on his Solo Flight CD - in a much different format and under the title "Let 'er Run".

"Let Her Roll" is available for radio station download at both AirPlay Direct and Radio Submit. Fans may access the tune at any of their favorite download sites or by requesting to hear it on their favorite bluegrass and/or Americana radio stations.

Be sure to check out the group's other albums to see where they've been and sign up to follow them as their journey continues onward. The phoenix continues to rise!

Tags: Kathy Boyd and Phoenix RisingLet Her RollSingle40 Years of LonesomeSteve Spurgin

Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band at Carter Fold July 2nd

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 22:45

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free. There will be a film crew from a TV pilot entitled “Where I’m From” that focuses on Appalachia and small town America at the Fold that night doing interviews and filming the show. In addition, Appalachian Trail will be special guests performing during part of the show.

Twelve-year old Carson Peters, or “Fiddlin’ Carson Peters,” as he is becoming known, is a true musical prodigy. He is quickly making a name for himself with his fiddle by winning competitions and entertaining audiences across the region. Carson’s family lives in Piney Flats, Tennessee. They noticed at a very early age that he could keep time with any tune being played by clapping his hands or tapping his feet. His special talent for music became apparent after he taught himself to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at the ripe old age of two on a ukulele that his grandmother bought him.

While on vacation in 2006, his parents bought him a 1/8 sized fiddle at an Amish flea market in Pennsylvania and set out in search of a teacher who would take a child as young as Carson at only 3 ½ years old. Their search led them to Morrell Music in Johnson City and Sarah Fletcher Collins. Carson was taught by Mrs. Collins for about three years. He’s currently a student of Mr. Keith Williams in Greenville, Tennessee.

In 2008, Carson and his parents began attending old-time and bluegrass music festivals where Carson could hear and jam with some very talented musicians as well as compete in youth fiddle competitions. His most noteworthy contest wins have taken place at the Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, where he received first place in the Youth Old-Time Fiddle, Bluegrass Fiddle, and Youth Folk Song categories. He also received the most promising young talent award multiple years at this festival. Carson was named Tennessee State Peewee Fiddle Champion for 2010 in Clarksville, Tennessee, and has also won first place in the Youth Old-Time and the Youth Bluegrass Fiddle category at the famous Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax, Virginia.

Carson says winning trophies and getting your name in the newspaper is “really cool,” but that is not the main reason he works so hard at this music. “It’s all about using the talent God gave me to make people smile,” he says. Carson truly loves to entertain. At ten years old, Carson is a seasoned performer, playing numerous venues throughout the region – Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots, Song of the Mountains, and a live broadcast on WDVX in Knoxville to list a few. Carson has also had the honor of playing on national TV as a guest on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in August of 2013.

Carson has been blessed to have a great band to help him entertain audiences at local venues around the region performing old-time, bluegrass and gospel music. The band consists of Tom and Bobbie Dier from Green County, Tennessee, and Carson’s father, Jamie Peters. Tom plays the bass or “big fiddle” as Carson calls it. In addition to playing a great bass for the band, Tom is also a writer and loves to farm. Bobbie is a musician of many talents and has been an avid bluegrass and old-time music fan for many years. Besides playing the mandolin for over thirty years; she also plays banjo, guitar and mountain dulcimer. The rhythm guitar in the band is played by Carson’s father Jamie. Carson is truly blessed to have these fine Christian musicians in his band. In addition to entertaining with his band, Carson plays music with his special friends, Howard and Vivian Hammonds and their gospel group Headed Home in churches all around the region. He also frequently entertains at area nursing homes as well as the VA hospital in Johnson City.

When he’s not “fiddlin’ around,” he is just an ordinary country boy who enjoys sports, hunting, riding his four-wheeler, and going to church. Be prepared to be amazed by Carson Peters. His talent and stage presence rival the most seasoned of performers. Dancers won’t be disappointed because he’s as fine a fiddler as any that ever graced the stage of the Carter Fold. There will also be beautiful vocals, instrumentals, and gospel music – something for everyone. For more information on the Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band, go to http://fiddlincarsonpeters.com/

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 http://www.carterfamilyfold.org or http://www.carterfamilyfold.com/. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Carson PetersFiddleCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Volume Five's New "Drifter" Album Released

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 22:09

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is pleased to announce Drifter, the new album from Volume Five, is available to radio and consumers today! The album release comes on the heels of news that Volume Five and their first single, "I Am A Drifter" are among the candidates for nomination for this year's International Bluegrass Music Awards in multiple categories.

Founded by Glen Harrell (fiddle & vocals), Volume Five also includes the talents of Harry Clark (mandolin & vocals), Chris Williamson (bass & vocals), Patton Wages (banjo & vocals), and Colby Laney (guitar & vocals). These five musicians together truly blend into a band with staying power. V5 has proven just that with their previous recordings on Mountain Fever Records.

In 2014 they garnered two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) nominations; Emerging Artist and Gospel Recorded Performance for their album The Day We Learn To Fly. In 2015 they received another nomination for IBMA's Emerging Artist of the Year and a GMA Dove Award nomination for Bluegrass Song of the Year for "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man" with special guest Rhonda Vincent, a song appearing on their Voices album.

Drifter is a culmination of everything that makes up a great bluegrass record. The musicianship of each of Volume Five's members is only eclipsed by the smooth, caramel-like lead vocals of Harrell who is one of modern bluegrass music's most underrated vocalists. His vocal tone touches on lonesome, guttural and alluring all at the appropriate times.

The band's first single, "I Am A Drifter," has already set the tone for the album, making appearances on this month's Bluegrass Today Top 20 Songs as well as the SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Tracks charts. With gems such as "Lonely Wind," "Ranching Man," "Tall Pines," "Scarecrow," and the consummate love song, "Because of You," Drifter, is full of future hits for Volume Five.

Track List:

  1. "I Am A Drifter"
  2. "Lonely Wind"
  3. "95 Years"
  4. "When I Go Away"
  5. "Ranching Man"
  6. "Because of You"
  7. "Lucky Seven"
  8. "Tall Pines"
  9. "Scarecrow"
  10. "Alaskan Gold"
  11. "Molly Dear"
  12. "With My Gun"

Drifter is available to radio programmers via AirplayDirect and to consumers via various digital outlets and wherever great music is sold. For more information on Volume Five, please visit www.volumefivebg.com. For more about Mountain Fever Records, visit www.mountainfever.com.

Tags: Volume 5Volume FiveCD ReleaseDrifter

Stoney Creek To Release "Memories & Tears" July 1st

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 22:06
Martinsburg, WV -- Stoney Creek Bluegrass Band has announced the July 1 release of "Memories & Tears", a new album featuring the music of Deanna Stottlemyer. "All of the songs were written by my late sister, Deanna. She passed away 12 years ago and she left a big pile of music," says Stoney Creek's Libby Files.

The album's first single, "Come Stay Awhile", was released on May 1, along with a music video filmed at Sleepy Creek Lake in Berkeley County, W.Va. "Memories & Tears" was released to radio broadcasters on June 15 via AirPlay Direct, and the album went to #1 on the website's Top 50 Albums chart. The album's 11 tracks also held the top 11 spots on AirPlay Direct's Top 50 Singles chart.

Stottlemyer had performed and recorded six of the songs, leaving Stoney Creek with a blueprint for their rendition. Stottlemyer's and Files' mother, Ruby Kindle, then gave Files an additional five songs that only existed as lyrics on paper.

"Some of them she sang in her band, but then my mom gave me a stack of songs that she wrote and said 'why don't you do something with these?' So that's what I did," Files says. "Over the last six months, I put my style of bluegrass music to them. They all turned out pretty good."

Files wrote music for three of the new songs ("Give Them All To Jesus", "Won't It Be a Happy Time?", and "Keep Your Eyes Toward Heaven"). By this time, Kenton Catlett, who had played in Stottlemyer's band, joined Stoney Creek. He remembered writing music to one of the songs ("Someone To Share the Load") years earlier. Catlett also composed new music for Stottlemyer's final song, "Some Sweet Day", which he performs on the album in his lead vocal debut with Stoney Creek.

"I give the guys credit; they're all singing on it with me," Files says. "It's a project that I started mainly for my mom and dad; that's why I called it "Memories & Tears". I wanted to get all of my sister's music on a CD for them. There are 11 songs on the project - six are gospel songs and five are traditional bluegrass. I tried to keep them with a traditional flavor."

Stoney Creek has been praised as "mainstream bluegrass at its best" by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine. Frank Jurney of the Berryville Bluegrass Series has noted that "Libby Files is among the rising number of female vocalists who are making a big impact on bluegrass music."

"Memories & Tears" is the first project to feature Stoney Creek's current lineup, including Libby Files on vocals and bass, Brett Smeltzer on mandolin and vocals, Kenton Catlett on guitar and vocals, and Troy Stangle on banjo and vocals.

Stoney Creek will be celebrating the release of "Memories & Tears" with a series of concerts in July. This will include a July 1 appearance at Martinsburg's Fridays @ Five concert series, and a July 28 appearance at the Toni Saylor concert series at War Memorial Park. Additional dates are scheduled in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The band's full schedule can be found at www.StoneyCreekBluegrass.net.

Tags: Stoney CreekStoney Creek BluegrassCD ReleaseMemories & Tears

First Bluegrass Clogging Album in Decades Available Now

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 22:04

Greenville, SC -- Pinecastle Records is proud to announce a new release specifically produced for cloggers, square dancers and other American traditional dance, Rags Reels Breakups and Breakdowns. The album features nine 7 to 12 minute mashups hand picked from the label's large library of acclaimed instrumental tracks. Producer Chip Futrell, faculty adviser of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack Clogging Team, felt there was a need for fresh material in the clogging world since no new material had been produced in decades.

The album has already been utilized in several clogging competitions, garnering a very enthusiastic response from both dancers and competition organizers. Bill Nichols, the so called "Grandfather of Clogging" recently reviewed a copy saying, "The CD from Pinecastle records is an excellent product for the traditional clogger as well as for calling traditional square dances. I will use this CD in all my upcoming events. Thank you for all the hard work you did to make this project a reality."

Futrell had this to say about the project: "For many years, clogging and square dancing have needed new, fresh instrumental bluegrass music for dancing. Chip FutrellIt has been years since any record company has released a collection of long-play bluegrass tracks. This music is needed not only for recreational dancers but also for competition. Pinecastle Records gave me the opportunity to "open their vaults" and review a vast collection of tracks that are the best instrumental mixes that have been released in years. The result is a collection of nine medleys/remixes that will be used by cloggers and square dancers around the world."

Clogging kidsThe tracks have been re-mastered to accentuate the bass and rhythm to give the music the drive needed for dance competition. The Wolfpack Clogging Team debuted the first song from the album in competition on January 30, 2016 at the NC State Clogging Challenge with great success. Futrell remarked “This is the first time that I've heard our music on high-grade sound equipment like this in an auditorium and it's awesome! I received very positive feedback.”

Chip Futrell is a life-long clogger who learned clogging while growing up in Denton, NC. He now resides in Wilson, NC and is the Director of Continuing and Professional Education at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

Pinecastle Records has been producing modern and traditional bluegrass and Americana music since 1989 with a catalog of over 275 releases. It is home to some of the best and brightest of upcoming talent as well as long time veterans of the industry. Notable artists who have recorded on the label include The Osborne Brothers, Charlie Waller and The Country Gentlemen, Jesse McReynolds, Dale Ann Bradley and many more.

You can buy the album online by Clicking Here.

Tags: PinecastleCD ReleaseRags Reels Breakups and BreakdownsClogging

Bluegrass Music Patriarch Ralph Stanley Dies At 89

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 22:15
Nashville, TN -- Ralph Stanley, a patriarch of Appalachian music who with his brother Carter helped expand and popularize the genre that became known as bluegrass, died Thursday from difficulties with skin cancer. He was 89.

Stanley was born and raised in southwest Virginia, a land of coal mines and deep forests where he and his brother formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. Their father would sing them old traditional songs like "Man of Constant Sorrow," while their mother, a banjo player, taught them the old-time clawhammer style, in which the player's fingers strike downward at the strings in a rhythmic style.

Heavily influenced by Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe, the brothers fused Monroe's rapid rhythms with the mountain folk songs from groups such as the Carter Family, who hailed from this same rocky corner of Virginia.

The Stanleys created a distinctive three-part harmony that combined the lead vocal of Carter with Ralph's tenor and an even higher part sung by bandmate Pee Wee Lambert. Carter's romantic songwriting professed a deep passion for the rural landscape, but also reflected on lonesomeness and personal losses.

Songs like "The Lonesome River," uses the imagery of the water to evoke the loss of a lover, and "White Dove," describes the mourning and suffering after the death of a mother and father. In 1951, they popularized "Man of Constant Sorrow," which was also later recorded by Bob Dylan in the '60s.

The brothers were swept into the burgeoning folk movement and they toured the country playing folk and bluegrass festivals during the '60s, including the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and 1964.

But when Carter died of liver disease in 1966, Ralph wasn't sure he could continue. His brother had been the main songwriter, lead singer and front man, and Ralph, by his own account, was withdrawn and shy, although he had overcome some of his early reticence.

"Within weeks of his passing, I got phone calls and letters and telegrams and they all said don't quit. They said, 'We've always been behind you and Carter, but now we'll be behind you even more because we know you'll need us,'" Stanley told The Associated Press in 2006.

After Carter's death, Ralph drew even deeper from his Appalachian roots, adopting the a cappella singing style of the Primitive Baptist church where he was raised. He reformed the Clinch Mountain Boys band to include Ray Cline, vocalist Larry Sparks and Melvin Goins. He would change the lineup of the band over the years, later including Jack Cooke, and mentored younger artists like Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs, who also performed with him.

Dylan and Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia praised his work and, in the case of Dylan, joined him for a remake of the Stanley Brothers' "Lonesome River" in 1997.

He was given an honorary doctorate of music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, in 1976, and he was often introduced as "Dr. Ralph Stanley." He performed at the inaugurations of U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, was given a "Living Legends" medal from the Library of Congress and a National Medal of Arts presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and President George W. Bush. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2000.

But at age 73, he was introduced to a new generation of fans in 2000 due to his chilling a cappella dirge "O Death" from the hit Coen Brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" movie soundtrack. The album was a runaway hit, topping the Billboard 200 chart, as well as the country albums and soundtrack charts, and sold millions of copies.

He won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002 — beating out Tim McGraw, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Lyle Lovett — and was the focus of a successful tour and documentary inspired by the soundtrack. The soundtrack, produced by T Bone Burnett, also won a Grammy for album of the year. The following year he and Jim Lauderdale would win a Grammy for best bluegrass album for "Lost in the Lonesome Pines."

He said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2002 that younger people were coming to see his shows and hear his "old time music," and was enjoying the belated recognition.

"I wish it had come 25 years sooner," he said. "I am still enjoying it, but I would have had longer to enjoy it."

Despite health problems, he continued to record and tour into his 80s, often performing with his son Ralph Stanley II on guitar and his grandson Nathan on mandolin.

Stanley was born in Big Spraddle, Virginia and lived in Sandy Ridge outside of Coeburn, Virginia. His mother was Lucy Jane Smith Stanley and his father was Lee Stanley. He is survived by his wife Jimmie Stanley – they were to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary on July 2nd. He is also survived by his children: Lisa Stanley Marshall, Tonya Armes Stanley and Ralph Stanley II; His grandchildren: Nathan Stanley, Amber Meade Stanley, Evan Stout, Ashley Marshall, Alexis Marshall, Taylor Stanley, and Ralph Stanley III; and great grandchild Mckenzie Stanley. Memorial service details are pending and will be announced shortly.

Tags: Ralph StanleySilent StringsObituary

Last of the First Generation: Dr. Ralph Stanley Dies at 89

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 19:50
Bill Monroe. Flatt & Scruggs. The Stanley Brothers. Ralph Stanley was the last man standing, carrying the torch for the original pioneers of bluegrass music alone since the death of Earl Scruggs in the spring of 2012. Today, June 23, 2016, "Dr. Ralph," as he was known, died at his home in the same mountains of southwestern Virginia where he was born in February 1927. Ralph Stanley was 89 years old.

Dr. Stanley had been battling cancer and his family had indicated recently that he was in ill health. He was preceded in death by his brother and musical partner, Carter Stanley, who died in 1966. Dr. Stanley's son, Ralph Stanley II, recently took over as lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Clinch Mountain Boys. The torch was passed on keeping Stanley's music and traditions alive and in good hands.

This video features Ralph Stanley with Carter Stanley and the late George Shuffler on guitar with "How Mountain Girls Can Love."

"My heart is broken into pieces. My papaw, my dad, and the greatest man in the world, Dr. Ralph Stanley has went home to be with Jesus just a few minutes ago. He went peacefully in his sleep due to a long, horrible battle with Skin Cancer. I feel so lost and so alone right now. He was my world, and he was my everything. He was always there for me no matter what. I just cannot get a grip on this. My Papaw was loved by millions of fans from all around the world, and he loved all of you. If he was singing snd on sage, he was happy. That's why I did so much to make it possible for him to travel in the last two years. Because he wanted to. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to face in my life. The only thing that gives me peace, is knowing he is in paradise and I'll see my best friend again. I love you papaw with all of my heart. As long as I live and breathe, your legacy will never die. You will forever be in my heart."
  ~Nathan Stanley, Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

There is no doubt that Ralph Stanley was a legend. His music spanned decades and generations and over a half century. From his early beginnings until just recently, bluegrass and mountain music fans have gather to hear him perform. In 2000, his work in O Brother Where Art Thou resurrected awareness of this legend with "O Death", a song that became synonymous with Ralph Stanley.

Whether performing with his brother Carter, or in his solo career, Stanley remained true to his Mountain Music in all of its forms. It was his love for the music that kept him based in his roots rather than moving on to the big cities of the music. Born and raised in the hills of Virginia, it was those hills that held him, his heart and his music.

Both Ralph and his brother Carter Stanley were inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame in 1992. Their induction award says:

Two eminent first generation figures in bluegrass music, Carter and Ralph Stanley were reared on isolated Smith Ridge in southwest Virginia's mountainous Dickenson County. They began playing professionally in late 1946 on Bristol radio station WCYB's daily "Farm and Fun Time" broadcasts. During the ensuing 20 years The Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys recorded more than 400 titles, comprising some of the finest authentic American music in existence. Despite changing times and musical tastes, the Stanleys are the only major early bluegrass artists to have never compromised the rigidly traditional format in their recordings. The favorite lead singer of many fans, Carter authored endearing classics such as "The White Dove" and "The Lonesome River." Following his death in 1966, younger brother Ralph, the composer of timeless songs and instrumentals such as "Clinch Mountain Backstep," launched a long and successful solo career faithful to the plaintive, soulful mountain sound that endears The Stanley Brothers' music to purists throughout the world.

Ralph's passing seals the first generation of bluegrass music. Just like Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and others, Ralph left an indelible mark on the music. He was loved by bluegrass fans old and young and even as he aged, people still went out of their way to capture a moment of his music. He was truly the cloth that legends are cut from. May you rest in eternal peace Dr. Stanley. Thank you for all you gave to millions of people around the world.

Tags: Dr. Ralph StanleyObituarySilent Strings

2nd Annual Monroe Mandolin Camp Video Scholarship Competition

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 22:41
Tuesday, the Monroe Mandolin Camp started accepting a limited number of video submissions for their 2nd Annual Video Scholarship Competition. They are looking for fun, creative videos of you playing a Bill Monroe tune, and telling them why this music is important to you.

The winning candidate will be awarded a full scholarship (including tuition, lodging, and meals) to attend the September 14-18, 2016 Mon Man Camp, being held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center retreat, in downtown Nashville, TN. This scholarship is being generously underwritten by INTELOMETRY, an energy technology company.

Using Bill Monroe's original mandolin style as the guide for camp, and their belief that there are like-minded souls who desire the sound of hard-edged and emotionally charged traditional bluegrass, they created the Monroe Mandolin Camp. Led by a WORLD CLASS staff of internationally known instructors and luthiers, the stage is set for a vibrant and committed community of players of all ages and backgrounds to come for this signature sound. With participants from the US, Canada, Australia, Dominican Republic, France, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other countries, this truly is an international camp of Monroe enthusiasts!

Monroe Mandolin Camp believes that Monroe's original music is one of the most vibrant and valid mandolin languages in the world. In the words of Mr. Bill, "it's powerful." With famous service to handle everything for you, so that you only have to decide what classes to take and whether or not you'll get a lot of sleep that night, this camp is custom tailored for you! You will go home with a year's worth of material to work on, and memories and friends to last a lifetime.

Here's the winning video submitted by Jack Baker of Surrey, London, England. Jack is the recipient of the 1st Annual Video Scholarship Award, 2015.

For competition rules, submission procedure, and guidelines visit www.MonroeMandolinCamp.com

Tags: Monroe Mandolin CampMandolinMike ComptonEducation

Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band Announces New Album

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 22:36
Los Angeles, CA -- Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band is back with Bluegrass Stomp.The long-awaited full-length is both a hearkening back to traditional bluegrass roots and a deviation from the typical bluegrass formula. Fusing elements of soulful blues, laid-back country, and story-rich folk, the band blaze their own trail through ten fresh tracks.

From the relaxed melodic romp of the title track to the uptempo bounce of "Rocky Road Blues," Rocky Neck are unapologetically old-timey and proud of it. Songs like "Way Downtown" perfectly exhibit the band's ability to perform traditional bluegrass with a contemporary voice to form a style all their own. And even though Rocky Neck are a bluegrass band, they're unafraid to borrow from other styles, as proved by the countrified "I Hope You're The End Of My Story."

Bluegrass Stomp is available at stores like iTunes, Amazon, and www.RockyNeckBluegrass.com

Devitt Feeley, Lydia Veilleux, Craig Ferguson and Brian Netzely got their start in the bluegrass music field by winning first place in the 2009 Topanga Banjo and Fiddle "Band Contest". In January of 2012 they took first place in the California Bluegrass Association's "Great 48 Showcase Showdown", competing against the top bluegrass bands from across the state. Performing at premiere bluegrass and country venues across the Southwest the band has 2016 festival appearances scheduled at the Las Vegas Bluegrass Festival, CBA's Father's Day Festival, the Calico Spring Festival and the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival. They are also a regular on the wedding circuit and have appeared on an episode of WETV's "My Fair Wedding" with David Tutera as well as in a cover story photo spread in C Magazine's wedding edition. The band has also played weddings featured on the covers of People Magazine, Hello Magazine, and Us Weekly.

From San Diego to the pine trees of the Sierra foothills, Rocky Neck's summer concert dates are full of sunshine, beer, wine, BBQ, picnics, jam sessions, and arts and crafts vendors. With special guest Kevin Gore on banjo, the band will be making their first main stage appearance at Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley on June 18th. The band will also be appearing Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, and Summergrass San Diego. In addition, the band will coach the Summergrass 2016 Kids' Bluegrass Camp and teach additional workshops at Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley including, "Flatpicking Sally Ann" and "Fancy Up Your Fiddle Tunes".

Tags: Rocky Neck Bluegrass BandCD ReleaseBluegrass Stomp

Lonesome River Band to Host Rudy Fest Bluegrass Festival

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 22:24

Grayson, KY -- Lonesome River Band continues their busy summer tour as they return to Grayson, Kentucky this week to Host the 16th Annual Rudy Fest Bluegrass Festival. The event will be held at the Carter County Fair Grounds June 22-25, 2016 with a stellar line-up that includes: Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Dave Adkins, The Steeldrivers, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Volume Five, Balsam Range, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and many more. Lonesome River Band will hit the stage Friday, June 23 at 3:00 and 6:30 pm and Saturday, June 24 at 11:00 pm.

Lonesome River Band’s Sammy Shelor is really looking forward to this weekend saying, “Rudy Fest is a beast of a bluegrass festival! Always an amazing crowd to play to and the support an artist needs to perform at their best. The crew there always makes patrons and bands both feel welcome and at home. Love that Gang!”

"Sammy & LRB have been with us a long time. I got to catch a show couple weeks ago and they had it dialed in and were having a ball on stage! Their new material is top shelf,” says festival promoter Rudy Burchett. Tickets for Rudy Fest can be purchased at the gate for $100 (4-day weekend pass), or daily passes for $20 (Wed) or $40 (Thursday-Friday). Kids 12 and under free. For more information, please visit rudyfest.com.

Lonesome River Band will perform songs from their Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass Chart album, Bridging the Tradition, released on the Mountain Home Music Company label. The band’s first single, “Thunder & Lightning,” is currently #2 on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction’s Most Played Tracks, and appearing on Bluegrass Today's Top 20 Songs, Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine's Top 30 Songs, and more single and album radio charts.

Last week, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) released the second of three IBMA Awards ballots. Lonesome River Band are candidates for nomination in the following categories:

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Vocal Group of the Year
  • Instrumental Group of the Year
  • Song of the Year (Thunder and Lightning, Adam Wright writer)
  • Album of the Year (Bridging the Tradition, Mountain Home Music Company)
  • Male Vocalist of the Year (Brandon Rickman)
  • Gospel Recorded Event of the Year (Rocking of the Cradle)
  • Banjo Player of the Year (Sammy Shelor)
  • Fiddle Player of the Year (Mike Hartgrove)
  • Mandolin Player of the Year (Jesse Smathers)
  • Bass Player of the Year (Barry Reed)

The official IBMA Award Nominees will be announced in August. For more information on joining IBMA, please visit ibma.org.

Lonesome River Band features Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer and 5-Time IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year, Sammy Shelor. With two stellar lead vocalists, Brandon Rickman (guitar) and Jesse Smathers (mandolin), accentuated by the impressive talents of Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Barry Reed (bass), the band seamlessly comes together, performing the trademark sound that fans continue to embrace.

For more information on Lonesome River Band, please visit lonesomeriverband.com and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. #LRB

Tags: Lonesome River BandRudy FestBluegrass FestivalEvent

Grey Fox Bluegrass 2016 Final Lineup Announced

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 22:21

Oak Hill, NY -- While deep snows have been falling all over upstate New York, plans are already set for this summer's world famous Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival held each year in the Catskill Mountains at Oak Hill, New York. This event really is a Who's Who of Bluegrass Music and people come from all over the country and from other countries to experience this gathering of music, learning, family & friends. Many personal reunions for artists, fans and pickers happen annually at this historic event. This year's four-day event takes place July 14 through 14, 2016.

Taking a deep breath, artists schedule to appear this year include Dry Branch Fire Squad, Our Host Band, Bela Fleck & Chris Thile, Del & Dawg, The Earls of Leicester, The Del McCoury Band, The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, The Wood Brothers, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The SteelDrivers, The Gibson Brothers, Della Mae, Sara Watkins, The O’Connor Band, featuring Mark O’Connor, Band of Ruhks, Mr. Sun, Lonely Heartstring Band, The Dustbowl Revival, The Steel Wheels, Sierra Hull, Elephant Revival, Front Country, The Stray Birds, Trout Steak Revival, Scythian, Donna the Buffalo, The Horseflies, Matuto, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore, Compton & Newberry, The Mike + Ruthy Band, The Railsplitters, Joe Craven & The Sometimers, Rushad Eggleston, Charm City Junction, Mile Twelve, John Kirk, Trish Miller & Quickstep, The Gather Rounders and Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers.

As you can clearly see, there is more than enough quality entertainment to keep you well satisfied and ensure your fill of bluegrass music for the entire duration of this outstanding festival.

Grey Fox is very much about learning. Learning to play better. Learning to sing. Learning how to jam. Learning to dance. Getting valuable advice from business professionals. Learning how to care for your instrument. Learn how to meditate. Even learning to be a clown. Fun and enriching learning activities abound from opening day through the weekend at several venues around the grounds:

SLOW JAMS at the Slow Jam Tent
If you’re a beginning player, check this out for beginning instrumental and vocal classes and the very popular slow jams on Friday and Saturday. Here you’ll find patient, knowledgable mentors who’ll lead you through the basics. Slow jams are slowed down and repeated enough so that everyone can keep up.
HANDS ON WORKSHOPS at the Grass Roots Stage
This venue offers a mix of hands-on workshops, mini-concerts, and Q&A sessions with bluegrass music’s top instructors and performers. Bring your instrument and expect to learn a thing or two that just might take your playing and singing to the next level. Or just come and enjoy!
LEARN TO DANCE at the Catskill Stage
Possibly our most varied stage, you can begin your day learning to meditate, breathe and stretch in healthful yoga sessions, then be expertly led through invigorating square and contra dances. Later the Catskill Stage presents some of your favorite bands in concert, and finishes late in the night with the best dance bands in the business.
KIDS STUFF at the Family Stage
Here kids of all ages enjoy learning to tie dye their own tee shirt, make instruments, do nature crafts, participate in yoga for kids, and more. And it’s here that Gary the Silent Clown (formerly with Ringling Brothers Circus) heads up the Grey Fox Clown College for 6th graders and up. All really fun. All really kid friendly.
BLUEGRASS ACADEMY FOR KIDS at the BGA Tent
Since 1999, Grey Fox has been teaching kids to play, sing and perform traditional bluegrass music for four days during the festival. Program info and registration.
BERKLEE & IBMA PRESENTATIONS at the Creekside Stage
While the Creekside Stage is an intimate tented concert venue for much of the day, workshops, discussions and presentations in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association and Berklee College of Music often start the day at the Creekside Stage. Check the schedule for upcoming sessions that can help aspiring musicians learn about the business side of bluegrass or find out about programs at Berklee.

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA), established in 1999, is a free four-day learning program held each year during Grey Fox. The program teaches children (age 8-17) to play, sing and perform bluegrass music. BGA consists of sectional instruction with their assigned instrumental teacher; ensemble sessions with the entire group; harmony singing lessons; and guest appearances by musicians who are performing at Grey Fox. The program’s grand finale is a ‘graduation gig’ Sunday afternoon on the High Meadow Stage. Approximately 100-120 kids participate in BGA each year. Students have fun, learn a lot, grow in confidence and make friends that can last a lifetime.

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is committed to keeping traditional bluegrass alive by passing it on to our younger generation. Several bluegrass festivals now have learning programs based on the Grey Fox model. BGA instructors and administrators have been invited to speak about youth education at the IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference, Leadership Bluegrass, and at the International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON). The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA) has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, the IBMA newsletter, regional bluegrass association publications and in the Voice of America Radio online magazine. Above all else, we are most pleased to be connecting kids with bluegrass music.

Tickets are still available so head on over to www.greyfoxbluegrass.com to get yours and then start packing to head out to the Catskils of New York for one heck of a fine bluegrass festival.

Tags: Grey FoxBluegrass FestivalLineupEvent

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