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Mountain Heart Signs to Compass Records, New Album Coming

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- Compass Records is excited to announce the addition of Mountain Heart, the award-winning newgrass band, to its roster. The 5-piece band has been known for cutting-edge excellence in acoustic music circles since its inception in 1999. Widely known throughout the music industry for continually pushing the boundaries of bluegrass inspired roots music, the band has gained legions of loyal fans as a result of their superlative musicianship and constant touring.

Now, they have further broadened their sound by adding the expert fiddle talents of Molly Cherryholmes. With five GRAMMY nominations under her belt, Molly is a revered fiddle player, as well as an accomplished singer, and she fits right in to a band comprised of top pros in every position.

Mountain Heart has unmatched energy and a keen sense of entertainment dynamics, both of which have helped them forge a unique sound and stage show that appeals to an ever-growing variety of musical tastes.

Mountain Heart has been nominated for GRAMMY, ACM, and CMA awards, and has won multiple IBMA awards. They've appeared on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry over 130 times and have shared the stage with acts ranging from Punch Brothers, The Avett Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Yonder Mountain String Band, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, Levon Helm, and John Fogerty, to name a few.

"We cannot wait for our friends and fans to hear the new Mountain Heart lineup, and we encourage you to stay tuned as we unveil national touring news as well as new details of our forthcoming release. For now, please help us welcome Molly to the Mountain Heart family!”

Compass Records, described by Billboard Magazine as "one of the leading independent labels," is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2015. The label group is home to more than 500 releases across the Compass Records, Green Linnet and Mulligan Records imprints with a roster that boasts a variety of artists including Colin Hay, Ron Sexsmith, Mike Farris, Altan, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, John Cowan, The Duhks, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Justin Currie, Michael Cleveland, A.J. Croce, Victor Wooten, Claire Lynch, David Mayfield and label co-founder Alison Brown. For more information, visit

Tags: Mountain HeartCompass RecordsBand AnnouncementMolly Cherryholmes

Reno's Old Time Music to Premiere of Hats Off to Bluegrass Series

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- “Reno's Old Time Music” will treat fans to a sweet October lineup! The month's bag of “goodies” includes another episode of Front Porch Gospel; a celebration and look back at the legendary career of Lester Flatt; a show featuring IBMA Entertainer & Vocal Group of the Year Balsam Range; a family reunion of sorts with Reno & Harrell; and the premiere of a new series of shows called Hats Off To Bluegrass, co-hosted this month by the reigning Queen of Bluegrass Rhonda Vincent. For more information on “Reno's Old Time Music,” please visit and click on the TV Show tab.

"Reno's Old Time Music” airs weekly in prime time on Saturday night at 7:00 P.M. Eastern and on Thursday morning at 6:30 A.M. Eastern on RFD-TV and is sponsored by Derksen Portable Buildings and the Old Time Music Store (click HERE for more information and for exact times in your area).

October 3 – 8: Front Porch Gospel
Start the month off with some musical inspiration! A fan favorite, Front Porch Gospel compiles never-before-seen Gospel performances from the guests of “Reno's Old Time Music” to enkindle the heart and delight the spirit. Gather the family, tune in and usher in the fall with a renewed purpose! Don't miss it!
October 10 – 15: Balsam Range
Recently honored by the legislators of their home state of North Carolina, IBMA Entertainer & Vocal Group of the Year, Balsam Range is fronted by the reigning Male Vocalist of the Year and stellar fiddler Buddy Melton. Backed by the superb harmony/bass of Tim Surrett, the incredible guitar chops of Caleb Smith, the gifted mandolin playing of Darren Nicholson and the banjo stylings of GRAMMY award-winner Mark Pruett, these boys can always be found regularly at or near the top of the singles and albums charts. If you want to see the best of today's Bluegrass talent, then this is the show for you!
October 17 – 22: Lester Flatt
No conversation about the founding of Bluegrass can ever be had without the name Lester Flatt, a guitar player and singer for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys--the group is cited by many historians as the first and best group to ever play in the genre. Flatt later partnered with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, ushering in a new era of Bluegrass that would endure for the next 23 years. Remaining true to Bluegrass until his passing in 1979, Flatt left behind a legacy of music and classics that will forever shape the genre. Join us as we explore the incredible music and talent of Lester Flatt through archival footage, interviews and performances only available on “Reno's Old Time Music."
October 24 – 29: Reno & Harrell
When one hears the name Reno & Harrell, one can't help but recall the 1960's Bluegrass act featuring Don Reno and Bill Harrell and The Tennessee Cut-ups. However, the current rendition of the group was formed by their laureate sons, Don Wayne and Dale “Deacon” Reno (Ronnie Reno's younger siblings), and Mitch Harrell, who continue their amazing legacy. Tune in and watch them perform and reminisce about their legendary fathers.
October 31 – November 5: Hats Off to Bluegrass
"Reno's Old Time Music” is pleased to premiere a brand new series of shows paying homage to the best performances by its guests throughout the years. Each episode is co-hosted by Ronnie Reno and one of today's biggest Bluegrass stars, who will talk about each performance and do a little “super pickin'” of their own. This month's co-host will be the reigning “Queen of Bluegrass,” the lovely and talented Rhonda Vincent.

The award-winning weekly music/talk show, Reno's Old Time Music, is the brainchild of Producer/Host Ronnie Reno, whose over-60-year career helped forge the sound and songs of so many legendary Bluegrass and Country Music entertainers, including Reno & Smiley, The Osborne Brothers, Merle Haggard, The Reno Brothers, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Vassar Clements, Sammi Smith, Johnny Paycheck, Mac Wiseman and Conway Twitty, to name just a few.

Reno began airing his show in 1993 on another network as “Reno's Old Time Music Festival.” It was the first and only national television show featuring Bluegrass and acoustic music and could be seen in 28 million households. Because of the show’s rich music/talk format and Reno’s influence in getting top-name guests, the show was a huge success, earning Reno a nomination for the prestigious Cable Ace Award for“Best Musical Series” and the nickname “The Dick Clark of Bluegrass."

Today, “Reno's Old Time Music” has nearly doubled its carriage with its transition to the RFD-TV network, reaching an estimated 47 million homes weekly and pulling an estimated 1.3 million monthly viewers. Although the name has changed slightly, the format remains largely the same, which includes performances by Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition and the weekly featured guest, an interview segment, the extremely popular “Super Pickers” segment and a sterling closing performance by the guest, who is joined by Reno on the Main Stage. Reno was honored with both the IBMA “Distinguished Achievement” (2006) and “Broadcaster of the Year” (2013) awards due to the continued success of the show.

Reno has recently released his first album in over a decade, Lessons Learned, on Rural Rhythm Records, available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever Bluegrass and Country music are sold.

For more information on Ronnie Reno or “Reno's Old Time Music,” please visit

Tags: Reno's Old Time Music

And The Coveted Brown Jug Award Goes to...Drew Smith

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 22:00
The Park Slope Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jamboree’s Brown Jug Award is the brainchild of James Reams, a bluegrass musician and bandleader for over 20 years, who conceived of it as a way to recognize people in the Northeast whose impact on the music deserved to be honored but who might be less likely to be recognized by national organizations since for some of them, their impact was regional in nature.

This year the Jamboree is pleased to honor long-standing supporter and performer, Drew Smith, for his contributions to bluegrass with the coveted Brown Jug Award. An Autoharp Aficionado Extraordinaire, Drew Smith is probably one of the best known autoharpists in the nation as well as “across the pond”. In the 40 plus years that he has been playing the autoharp, Drew has won championship after championship across the US and was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2011, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the California Autoharp Gathering. But we’re sure that the Brown Jug Award represents the ultimate feather in his cap!

A veteran performer, instructor, and workshop leader, Drew has developed a unique thumb lead style of playing that allows him to capture melody notes of fast fiddle tunes on his autoharp. He loves to play the chromatic autoharp, because it gives him the needed notes and chords to be able to play a wider selection of music than a diatonic harp. You may be wondering just how many varieties of music can be played on an autoharp. Well, Drew has definitely put his instrument to the test as he performs Dixieland, Blues, Tin Pan Alley, Country, Russian Tangos, Calypso, Broadway Show tunes and ethnic addition to our favorite old-time and bluegrass tunes. He says no matter where it comes from, if you like it, why not play it!

Drew first picked up the autoharp in 1967 after being influenced by Grand Masters Kilby Snow and Mike Seeger. He reminisced about his first encounter with the autoharp, “At first it was just plain confusing. Then after one lesson, I figured it out. The rest is all self taught.” Now that’s an understatement, the rest is history! But why the autoharp instead of any of the other, more popular instruments? He says it’s because he can express himself better and play more kinds of music on the autoharp than any of the other instruments. Once he figured out how to play melody notes, he could jam with anyone!

Though the autoharp may be considered a child’s toy by many, Drew says that “it becomes a completely different instrument in the hands of those who consider it has no limitations.” One of his favorite things to do is to get together with musicians that he has never played with before and see how it works out. Learning new material, regardless of its origins, keeps it fresh and thrilling. Since Drew plays by ear, he says he learns from everyone. And, no doubt, they learn from him too.

For 27 years, Drew performed with Roger Sprung and the Progressive Bluegrassers at such notable venues as the Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. In 2013, he performed in and taught at the Sore Fingers Festival in Oxfordshire, England. Drew has recorded three CDs that help form the backbone of any autoharp enthusiasts library including “Now That’s Autoharp!”, “The Art of the Autoharp” and “Having a Ball” with the Triple Play All-Stars.

Combined with all of his awards, that’s quite a history! When asked about the future for autoharpists, Drew commented “When you play and sing Carter Family music and other groups from that era, the autoharp fits in extremely well. When you consider where old-time music has developed today, the autoharp player must think carefully about whether the sounds of the autoharp will take away from the overall group string band sound. Sometimes less is more.”

Well, the Jamboree family can’t get enough of Drew Smith and is thrilled to add him to the illustrious list of Brown Jug recipients. We hope to have him perform at many more of our events in the years to come.

Tags: Brown Jug AwardDrew SmithAutoharpAwardJames Reams

Telluride Band Competition Winners Headed to Bluegrass Museum

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 22:00
Winners of the 2014 Telluride band competition, Trout Steak Revival boasts a unique brand of heartfelt songwriting blended with dynamic musicianship and intricately woven harmonies. What began as an informal jamming unit has evolved into one of Colorado's most tightly-knit bluegrass bands. Keeping an eye on tradition while boldly forging into new territory, Trout Steak Revival is set to take the IBMM stage October 5

From Trout Steak Revival’s beginning as an informal jamming unit during treks through the Front Range, this Denver-based roots quintet has evolved into one of Colorado’s most tightly-knit bluegrass bands. Their brand of heartfelt songwriting blends dynamic musicianship with intricately woven harmonies, all tied together with the unmistakable sound of their years of friendship. From sweat-soaked clubs to mountain festivals, the five-piece has shown a tenacity for quick-picking and all the right polish without sacrificing the raw feeling of well-executed bluegrass.

The band has earned a place in the mountain states roots scene, performing to sold-out audiences, winning an Emmy Award for a soundtrack with Rocky Mountain PBS, and recently, winning the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition. Keeping an eye on traditions of the past but boldly forging into new territory, Trout Steak takes us back to memories of whiskey, laughter, and the misty high country where the band was born.

Trout Steak Revival’s five members – Steve Foltz (mandolin & guitar), Casey Houlihan (standup bass), Will Koster (dobro & guitar), Travis McNamara (banjo), and Bevin Foley (fiddle) – each contribute vocals and songwriting in their post-modern approach to American roots music. Their collaborative songwriting process operates more like a collective than a traditional band, with one member bringing an idea while the others flesh out the arrangement with personal touches of instrumentation and harmony. Where it’s easy to use the cold technical language of “tightness” to refer to the arrangements, a better descriptor here might be “close-knit.” Trout Steak Revival’s concise yet multi-layered arrangements are derived from their years of experience playing with and nurturing each other creatively. Like the many bends in the Colorado River, each of the instruments diverge and run their own course, but always end up curving back around to the same destination.

Most of the members of Trout Steak Revival originate from the Midwest, having moved west to settle in Colorado. Many of the songs on Brighter Every Day center on storytelling and the varying places and experiences they’ve each come from, echoing a tension between rootedness and wanderlust. The album opens with a petition to the Union Pacific railroad, reflecting on having seen everything from the “Mojave Desert” to “San Francisco Bay,” pining for home and pleading: “Won’t you take me down your track, let your whistle blow, and bring me back.” “Ours For The Taking” was originally written by Houlihan for his fiancé while “Wind On The Mountain” is about getting caught in a snowstorm during a backpacking trip. The title track, written by McNamara on piano for the wedding of two friends, was later brought to the band and arranged for a five-piece. While the piano is retained here, Trout Steak Revival turns what might have been a meditative processional into a full-fledged celebratory dance. Finally, the album closes with “Colorado River,” a gorgeously raucous ode to their Rocky Mountain home – “I’m swimming’ in my sleep, in the Colorado River deep.”

It’s not hard to see how integral the Rocky Mountain communal tradition is to the listening experience of Brighter Every Day. Grown out of fertile ground, Trout Steak Revival represents a sense of community that has become as unshakeable as the mountains themselves. In Colorado, the air is just a little thinner and colder, making Trout Steak Revival’s unique brand of bluegrass take on an exciting and pioneering timbre that is poised to keep listeners breathless for years to come. Visit them at

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumTrout Steak RevivalConcertEvent

Jason Burleson to Unveil Signature Banjo at IBMA WOB

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 22:27
Newland, NC -- Jason Burleson, heralded banjo player of award-winning band Blue Highway, is honored to announce the introduction of the Jason Burleson Signature Banjo by Prucha Bluegrass Instruments. The Jason Burleson Signature Banjo is part of the Spirit Line of the Czech Republic-based Pruscha Bluegrass Instruments, joining Alison Brown and Brandon Green as bluegrass artists with banjos in the exquisitely crafted signature Spirit Line.

Prusha is the premier manufacturer of banjos and mandolins in the Czech Republic, and is the only banjo manufacturer internationally known to produce all parts of their banjo hardware in their own production facility.

North Carolina native Jason Burleson is the founding banjo player in the 21-year strong powerhouse band, Blue Highway. With a genuine gift for vocals, picking, and songwriting, Jason's finesse and skill on the five make him one of the most explosive and dynamic banjo players in the Bluegrass genre.

"I'm excited to have the Jason Burleson Signature Banjo added to the Spirit Line of Prucha Bluegrass Instruments," said Burleson. "It's an honor to work with Jarda Prucha and have my signature banjo as part of the Prucha family of fine instruments."

The Jason Burleson Signature Banjo is handmade in Prucha's Prague workshop, and features a radiused, 24-fret, standard width extended fingerboard and a "speed neck" with a massive resonator and Prucha's new one-piece flange. The finish on the metal parts is half shiny / half matte. Sand-blasted nickel-plated parts are engraved with patterns corresponding with the mother of pearl peghead and neck inlays. The mahogany banjo is fitted with a sand-blasted, engraved Kershner tailpiece. The maple bridge with ebony plate is also radiused. Custom upgrate options include premium curly maple and cherry wood, abalone inlays, top tension construction, black nickel, gold plating, and copper flash patina.

The Official Unveil of the Jason Burleson Signature Banjo will be during IBMA World of Bluegrass Week, September 29-October 3, in Raleigh, NC. The banjo will be on display at the Prucha Booth in the Exhibit Hall of the Raleigh Convention Center. World of Bluegrass Expo will open to the public Friday, October 2 - Saturday, October 3, 2015.

Jason Burleson will appear at the Prucha Booth on Friday, October 2, from 1:30-3:00 pm. He'll talk with fans and media, and be available for photos with the new Jason Burleson Signature Banjo.

Jason's signature banjo is available now on Prucha's website. Prucha have nine handcrafted mandolin models and 13 categories of intricately created banjos.

Blue Highway and its members are nominated for eight IBMA Awards in the upcoming 26th Annual IBMA Awards to be held on Thursday, October 1, at 7:30 pm, at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC.

Blue Highway received the Most Airplay of any Bluegrass Artist for 2014, per the Bluegrass Today 2014 Bluegrass Radio Airplay Chart, with three songs in the Top 15 for the year and 12,115 spins.

For more information on Prucha Bluegrass Instruments, please go to: For more information on Blue Highway and Jason Burleson, please go to:

Tags: Jason BurlesonBlue HighwayBanjoPrucha Bluegrass InstrumentsDebutNew Product

26th IBMA Awards to be Live Streamed by Music City Roots

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 22:23

Nashville, TN -- Thursday night’s 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards will be live streamed online by Music City Roots on their website, This is in addition to the live broadcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction) which was previously announced, as well as the live broadcast throughout North Carolina by WUNC-TV. Sponsors making this possible include Acceptance Auto Insurance, BMI, Compass Records, Deering Banjos, and the International Bluegrass Music Museum and Mountain Home Music Company. The show will be hosted by The Gibson Brothers and begins at 7:30 p.m./EDT and takes place at Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh, N.C. Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the IBMA.

“We’ll be airing highlights from the show in this fall’s APT series, but there’s something magical about the live experience,” said Music City Roots Executive Producer John Walker. Some moments only happen once in a lifetime, like the Tony Rice speech in 2013. We’re so thankful to the folks at Acceptance Insurance for stepping up and making this possible.”

IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger added, “We are excited to once again partner with Music City Roots to offer live online streaming of the IBMA Awards Show. While there is nothing like being there in person, it is great to have online viewing available for those fans who can’t be Raleigh for this spectacular evening of musical celebration.”

In addition to the Awards Show, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event – presented by Chiesi USA - consists of: the IBMA Business Conference, September 29 – October 1; Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC, October 2-3 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 29 – October 1 in various Raleigh venues.

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, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone – The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

Limited tickets to the Awards Show remain and those wishing to obtain Awards Show tickets, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, tickets for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater) and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, for additional details and pricing information.

A complete list of nominees, this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, and the recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award can also be found at

Tags: International Bluegrass Music AwardsMusic City RootsBroadcastWebcast

Sierra Hull Announces "Weighted Mind"

Sun, 09/27/2015 - 22:46

Nashville, TN – Sierra Hull, the singer and mandolinist and former child prodigy who signed with Rounder at age 13, and distinguished herself by becoming the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, has announced the release of her first new album in five years. Weighted Mind will be released on January 29, 2016.

15-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck produced the recording, which features eleven compelling new compositions written or co-written by Hull, and one traditional tune for which she and Fleck provided a new arrangement. While Hull’s ethereal voice and fluid playing take center stage here, she receives ample support from bass marvel Ethan Jodziewicz. Béla Fleck’s banjo adorns the elegant “Queen of Hearts/Royal Tea,” and Alison Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Rhiannon Giddens add enchanting harmonies.

Though she is best known for her work as a mandolin player, on these songs, Hull reveals her abundant gifts as a composer and lyricist. Themes of loss and restoration run through the album, starting with the muscular opening number, “Stranded,” and continue on the stirring “Compass,” on which she declares, “I’ve thrown away my compass, done with the chart...I’ll just step out, throw my doubt into the sea, for what’s meant to be will be.” The gentle, dissonant title track ponders existential questions, while the haunting “Birthday” and “Fallen Man” offer somber reflections on strained relationships and impossible choices. The album closes on an optimistic note, with the sweetly assertive “I’ll Be Fine,” and the uplifting, philosophical closer, “Black River.” Fleck, Giddens, Krauss, and Washburn all guest on this track, on which Hull reflects, “A thousand years is but a day, and maybe in a thousand years, I’ll find my way.”

Veteran music scribe and fellow musician Peter Cooper writes, “Hull’s bluegrass roots inform and inspire this soundscape, but bluegrass does not define or limit Weighted Mind. This is not bluegrass music, or chamber music, or pop music. This is original music, from a virtuoso who tells the truth and speaks from herself.”

Hull has earned the admiration of her peers and the press alike: The Bluegrass Situation dubbed her a “mandolin-playing wonder,” and Music City Roots praised her “uncommon maturity—musical and personal,” and noted “one might say she embodies the perfect balance of humility and capability.” The New York Times lauded her as a “prodigious talent,” and for 8 consecutive years, the International Bluegrass Music Association has nominated her for Best Mandolin Player. Her friend and mentor Alison Krauss proclaimed, “Sierra is a remarkably talented, beautiful human being. Success could not come to a more worthy person.” Béla Fleck concurs: “Sierra and Ethan proved themselves to be powerful artists, with extremely high standards. I am so glad to have ended up being a part of this project.”

This Saturday, September 26, Hull will perform a few songs from Weighted Mind on Garrison Keillor’s wildly popular radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. The show, which airs on nearly 700 public radio stations across the country, is also available as a podcast. For station information, go to

On the following Saturday, October 3, at 9:30 PM, she will appear at the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, NC, which is presented by the IBMA.

Sierra Hull will tour extensively in 2016, kicking off with a CD release show at Nashville’s City Winery on January 28th. More tour dates will be announced soon.

The album will be available soon for pre-order at

Tags: Sierra HullCD ReleaseWeighted MindBela Fleck

AirPlay Direct To Present Momentum Awards At IBMA's WOB 2015

Sun, 09/27/2015 - 22:44

Nashville, TN -- AirPlay Direct is proud to present this year’s IBMA Momentum Awards for Vocalist & Band of the Year. AirPlay Direct will be co-sponsoring the IBMA Momentum Awards for the 3rd year in a row. Robert Weingartz, Chairman – AirPlay Direct, and Lynda Weingartz, CEO – AirPlay Direct will be introducing Gold Heart for their performance during the awards luncheon, and will then present the 2015 IBMA Momentum Awards for Vocalist and Band of the Year.

"Once again we deeply appreciate the support of AirPlay Direct as an IBMA Momentum Awards sponsor. Our partnership with AirPlay Direct is an important one to both recognize and empower the emerging talent in bluegrass. Robert and Lynda Weingartz at AirPlay Direct generously give of their time and provide valuable member benefits that help artists distribute their music to radio in an innovative and cost-effective way. The first demonstration I saw of AirPlay Direct was a 'wow' moment!"
 --Paul Schiminger, Executive Director - IBMA

Momentum Award Nominees:

  • Performance Award nominees, Instrumentalists (final committee will select 3)
    • Annie Staninec (fiddle)
    • Casey Campbell (mandolin, fiddle)
    • Molly Tuttle (guitar, banjo)
    • Nate Lee (fiddle, mandolin)
    • Paul Kowert (bass)
    • Patrick McAvinue (fiddle)
    • John Mailander (fiddle, mandolin)
    • Bryan McDowell (fiddle, guitar)
  • Performance Award nominees, Vocalist (final committee to select 1)
    • Savannah Church (The Church Sisters)
    • Alysha Bankester (The Bankesters)
    • Kim Robins (Kim Robins and 40 Years Late)
    • Louise Holden (I Draw Slow)
    • Summer McMahan (Mountain Faith)
  • Performance Award nominees, Band (final committee to select 1)
    • I Draw Slow
    • Lonely Heartstring Band
    • Twisted Pine
    • Haas, Kowert, Tice
  • Industry Involvement Award nominees, Media/Artisan/Business/General
    • Alan Tompkins (promoter, radio broadcaster, association leader)
    • Casey Freeland (association executive director)
    • Daniel Mullins (journalist, radio broadcaster)
    • Erin Scholze (publicist)
  • Nominees for Festival/Event/Venue
    • HoustonFest – Galax, VA
    • Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival – Manteo, NC
    • ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall – Asheville, NC
    • PineCone Youth Camp – Cary, NC
    • Christmas in the Smokies – Pidgeon Forge, TN
  • Mentor Award (given to a bluegrass professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry)
    • Alan Tompkins (promoter, radio broadcaster, association leader)
    • Andrea Roberts (Andrea Roberts Agency)
    • Daniel Boner (director, Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies at ETSU)
    • Ken Irwin (Rounder Records)
    • Woody Platt (Steep Canyon Rangers)

“AirPlay Direct is very proud of our on-going involvement and commitment to IBMA and the critically important emerging artists they honor every year with the Momentum Awards. These artists are the future of bluegrass and we are honored to participate in the acknowledgement and celebration of their successes.”
 -- Robert Weingartz, Chairman – AirPlay Direct

About IBMA Business Conference 2015: The IBMA Business Conference is the premier industry event and trade show where top bluegrass professionals—including artists, agents, journalists, merchandisers, record labels, publicists, publishers, talent buyers and more—come to share and discover the latest tools, strategies, technology and sounds. The 2015 conference with take place September 29 - October 1 at the Raleigh Convention Center in beautiful downtown Raleigh, NC.

About AirPlay Direct: AirPlay Direct is a global artist marketing, promotion and education platform / eco-system that allows artists, record labels and music publishers to securely deliver braodcast-quality music and Digital Press Kits / DPKs to music industry professionals worldwide. Our system allows, radio programmers and film / TV music supervisors globally to connect to new music, create music calls, browse top downloaded artists and immediately download music and related artist information.

AirPlay Direct also provides our artist / label members our genre-based APD Global Radio Indicator Charts, which track the download activity that our members' music receives from our worldwide radio panel. We have a national and international reach of 9,800+ radio station and programmers in 90+ countries.

Tags: Momentum AwardAirPlay DirectIBMAInternational Bluegrass Music AssociationWorld of BluegrassIBMA Awards

Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Winners Announced

Sun, 09/27/2015 - 22:41

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is a celebration of "traditional plus" music. The festival presents a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles.

Pinecastle is proud to present the 2015 MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition Winners. This marks the first year the label has presented the winning songwriters with a chance to record their winning compositions and make them available to radio and the public. Visit to preview the tracks. Here are this year's participating winners:

  • Gospel/Inspirational
    Robert Holthauser and Rick Pardue – “Brother Paul”
    (Mitchell River Music)
    performed by Mickey Galyean & Cullen’s Bridge
  • General
    Carter Sampson – “Wild Bird”
    (Queen of Oklahoma, ASCAP)
  • Country
    Hunter and Suzy Owens – “It Would Be Easier”
    (Hunter and Suzy Owens Music)
  • Available on iTunes
    Available to Radio Stations on AirPlay Direct

    Chris Austin, a local from the MerleFest area, was offered a recording contract by executives at Warner Bros. Nashville, during his tenure as a sideman for Rickie Skaggs. Austin’s songwriting skills matured while releasing singles like “Blues Stay Away From Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” as evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991.

    On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed in the mountains near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warnersongs and currently general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, then MerleFest consultant and “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.

    Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 81 deserving students.

    Critically-acclaimed Americana artist Jesse Bellamy, famed Texas singer-songwriter Bruce Robison and legendary bluegrass icon Peter Rowan were the judges for the on-site final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Judging is based on a song¹s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential. The contest is open to those whose primary source of income (50 percent or more) is not derived from songwriting or publishing.

    For more information on the contest visit:

Tags: Chris Austin Songwriting ContestSongwritingContestAwardsPinecastle

By Any Other Name, its Nothin' Fancy

Sat, 09/26/2015 - 22:17

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce the release of brand new music from Nothin' Fancy. "Get To Being Gone" is available to radio today and is the first single from the band's upcoming album titled By Any Other Name, due for release October 30th.

From the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Nothin' Fancy is comprised of founding members Mike Andes on mandolin, Mitchell Davis on banjo, Chris Sexton on fiddle, Tony Shorter on bass and newest member, Caleb Cox on guitar. Nothin' Fancy was formed in 1994 to compete in a bluegrass competition but upon discovering the undeniable camaraderie between its members, has continued working together ever since, growing in popularity, and gaining a large fan base of loyal followers.

The band has released 11 full length albums, and continues to perform at festivals all across the United States and Canada, and have also performed in Norway. Nothin' Fancy is the 6-time winner of SPBGMA's Entertaining Group of the Year, a fan voted award, and have successfully hosted the Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival since 2001 in Buena Vista, Virginia, making it one of the most popular outdoor festivals in bluegrass.

Earlier this year, each member of Nothin' Fancy was initiated as an honorary brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the world’s oldest and largest music fraternity, which has made it a mission to promote the best in music across America. This fall, the band will be inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, joining a prestigious list of previous inductees including Roy Clark, The Statler Brothers, Charlie Waller, and Dr. Ralph Stanley.

About "Get To Being Gone," writer Mike Andes says, "As a songwriter, I am continually trying to write a catchy upbeat song. For me, this is not easily done. On a drive home to Ohio last year, this little hook came to me and I rolled with it. There's a lot of words to get rolled off, but when they do, it creates a catchy little bluegrass toe tapper." A "bluegrass toe tapper" is the perfect description for this tune that will no doubt become a fan favorite!

Radio programmers may download "Get To Being Gone" via AirPlayDirect. For more about Nothin' Fancy, visit For more about Mountain Fever Records, visit

Tags: Nothin' FancyCD ReleaseBy Any Other NameSingleGet To Being Gone

Whitetop Mountain Band Returns to Carter Fold Saturday

Sat, 09/26/2015 - 22:15

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of old time music by the Whitetop Mountain Band. Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop is an area rich in old time music tradition, and this band has deep roots in mountain music. The band’s members have worked tirelessly to preserve the region’s style of old time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style. Their shows are high energy and unlike any other show you have ever seen. There’s everything from fiddle and banjo instrumentals to powerful solos and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honky tonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old timey ballads, originals, four-part mountain gospel songs – and some flat foot dancing. Well-known for their charisma on stage and their ability to engage audiences of all ages, this group has been performing at the Carter Fold since shows first began at the A.P. Carter Grocery in the 1970s.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a great following at square dances all over Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky at venues like the Carter Fold. The group has performed throughout the U.S. at festivals, concerts, competitions, and colleges. The Smithsonian Folklike Festival, National Folklife Festival, World Music Institute in New York City, the Carter Family Festival, the Dock Boggs Festival, the World’s Fair, the Virginia Arts Festival, Floydfest, Ola Belle Reed Festival, and Merlefest are a few of the many festivals that have featured the band. The group has toured in England, Wales, Ireland, and Australia. They have taught at workshops and classes all over the U.S. Arhoolie, the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities, JuneAppal, Heritage, and Rounder Records are a few of the labels they have recorded for. In addition, they have been featured in many magazines, TV shows, and radio programs. Whitetop Mountain Band was recently given the “Entertainer of the Year” award in the old time category at the ACMA’s Blueridge Acoustic Uprising.

The band originated with Albert Hash in the 1940s. Albert was a well-known and beloved fiddler and luthier. As a teenager, Albert played with Henry Whitter of Grayson & Whitter. Grayson & Whitter recorded in the 1920s. The tune “Hangman’s Reel” that Albert recorded is the same version played by so many old time musicians today. He taught Wayne Henderson, Audrey Ham, and many others to build instruments.

In the 1970s, Albert’s brother-in-law, Thornton Spencer, and his wife Emily joined Albert in the Whitetop Mountain Band. The three also started an old time music program at Mt. Rogers School, a small K-12 public school in Whitetop. The students learn fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and dancing. Emily Spencer has carried on the program, and it has received a lot of regional and national attention for its’ uniqueness – including Grammy and CMT nominations.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is still carried on today by Thornton Spencer on fiddle and Emily Spencer on banjo and vocals. Their daughter, Martha Spencer plays with the band as well. She is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, fiddle, and bass) and fine vocalist and dancer. Jackson Cunningham plays mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, and harmonica; and he does vocals for the group. Jackson is originally from Oregon, and he’s played music since early childhood. He has performed with duet and trio groups and recorded on the VFH label. Debbie Bramer moved from Michigan to Fancy Gap, Virginia. She plays bass in the band and dances. Debbie has been part of several clogging teams and has been active in many dance workshops and competitions. Ersel Fletcher plays guitar and adds his vocal talent to the group.

The fast-paced mountain music of the Whitetop Mountain Band of Grayson County is definitely a family affair. Be sure to check out the Spencers and their family band at the Fold. Lots of people play old time music, but no one plays it with as much fierce intensity – or absolute fun – as the Whitetop Mountain Band! For additional information on the group, go to

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.

Tags: Whitetop Mountain BandCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Anticipated New Album from Flatt Lonesome Releases Oct 2nd

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- Flatt Lonesome is set to release Runaway Train on Oct. 2nd and pre-orders are available now. This is the third studio album from the bluegrass powerhouse, named IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year in 2014. From the time of its debut, Flatt Lonesome has displayed all of the common characteristics shared by truly great bands – powerful vocals and harmony, elite musicianship, exemplary original material, and a relentless determination to grow and take risks.

From the time of its debut, Flatt Lonesome has displayed all of the common characteristics shared by truly great bands – powerful vocals and harmony, elite musicianship, exemplary original material, and a relentless determination to grow and take risks. What sets this young band apart is the instantly recognizable sound resulting from familial harmony, and the group collaborations that enhance each member’s personal style. In short, this is a band that is elevated by its own delight in allowing individual members to shine.

Runaway Train hits the track to radio with “You’ll Pay.” The hard-charging, passionate song is an original by banjo player, Paul Harrigill and Danny Roberts, one of the album producers.

The signature, three-part sibling harmonies of Charli, Kelsi and Buddy Robertson are as jaw-dropping on the record as they are live. It is this passion for vocal performance that shines on songs like “Still Feeling Blue” and “Don’t Come Running.” It can also be heard on the masterful remake of the 1990 Dwight Yoakam original “You’re The One.” Flatt Lonesome is nominated for the IBMA VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR honor in the 2015 awards, to be announced Oct. 1 in Raleigh, NC during the annual World of Bluegrass.

The musicianship on Runaway Train matches the band’s vocal excellence. This is the first project on which Flatt Lonesome has included an instrumental track. “Road to Nottingham” allows each instrument to speak with both restrained and explosive playing.

Runaway Train is not only a fitting name for a new album, but also an ideal analogy for the momentum of Flatt Lonesome’s career. The current Emerging Artist of the Year is clearly barreling down the fast track. What sets this young band apart is the instantly recognizable sound resulting from familial harmony, and the group collaborations that enhance each member’s personal style. In short, this is a band that is elevated by its own delight in allowing individual members to shine.

For more information:

Tags: Flatt LonesomeCD ReleaseRunaway Train

Mountain Fever Records Signs Irene Kelley

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 22:00

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce they have signed multi-genre singer/songrwiter Irene Kelley to their label. Kelley will begin work immediately on her debut album for the label with an expected release date of early spring 2016.

Irene Kelley’s signature mix of Bluegrass, Country and Americana appeals to music lovers across all genres. A native of Latrobe, PA, Kelley discovered her flair for songwriting as a teenager and soon found her way to Nashville, TN where her songs were quickly noticed and recorded by Carl Jackson, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. While recording an album for MCA and independently releasing two more records and touring worldwide, Kelley raised two daughters and scored cuts with Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Pat Green, Brother Phelps, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, Darrell Scott, The Whites, the Osborne Brothers and others. But it's not just her songwriting that has drawn much deserved attention her way. Kelley's pure and lonesome vocal prowess has tugged at the heartstrings of music lovers for years, making her one of traditional music's most beloved musical story-tellers.

About signing with Mountain Fever Records, Kelley says, "I am so proud to be signing to Mountain Fever Records for my next bluegrass release with Mark Hodges at the helm. Mark's passion, support, knowledge and down to earth approach is truly what the genre is all about." "Irene is a master at crafting a song—painting a picture with her lyrics—and she does it as well as anyone I know," states Mark Hodges of Mountain Fever Records. "The only thing that makes her lyrics better, is the way she sings them! I am so excited to have her join our musical family here at Mountain Fever."

Irene Kelley will begin recording her debut album for Mountain Fever this winter with producer Mark Fain at the helm. A single will be released early 2016 with an album to follow in the spring. For more about Irene Kelley, visit For more about Mountain Fever Records, visit

Tags: Irene KelleyMountain Fever RecordsBand Announcement

The Spinney Brothers Make Special Presentation at Bill Monroe's Bean Blossom

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 22:11

Bean Blossom, IN -- The Spinney Brothers, Canada's International Bluegrass band, made a special presentation at Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park in Bean Blossom, Indiana during their evening performance on Wednesday, September 23rd.

The band celebrated a recent #1 song with "My Music Comes From Bill" from their highly successful Tried & True album on Mountain Fever Records. The song, written by Bill Castle and Steve Watts, speaks of the influence Monroe has had on the band musically. To commemorate the career milestone, Rick and Allan Spinney felt moved to recognize the work of the Dillman family who have kept the legacy of Bill Monroe and his music alive in Bean Blossom, Indiana by fostering bluegrass music through several festivals held annually at the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park. During their evening performance, the band presented Dwight Dillman and his family with a commemorative plaque that will be hung in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Country Star Museum on site.

The plaque reads:

The Spinney Brothers #1 Song - "My Music Comes From Bill"
Presented to the Dillman Family, September 23, 2015, in recognition of their continued support and preservation of traditional bluegrass music & the legacy of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys

"The Spinney Brothers are so grateful to be associated with the Bill Monroe Music Park and the Dillman family," states band member Gary Dalrymple. "When we had the chance to record 'My Music Comes From Bill,' we jumped at the opportunity. The song reaching #1 is a great achievement as it represents everything we stand for in traditional Bluegrass music. Now, to honor the Dillman family and to have the plaque hang in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Country Star Museum—we'll it's beyond words."

For more information on The Spinney Brothers including more photos from the presentation, visit

Tags: The Spinney BrothersBill Monroe Memorial Bluegrass FestivalBean BlossomPresentation

IBMM Traveling Exhibit to be Showcased in Raleigh

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 22:09

Owensboro, KY - The International Bluegrass Music Museum will showcase a traveling exhibit featuring several rare artifacts during the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass next week in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Artifacts featured will include an autographed fox horn once owned by Bill Monroe, a patent leather show worn by Mac Wiseman, and numerous artifacts from Carlton Haney's Fincastle Festival.

Attendees will have the opportunity to view clips of interviews with Carlton Haney, Larry Sparks and Bill Keith, to name a few, during a short video promoting one of the Museum's flagship programs, the Video Oral History Project (VOHP).

The VOHP began in 2002, when the Museum undertook the ambitious task of interviewing and filming first and second-generation bluegrass musicians. Since then the Museum has interviewed well over 150 musicians.

Exhibit booths will be open for attendees Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 until 5:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. IBMM will be located at booth 408.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumVOHPMuseumExhibitEvent

Bluegrass Sibling Trio The Carmonas Headed for Raleigh

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 22:06
Nashville's Bluegrass Sibling Trio The Carmonas brought their energetic and uplifting performance to the 16th annual Americana Music Festival in downtown Nashville on Saturday, September 19th at the Musicians Corner showcase at Centennial Park. Prior to that, the band headlined a hometown show at 3rd & Lindsely on Tuesday, August 11th at 8pm. Their debut self-titled album is out now and available on iTunes and via their website. They’re tapped to perform at next month’s IBMA’s in Raleigh, NC.

The group takes their brand of roots based country and bluegrass and combines it with elements of folk to create a sound that is both unique and intriguing; all of which are on display during their live performances.

Made up of sibling trio Alison (vocals), Aaron (vocals) and Chad (guitarist), The Carmonas blend a wide range of musical styles into a cohesive, original toe tapping, finger snapping sound. With fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and upright bass, the expectation of a traditional bluegrass sound is much more complex and compelling.

With added members Willie Huston (banjo) and Chris Hancock (upright bass), their energetic and thumping live shows have earned them supporting performances with the likes of Emmylou Harris, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Marty Stuart and Band of Heathens as well as a performance for soldiers overseas.

Follow the group online at:

Tags: The CarmonasWorld of BluegrassAmericana Music FestivalVideo

New Roots Venue Opens with Jeff Austin, Del & Dawg, Della Mae

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 22:08

Brooklyn’s newest music venue The Hall at MP will be launching its first series of American Roots music shows with three special performances: The Jeff Austin Band on Friday, November 6, Del & Dawg, the collaboration between bluegrass legends Del McCoury and David Grisman, on Saturday, November 7, and Della Mae on Wednesday, November 11.

Owned and operated by 2-time Michelin Star Celebrity Chef Michael Psilakis, the performances will be accompanied by a special food and drink menu. The Hall at MP is located at 470 Driggs St. in Williamsburg, just 3 blocks from the Bedford stop on the L Train.

On Friday, November 6 Mandolinist and founding member of Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin will showcase his electro-bluegrass combo. Celebrated for his fleet fingers and penchant for improvisation, Austin plans to continue songwriting for his solo project but might be weaving in a bit of mainstream, in the style of his John Scott Sherrill/Shawn Camp co-write “Fiddlin’ Around,” featured on Dierks Bentley’s 2010 bluegrass album Up on the Ridge. “I love writing a three-minute song with a hook that would grab a five-hundred-pound marlin as much as I like writing something that goes, ‘okay, after the bridge, it’s going to open up and just go wide.

On Saturday, November 7, Del & Dawg will perform two intimate shows at 7pm and 10pm. Del McCoury met David Grisman met at the first show Del ever played (on banjo) with Bill Monroe in the spring of 1963 at New York University in Greenwich Village. Three years later, Del & Dawg played their first gig together in Troy, NY at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They both celebrated the arrival of first-born sons, Monroe Grisman and Ronnie McCoury, within a month of each other. Through the years they have shared the stage at venues and festivals across the country and released Hardcore Bluegrass, a collection of their studio jam sessions from the ‘90s.

Since its formation in 2009, all-female Nashville combo Della Mae (November 11) has established a reputation as a charismatic, Grammy-nominated, hard-touring live act, building a large and enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim with its first two albums. Produced by Jacquire King (Of Monsters and Men, Norah Jones, Dawes, Kings of Leon), their latest self-titled album on Rounder honors the band’s roots in bluegrass, folk and rock. Della Mae will be joined by special guests Driftwood and Connor Kennedy & Minstrel.

Tags: VenueDavid GrismanDel McCouryDella MaeJeff Austin

2015 Walnut Valley Festival Instrument Champions Announced

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 22:05

Winfield, KS -- The 2015 edition of the Walnut Valley Festival wrapped up Sunday evening, after a great festival filled with lots of music, food, arts and craft and numerous hours of national and International acoustic instrument championship competitions. The various championship contests annually bring musicians to the small south central Kansas community from around the world to test their skills against other players who also rank among the top percentage in the world of pickers with their particular acoustic stringed instrument.

Held annually each year on the 3rd weekend in September, the Walnut Valley Festival is the home of the International Autoharp Championship, the International Fingerstyle Guitar, the National Mountain Dulcimer, the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship and the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. Other contests held at the Walnut Valley Festival are the National Mandolin Championship and the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle.

The Walnut Valley Festival sponsors eight instrumental contests. Several "big name" artists today (Mark O'Connor, Alison Krauss, Chris Thile, Peter Ostroushko, to name a few) can attest to being a "Winfield Winner" in their earlier years. The contests are well-attended since most contestants bring their contingent of fans and there are others who simply want to be able to say, ten years from now, "I remember back when he won Winfield."

For 2015, these are the outstanding instrumentalists who were awarded their championship awards:

2015 International Autoharp Contest

  • 1st Place Winner: George Haig, Durfermline, Fife, Scotland
  • 2nd Place Winner: Cindy Harris, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 3rd Place Winner: Marti Knauer, Springfield, MO

2015 International Finger Style Guitar Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: David Youngman, Hillsdale, MI
  • 2nd Place Winner: Jack Wilson, Elk Grove Village, IL
  • 3rd Place Winner: Lance Allen, Smyrna, TN

2015 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: Jonathan Schultes, Tulsa, OK
  • 2nd Place Winner: Freddy Brown, Scottsville, KY
  • 3rd Place Winner: Daniel Worden, Kremmling, CO

2015 National Mandolin Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: David Goldenberg, Chesterfield, MO
  • 2nd Place Winner: Miles Thompson, Hendersonville, TN
  • 3rd Place Winner: Garrett Wren, Takoma Park, MD

2015 Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: Tristan Clarridge, Kensington, CA
  • 2nd Place Winner: Jason Shaw, Lincoln, NE
  • 3rd Place Winner: Regina Scott, Tulsa, OK

2015 National Guitar Flat Pick Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: Scott Fore, Radford, VA
  • 2nd Place Winner: Steve Kaufman, Alcoa, TN
  • 3rd Place Winner: John Shaw, Lincoln, NE

2015 National Hammer Dulcimer Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: Tina Gugeler, Erie, CO
  • 2nd Place Winner: Ilace Mears, Saddlebrooke, MO
  • 3rd Place Winner: Kyle Paxton, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

2015 National Bluegrass Banjo Championships

  • 1st Place Winner: Steven Moore, St. Clairsville, OH
  • 2nd Place Winner: Kyle Tuttle, Nashville, TN
  • 3rd Place Winner: Matt Davis, Murfreesboro, TN
Tags: Walnut Valley FestivalWinfieldNational Flatpicking ChampionshipInstrument ChampionshipsContest

Rhonda Vincent a Top-5 Finalist for Inspirational Country Music Awards

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 22:15

Nashville, TN -- The Inspirational Country Music Association is pleased to announce the top-5 finalist for the 21st Annual Inspirational Faith, Family & Country Awards™, to be held at Cornerstone Nashville (726 W. Old Hickory Blvd., Madison, Tenn.) on Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 P.M. Each year, the awards honor and showcase the biggest names and emerging talent among artists who perform Inspirational and Christian Country music. This year’s finalists include such notables as Rhonda Vincent, Hunter Hayes, RaeLynn, Joey + Rory, Craig Wayne Boyd, Mary James, Laura Dodd, Kristina Craig & Exit 148, Chonda Pierce and more. Tommy Brandt leads the nominations with four nods. His son, Tommy Brandt II, is also nominated for the Youth in Music award, giving the Brandt family a total of five nominations, followed closed by the McDougal family, who garned four nods in various categories. For more information on the ICMs, please visit

Artists in bluegrass music category include Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs, The Isaacs, and The Roys. All of these inspirational bluegrass artists are award winners in bluegrass and gospel categories. Rhonda Vincent and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are also up for IBMA awards later this year.

This year’s awards show will be emceed by TCT Networks’ Melanie Walker, host of “Come On In with Melanie Walker” and the “Sessions” concert series. Walker is a multi-award winning Christian recording artist, television host, speaker and author. She is a two-time ICM Female Vocalist.of the Year. T. Graham Brown, Isaac Cole, Meghan Woods, True Heart, The Wacaster Family, Johnny Rowlett, Wade Hammond, and last year’s Entertainer of the Year, Chuck Hancock will perform on the show, with more performances to be announced in the coming weeks. Past performers include Wynonna, Josh Turner, Collin Raye, Tracy Lawrence, Natalie Grant, Charlie Daniels, Andy Griggs, Lonestar, Jamie O'Neal, Linda Davis, Point of Grace and many more. The ICMs are additionally supported through the nationally-syndication inspirational, 2-hour radio show, Power Source Country, now syndicated weekly in over 100 markets nationwide through Westwood One.

The Inspirational Country Music Award are held in conjunction with the annual ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Week, which draws music fans to Music City every year and features the ICM Faith, Family and Country nightly showcases, a special Sunday night Honkytonkin’ Jubilee, the Power Source #1 Party, Media Appreciation Luncheon, membership breakfast, seminars and much more. To purchase tickets for the conference or the awards show, click HERE. For more information, please visit

2015 Inspirational Country Music Awards Top-5 Nominees:

    • Hunter Hayes
    • Jeff Bates
    • John Berry
    • Josh Turner
    • T. Graham Brown
    • Carrie Underwood
    • Maddie & Tae
    • Martina McBride
    • RaeLynn
    • Trisha Yearwood
    • Joey + Rory
    • Lady Antebellum
    • Lonestar
    • Oak Ridge Boys
    • The Swon Brothers
    • “God Made Girls” – RaeLynn
    • “Something In The Water” - Carrie Underwood
    • “The Old Rugged Cross” - Craig Wayne Boyd
    • “Pray for You” - The Swon Brothers
    • “Riser” - Dierks Bentley
    • Cross Country Radio – CBN
    • HLE Radio
    • KEYE 1400 AM/FM 93.7 – Perryton, TX
    • KQTY 106.7 FM – Borger, TX
    • Spirit Country Radio
    • Hunter Logan
    • JR Pitsenbarger
    • Marty Smith
    • Rich Miller
    • Robby Lynn
    • Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)
    • Daystar Television Network
    • Hallmark Channel
    • RFD TV
    • TCT Network
    • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
    • Rhonda Vincent
    • Ricky Skaggs
    • The Isaacs
    • The Roys
    • Confessions of a Prodigal Son - Lighting Dark
    • Do You Believe? – Pure Flix Entertainment
    • Hoovey - Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment
    • The Song – One Media/Samuel Goldwyn Films
    • When The Game Stands Tall - Sony Pictures Entertainment
    • Greg McDougal & Family
    • Jayc Harold Band
    • Kali Rose
    • Steve Richard
    • Tommy Brandt
    • Chuck Hancock
    • Greg McDougal
    • Russ Murphy
    • Tommy Brandt
    • Wade Hammond
    • Cherie Brennan
    • Kali Rose
    • Larissa
    • Laura Dodd
    • Mary James
    • Bruce & Betsy Mullen
    • Gary Dean Heisey with Gene Higgins
    • Steve Richard & Laura Dodd
    • T. Graham Brown & Vince Gill
    • True Heart
    • Branded
    • Canton Junction
    • Jayc Harold Band
    • Kristina Craig & Exit 148
    • Wacaster Family
    • “At The End” - Mike Rimmey
    • “I Know He Hears Me” - Steve Richard & Laura Dodd
    • “Jesus Broke That Bottle” - Chuck Hancock
    • “No Wound Too Deep” – Mary James
    • “He’ll Take Care Of You” - T. Graham Brown & Vince Gill
    • “Broken” – Tommy Brandt
    • “God Made Girls” – RaeLynn
    • “Pray for You” - The Swon Brothers
    • “Something In The Water” – Carrie Underwood
    • “True Believers” – Darius Rucker
  • INSPIRATIONAL SONGWRITER (a tie created 6 nominees)
    • Cherie Brennan
    • Chuck Hancock
    • Corey Lee Barker
    • Joe Loftus
    • Mike Rimmey
    • Russ Murphy
    • Alan Turner
    • Arkin Terrell
    • Jayne Carter
    • Joy Roberts
    • Meghan Woods
    • Isaac Cole
    • McDougal Kids
    • Meghan Woods
    • Taylon Hope
    • Tommy Brandt II
    • Dennis Agajanian
    • Greg McDougal
    • Isaac Cole
    • Jayc Harold
    • Travis Wetzel
    • Chonda Pierce
    • Kenny Lee Robinson aka Cornbread the Comic
    • Ray Stevens
    • T. Bubba Bechtol
    • Tim Hawkins
    • Dennis Agajanian
    • Mary James
    • Mo Howard
    • Russ Murphy
    • Tommy Brandt
    • Recipient has already been determined

For additional updates, get social with the ICM Faith, Family and Country Conference and Awards by liking them at or by following them at

Tags: Inspirational Country Music AwardsICM Faith Family & Country AwardsRhonda Vincent

Carter Fold Presents Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 22:10

Saturday, September 26th, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers. The spark the Bluegrass Mountaineers ignite while performing traditional bluegrass music is very unique. Their burning desire (fueled by their experience and music shared by four generations to continue a family tradition) is one of the world’s most valued treasures in such a wonderful music style. The fourth generation of the Bluegrass Mountaineers, Chris Wilcox is eager to learn the instruments at the young age of eight years old. In a quest to carry on the traditional bluegrass sound, the Bluegrass Mountaineers combine old time claw hammering, classic country yodeling, and twin fiddles to showcase their unique style. All members of the Bluegrass Mountaineers take turns demonstrating their vocal and instrumental abilities. Their love for the traditional, genuine bluegrass sound is evident every time they take the stage.

The Bluegrass Mountaineers have many qualities that make them unique. The basics of their success lies in old fashioned hard work combined with shining star talent that only appears to flow more brightly with each performance. They bring to each audience an energetic, entertaining, and family-oriented show. Relying on driving instrumentation and accurate vocals to produce their unique sound; the Bluegrass Mountaineers present a fast-moving live performance, exploding with energy as they perform for the audience. Their powerful stage presence is accented by a neat, clean-cut appearance that adds to their public appeal and the esteem of their fans. When people hear the Bluegrass Mountaineers, they agree that they play their kind of music and they are their kind of musicians.

The Bluegrass Mountaineers have achieved a variety of accomplishments. Some of the members have received numerous awards. They have performed on the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville’s Fan Fair, Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree, Summersville, Ralph Stanley’s Bluegrass Festival, and the Chicago Folk Festival – just to mention a few.

Larry Efaw started playing the mandolin at the age of seven. When his son Stanley joined his band, Larry started playing lead guitar. During his career, he has performed as a guest with Dailey & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Doyle Lawson, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, the Lewis Family, and Gold Wing Express. Larry has won numerous awards and championships. He’s promoted tours since 1987.

Stanley Efaw learned to play the mandolin when he was seven while recovering from a hip replacement. His dad Larry taught him to play. By the age of eight, Stanley was playing mandolin with the Bluegrass Mountaineers. Over the years, he has expanded his musical talents to the fiddle, dobro, banjo, upright bass, and guitar. He sings lead and harmony vocals, and has performed with some of the finest artists in bluegrass music – including touring with Ralph Stanley II and other bands.

Edward “Beanpole” Efaw started his own band at the age of 22 – the Bluegrass Ramblers. In the early 1960s, he changed the name of the band to the Bluegrass Mountaineers. Edward plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals. He is an avid songwriter and supplies a great deal of the band’s material.

Anthony Prater started playing guitar when he was eight. Within a year, he was performing on stage with his dad and uncle’s band, the Prater Brothers. When he was 16 years old, he mastered the upright bass. Traveling and performing bluegrass music was a life-long dream which he actively pursued. His solid, hard-driving bass playing is the foundation of the Bluegrass Mountaineers.

Hopefully, Tom Isaacs and John Bryan will appear with the Mountaineers. Tom has been playing on the bluegrass circuit since 2003. He is one of the finest bluegrass musicians on the road today, mastering banjo and fiddle. Tom has shared the stage with an impressive list of bluegrass musicians – Dr. Ralph Stanley and Ralph Stanley II, Porter Wagoner, Little Roy Lewis, and Rhonda Vincent. He’s performed at the Fold many times over the years with various groups. John Bryan, now with the Grascals, has been part of the Bluegrass Mountaineers in years past. Performing music since 2005, he started his musical career playing the banjo. Over the years, he has mastered the guitar. His unique high, lonesome tenor and high lead vocals are truly amazing. John has also performed at the Fold over the years with various groups.

This concert will be the second performance for the Mountaineers at the Carter Fold. Although the group is technically a bluegrass band, old time music lovers certainly won’t be disappointed. With twin fiddles, jaw-dropping instrumentals, and harmony that would make an angel band envious, you won’t want to miss the Bluegrass Mountaineers! Don’t forget your dancing shoes – or your friends and family. For more information on the Bluegrass Mountaineers, go to

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free. Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

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

Tags: Carter Family FoldLarry Efaw & the Bluegrass MountaineersConcertEvent