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Oak Hill, NY – Upstate New York might be knee-deep in snow right now, but plans are already in place for this summer's world famous Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival held each year in the Catskill Mountains. This event is widely known as a Who's Who of Bluegrass Music. Music seekers come from all over the United States and several countries to experience the annual gathering of music, learning, family & friends. Many personal reunions for artists, fans and pickers happen at the beloved and historic event. This year's four-day festival takes place July 16 through 19, 2015 on the picturesque Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, New York. Early camping opens on Wednesday, July 15, with special events for those with full festival camping tickets.
When Grey Fox is fully booked, more than 40 extraordinary bands will perform at this year’s festival. Artists scheduled to appear include multi-Grammy recipients, the Del McCoury Band; Sam Bush; Hot Rize; Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn; The Infamous Stringdusters; Greensky Bluegrass; Steep Canyon Rangers; reigning IBMA Entertainers of the Year, Balsam Range; The SteelDrivers; two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year, the Gibson Brothers; and many more.
Attendees will also get to experience current IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year, the all-female Della Mae; Peter Rowan’s Bluegrass Band; 2014 Grammy nominee Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen; Chatham County Line; Mike Compton & Joe Newberry; The HillBenders, and the west coast’s favorite multi-instrumentalist, Joe Craven.
And the all-star lineup doesn’t stop there. The festival also features a wide range of intriguing talent including Michael Daves & Friends (Noam Pikelny, Brittany Haas, Mike Bub and others); Mr Sun with Darol Anger, Grant Gordy, Joe Walsh and Ethan Jodziewicz; red hot guitar and mandolin duo, Billy Strings & Don Julin; I Draw Slow from Ireland; California’s Front Country; Wood&Wire from Austin, Texas; Boston’s Lonely Heartstring Band; DC’s Love Canon; the Celtic dervish-like Scythian; Albany’s own Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys; Americana artists, The Stray Birds; Twisted Pine; dance instructors John Kirk and Trish Miller; and the youngest band to play Grey Fox, The Zolla Boys, along with long-time host band Dry Branch Fire Squad. Still more bands will be announced as they are confirmed, including several Grey Fox Emerging Artist Showcase bands from around the country.
Grey Fox is a homecoming festival. Many friends get together and see each other only at this event. The rest of the year, they are miles, even oceans, apart. Month after month, season after season, they look forward to this special meeting of a family of fans in a special place. That's part of the magic of Grey Fox,"
-- Bob Cherry of Cybergrass.com
There is more than enough fine entertainment to keep festival-goers satisfied all weekend, along with plenty of educational opportunities. Grey Fox is very much about learning: learning to play better, learning to sing harmony, learning to jam, learning to dance, learning yoga and meditation. The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids is a free music camp of about 120 youth who learn to play, sing and perform bluegrass during the festival. The academy culminates in a main stage performance on Sunday afternoon. Enriching learning activities abound from opening day through the weekend at multiple tents and stages around the grounds.
Music, hands-on workshops, dance classes, jamming lessons, kids activities, and more can be enjoyed all weekend long at the festival’s many venues—High Meadow, Catskill, Creekside, Family, Slow Jam, and Grass Roots stages. There truly is something for everyone, young and old, musician and non-musician alike. An extensive array of high quality crafts, clothing, imports, artwork, instruments, recordings, services, supplies, sponsor products, festive and ethnic foods, and beverages are for sale in two vendor areas.
New this year on Sunday will be a special benefit concert to help feed hungry families in Greene County. The benefit, called A Taste of Grey Fox, will feature several artists, many collaborations and musical surprises. There will be no tickets sold on Sunday. Instead, admission for A Taste of Grey Fox will be a donation of non-perishable pantry items that will be collected at the gate. Grey Fox is pleased to be partnering with Community Action of Greene County, Inc., the anti-poverty agency that distributes food and supplies to food banks in several communities. Grey Fox invites residents and visitors alike to enjoy Sunday’s musical performances and help feed needy families. Suggested non-perishable pantry items are listed at http://cagcny.org/food-donations/
Grey Fox sells only 4000 full festival tickets, with camping included. ‘Streets’ in the temporary campground are named for Bluegrass Hall of Famers such as Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Doc Watson, and many others. To add excitement, all campers are in the running for the Best Campsite Award, given to the most creative, greenest campsite with the smallest footprint. The prize? A pair of tickets to next year’s festival. Around the grounds, spirited jam sessions happen spontaneously at all hours, day and night, with many of the festival’s performers often joining in.
Mary Tyler Doub has produced Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (and its predecessor, Winterhawk) since 1985. When asked what keeps her excited about the show year after year, she explains, ”I have two children and Grey Fox is my third. As with my sons, I have watched the festival develop into an event that I’m very, very proud of.” She continues, “It’s thrilling to see bluegrass evolve as it has and to see artists of each generation get better and better. Presenting fresh new talent along with bluegrass music’s top stars to our enthusiastic fans is truly rewarding. I can’t wait to do it again!”
Kimber Ludiker, founder of Grammy-nominated all-female Della Mae says of Grey Fox, “Although the lineup alone WOULD be enough to make it a favorite festival for any music seeker, Grey Fox is more than that. It is the ultimate festival experience—the bluegrass heaven of a campground, the all-night pickin', the inspiring staff, the special musical collaborations, and the general magical atmosphere that is a result of all of these things. For Della Mae, it's like coming home to a family. You have to experience it to know, and once you know, you won't want to miss it.”
Full festival and day tickets, artist bios and videos, what to bring, directions, and more are available at office@GreyFoxBluegrass.com; www.GreyFoxBluegrass.com; 888.946.8495; 315.404.5738; http://www.facebook.com/greyfoxbluegrassTags: Grey FoxBluegrass Festival Hot RizeCybergrassKimber LudikerMary Tyler Doub
Hiltons, VA -- Tim and Debbie Grim Yates have combined their lives, amazing talents, and deep musical roots to forge one of the country’s most accomplished and entertaining music groups on the scene today. Acoustic Heritage is the culmination of several generations of singers and musicians who performed old time and bluegrass music while passing on the love of that unique Appalachian Mountain sound to the generations that followed after them. Whether it’s the sound of Debbie’s amazing clawhammer banjo, her lively fiddle, or Tim’s mesmerizing guitar, the music of Acoustic Heritage always leaves an audience wanting to hear more.
Saturday, February 28th, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of traditional bluegrass music by Acoustic Heritage – the Tim and Debbie Yates Family Band. Adult admission to the concert is $10, $1 for children 6 to 11, and under age 6 free.
The Yates Family Band originated from Acoustic Heritage – Tim and Debbie Yates. Their children – Molly (14) and Sadie (12) – have been performing on stage ever since they could hold an instrument. Tim played in a family band called John Yates and the Yates Brothers from Taylors Valley. Debbie also played in a family band called the Konnarock Critters. Both have been performing for over 25 years. Joining the Yates Family at the Carter Fold will be Debbie’s brother Brian from the original Konnarock Critters. Tim’s nephew, Jordan Yates (who has also played his whole life with various bands) will also be joining them. Fold audiences will remember the Konnarock Critters. They performed many times at the Carter Fold.
Debbie Grim Yates grew up in a family of musicians, so it’s only natural that she would begin playing an instrument at a very young age. Before long she had mastered a dynamic, precise clawhammer banjo style that is distinctly her own as well as the ability to saw out a barn-burner on the fiddle. Her soft, yet amazingly powerful voice has a special quality that simply soothes the soul as you listen. Debbie really loves to perform, and her many years of picking and singing with the Konnarock Critters has helped mold her into one of the genre’s most entertaining peformers.
Tim Yates has played both guitar and standup bass for over 20 years with his family band the Yates Brothers as well as some of the biggest names in bluegrass. He has toured the United States with Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz, the Jimmy Goudreau Bluegrass Unit, and the Tony Rice Unit. Tim is an outstanding singer with a honey-smooth voice that perfectly compliments wife Debbie’s voice, but what really sets him apart from other performers is his mastery of the guitar. Any time Tim Yates takes a guitar break, you had better look away because you’re likely to fall under the spell of the amazing sights and sounds of his guitar work.
For some of the best old time music you’ll ever hear, don’t miss Acoustic Heritage with special guest Brian Grim at the Carter Family Fold! For additional information on the group, check out their web site – http://www.acousticheritage.com/. The Konnarock Critters played many times at the Carter Fold through the years, and it will be a pleasure to welcome Debbie and Brian back along with Debbie’s family. The Fold is steeped in musical family heritage, and the Yates and Grim families are part of that tradition.
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. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. 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: Acoustic HeritageYates Family BandCarter Family FoldConcertEvent
Nashville, TN -- The premiere opportunity to introduce talent and new music at the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) annual World of Bluegrass Business Conference comes in the form of "official" showcase performances which help the music industry attendees discover emerging new bands, as well as established bands, with new music or personnel.
In Raleigh, North Carolina this year, each showcase band will perform at least twice during World of Bluegrass Week -- once on a convention center stage and once on a local "Bluegrass Ramble" town venue stage.
Up to 30 showcase artists will be invited for World of Bluegrass 2015, depending on the number of applicants and the qualifications of groups that apply. IBMA showcase artists are chosen in a juried selectionprocess that takes into consideration every applicant's entertainment value, level of professionalism, potential appeal and quality of work. There are generally more than 100 acts who apply every year and the Selection committee is appointed by the IBMA board chairperson.
The IBMA's World of Bluegrass is scheduled for September 29th through October 3rd in Raleigh, North Carolina. Artists are not required to be IBMA members to apply for the showcase opportunity but are required to submit a $25 fee to help defray the selection process costs. If invited to participate as an official showcase artist, there is an additional fee of $500 to offset costs of services and showcase production.International Bluegrass Music AssociationIBMAWorld of BluegrassShowcase ArtistsBluegrass Ramble
At 7 pm on Saturday February 28 when the WoodSongs Dalton Chapter will feature singer songwriter Kelli Johnson and the VW Boys. Kelli is an incredible singer and talented songwriter and the VW Boys will bring a smile to your face with their entertaining blend of music, magic, and comedy. Proceeds from the concert series will again benefit Providence Ministries. For more information or tickets - www.WoodsongsDalton.com
The award winning songwriter Kelli Johnson has often been compared to Alison Krauss, but she is defining her own style of music. Her songs have been recorded by numerous artists and featured in many regional and national television commercials. Kelli's song Over My Head won Grand Prize in the 2013 Nashville International Summer Songwriting Series and in 2011 she won the Alabama State Texaco Showdown. Kelli has also hosted the regionally acclaimed TV program, Kelli's Acoustic Crossroads, and also serves as the Associate Producer and frequent guest of the Dugger Mountain Music Hall broadcast by Heartland Broadcasting as well as numerous affiliate and independent television stations.
The VW Boys, known for their comedy as well as their music, consist of veteran performers Tim White, Dave Vaught, and "Fat" Albert Blackburn. They have put together a show that appeals to all ages, with a blend of magic, comedy, and string music. The VW Boys have performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The Kennedy Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and shared the stage with numerous legendary bluegrass artists. Many people across America also recognize Tim White of the VW Boys as the host of "Song of the Mountains" the nationally syndicated concert series seen on PBS each week.
The 2015 WoodSongs Dalton concert series features emerging and established performers and will be held at Stage 123 on 123 W. Gordon Street in downtown Dalton Georgia. The concert series is sponsored in part by the Downtown Dalton Development Authority and the Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau.
I think that everyone will agree that the January show was great and that Stage 123 is an excellent venue with the stage, permanent lights, and great sound. Special thanks to Rockbridge Church for allowing us to use the facility and continue the concerts. Best of all the increase space and seating will allow even more people to enjoy the concerts.
Tickets for the 7:00 pm February 28th concert are available at the Dalton Freight Depot Gift Shop, online and at the door. Please note change of venue. Please visit http://WoodsongsDalton.com, email email@example.com, or call 706-581-8025 for more information.
Providence Ministries is a non-profit organization which serves Dalton / Whitfield County with Christian outreach by offering drug and alcohol rehabilitation as well as operating two homeless shelters, two boys' homes and three thrift stores in North Georgia. Providence opened the area's first and only shelter for homeless women and children a few years ago and they are currently expanding their men's shelter.Tags: Woodsongs CoffeehouseDaltonStage 123VW BoysKelli JohnsonConcertEvent
Callahan, FL -- Orange Blossom Records is proud to announce they have signed Steve Harris to the label and will release his all gospel solo album, Sundown in April 2015.
Steve is the lead singer and guitarist with bluegrass band Circa Blue – a band he founded in 2010. His vocal and instrumental talents can be heard on Circa Blue’s self-titled debut album released in 2012 and their 2014 album, A Darker Blue. For more information on Steve Harris, please visit circa-blue.com.
Orange Blossom Records launched a year ago with the signing of award-winning Trinity River Band. Since that time, the group has received significant radio airplay, appeared on numerous TV shows, and continues their extensive tour around the country.
“In signing artists to Orange Blossom Records, my first priority is to find artists with integrity. My second is to signing artists who put their whole heart into their music. On both counts, I couldn’t have found a better person than Steve Harris” said label President Joyce Harris. “Some might assume we are related, but we are not - although we are very proud to welcome Steve to the Orange Blossom Records family!”
For more information on Orange Blossom Records including future announcements on Steve Harris, please visit www.OrangeBlossomRecords.com.Tags: Steve HarrisCirca BlueOrange Blossom RecordsBusinessBand Announcement
Bristol, VA/TN -- Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (BRRR) music festival has been designated one of Southeast Tourism Society's (STS) Top 20 Events. The best events across 12 southeastern states compete to receive the prestigious Top 20 Events designation.
Through a nomination process, Southeast Tourism Society chooses the Top 20 Events in the southeast for each month of the year and publishes the list of winners quarterly. Events must have more than 1,000 in attendance and be in at least its third year of existence. Judging is based on unique aspects of the event including the economic impact to the community, community involvement, attendance, or other awards the event has won.
"Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is, beyond a doubt, a community event even though it draws people from all over the world," said Leah Ross, executive director of Birthplace of Country Music, the parent organization of BRRR. "From our cities, our board and staff, to our hundreds of volunteers and community sponsors, our success is the result of their support."
This year Bristol Rhythm also achieved ranking among the American Bus Association's premier Top 100 Events in North America. In 2014, the festival took home the "Best of Show" Pinnacle Award from Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, "Best Festival" Kaleidoscope Award from Southeast Festivals & Events Association, and received the Bristol Mayors' Award of Distinction.
The Top 20 Events publication is sent to over 1,600 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, AAA publications, and others.
The 15th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival takes place September 18-20, 2015 in Historic Downtown Bristol, TN/VA. For tickets and more information visit www.BristolRhythm.com.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is a 3-day music experience bursting with creative passion, electricity, and soul. Every third weekend in September, several blocks of State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia are amped to the beat of Appalachia's past, present, and future. A celebration of the twin cities' heritage as the birthplace of country music, Bristol Rhythm features the very best in roots music talent from the region and beyond.
Founded in 1983, Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the region by uniting all segments of the Travel and Tourism Industry, sharing resources, fostering cooperation, provide continuing education and promoting tourism within and to member states. It is the vision of STS to create, maintain and promote a cohesive, broad based membership organization responsive to the development of travel and tourism organizations and professionals within the southeast U.S.A. Member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.Tags: Bristol Rhythm & Roots ReunionAwardBristolMusic FestivalEvent
The Old Avoca Schoolhouse in Avoca, Nebraska will be hosting a special "Schoolhouse Celtic Fiddling Camp", for fiddlers, violists, mandolinists, guitarists, and ukulele players. Music from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales will be featured. The sessions will be led by championship fiddler and author, Deborah Greenblatt. The camp will be on Wednesday, March 11 - Friday, March 13, from 9 AM to 1 PM. You can sign up for 1 day, or 2 days, or all 3 days.
On Wednesday, participants will be mostly reading tunes, using sheet music in standard notation. We'll be learning melodies, harmonies, and chords. You will be improving your sight reading, and experiencing fiddling fun.
On Thursday, we will be mostly playing tunes by ear, so feel free to bring your recording gadgets. Sheet music versions of the tunes will be provided for you by the end of the day, just in case your ears need the help.
On Friday, we will be mostly jamming, modulating, singing, dancing, experimenting, sharing, and playing fiddle related instruments.
2015 Schoolhouse Fiddle Camps are held in the Old Avoca Schoolhouse located at 504 Garfield St., Avoca, Nebraska. Take in the camp with championship fiddler Deborah Greenblatt, the first woman to be inducted into the Mid-America Old-Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fame.
Registration information is located at here. The link also provides information regarding other Schoolhouse Fiddling Camps.Tags: Schoolhouse Celtic Fiddling CampGreenblattFiddleCampWorkshopEducation
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 16 through 19, 2015.
The lineup of outstanding artists was announced a few days ago. Artists scheduled to appear include Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Hot Rize, Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, SteelDrivers, Balsam Range, Gibson Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Della Mae, The HillBenders and many, many more. Attendees will also get to experience Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, annual favorite and host band Dry Branch Fire Squad, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Grammy nominee Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The HillBenders, Chatham County Line and Mike Compton & Joe Newberry.
The festival also features a range of other talent including Michael Daves & Friends, Mr. Sun, Bill Strings & Don Julin, I Draw Slow, Joe Craven, Front Country, Wood & Wire, Lonely Heartstring Band, Love Canon, Scythian, Bill Keith, Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys, The Stray Birds, Twisted Pine, John Kirk+Trish Miller & Quickstep and The Zolla Boys.
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 thru 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.
So, you can see that Grey Fox has some aspect of learning for everyone!
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.
Joining us this year as BGA Director is long-time BGA instructor, Mark Panfil. Mark is a lifelong music educator from Western New York, Chair of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music (a program of IBMA), and a founding member of Creekbend Bluegrass Band.
BGA instructors include Ellen Carlson (fiddle); Ira Gitlin (banjo); Cathy Goode (fiddle); Louis Kaplan (bass); Chris Panfil (guitar); Mark Panfil (guitar); and Ben Pearce (mandolin) and others TBA. The Seniors Program will be taught by Tony Watt and Laura Orshaw.
BGA offers instruction in mandolin, banjo, bass, cello, dobro, fiddle and guitar in classes of approximately ten students each.
All of this just gets you started for all the activities, workshops, entertainment and other great things at Grey Fox. check GreyFoxBluegrass.com for ticketing, additional information, signups, camping and updates for the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2015. The snow will be gone and the green will be there and waiting for you to experience what keeps people coming back for more.Tags: Grey FoxBluegrass FestivalLineupEvent
Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records announced the release of new music from Hammertowne. "Broken Heart Mended" has been released to radio for airplay. Hammertowne is a five piece ensemble consisting of Dave Carroll on guitar and vocals; Brent Pack on banjo; Scott Tackett on guitar and vocals; Chaston Carroll on mandolin and vocals; and Bryan Russell on bass and vocals; hailing from the traditional bluegrass hotbed of Eastern Kentucky. The camaraderie among these musicians was undeniable when they gathered in a studio as session musicians on a solo project in late 2011.
The energy and musical compatibility was so strong that the musicians decided they wanted to continue, eventually singing with Mountain Fever Records and releasing their first, self-titled album in 2012. From its inception, the group’s identity has been defined by a hard-driving style of bluegrass that combines unique instrumentation with a distinctive knack for weaving vocal harmonies.
Hammertowne creates their hard driving sound with one foot in the traditional arena to honor those who paved the way before them, and the other in the progressive arena as reflected in their many original songs they write and perform. Band member David Carroll is highly regarded among the bluegrass community as a writing tour de force with his original songs becoming hits by prominent artists such as Lonesome River Band ("The Game Is Over"), Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out ("Old Kentucky Farmers"), Grasstowne ("My Old Guitar and Me"), and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice ("It's Good to See The Homeplace Once Again"), among others.
"Broken Heart Mended" features Bryan Russell on lead vocals and is the first single from their second album for Mountain Fever Records which will be released in April. Radio programmers may download the single via AirplayDirect. For more about Hammertowne, visit www.HammertowneBand.com. For more about Mountain Fever Records, visit www.mountainfever.com.Tags: HammertowneSingleBroken Heart MendedMountain Fever Records
Organizers are adding a second day to one of the area’s fastest growing outdoor heritage music events. In its fifth year, the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass and BBQ Festival will take place on May 22-23, 2015 at the beautiful Chantilly Farm in Floyd and will feature many of the most popular performers in bluegrass and mountain music, along with a variety of children’s activities, expanded camping, arts and crafts vendors, and other festivities.
Affectionately known to music fans as the reigning ‘Queen of Bluegrass’, six-time Grammy award nominee, Rhonda Vincent, is slated to make her debut appearance at this year’s festival. Vincent has the distinction of being the most awarded artist in the bluegrass genre and continues to amaze fans with a stage presence and fan following that is second to none.
“For the last several years, fans have asked that we bring Rhonda Vincent to the festival and this year we’re so excited to be able to do that”, said Jason Gallimore, the festival’s lead promoter.
Early in 2014, Chantilly Farm entered into a multi-year agreement with Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, to become one of the band’s official tour sponsors and to make the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass and BBQ Festival the home festival for the band. Sisk was the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 2013 and the band has quickly become one of the most sought after acts in traditional bluegrass. The band will perform on both Friday and Saturday at this year's event.
“Partnering with an up and coming artist like Junior Sisk has really boosted the profile of not only the bluegrass festival, but the venue itself. We’re looking forward to even more partnerships in the near future”, said venue owner, David Larsen.
Other notable acts scheduled to perform include, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Lonesome River Band, the powerhouse duo of Dave Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk, the legendary Lost and Found, The Bluegrass Kinsmen, Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome, Gravel Road, The Wildmans, The Country Store Band, and the Back Porch Cloggers.
In an effort to make the festival as affordable as possible for families, children 12 and under will be admitted to the festival for free.
A satellite location of the world-famous Floyd Country Store was built at Chantilly Farm during the Spring of last year and will offer select foods and merchandise during the event. A variety of BBQ vendors and other offerings will also be available throughout the weekend.
Newly expanded camping facilities at Chantilly Farm will allow for both RV and tent camping over the course of the festival weekend. Due to the growing popularity of the festival, full service RV spots sold out within two days of being available, however spaces are still available for self-contained RV's and tent campers.
Both weekend passes and single-day passes are available now at www.chantillyfarm.com or by calling (540)745-2322 during regular business hours. Tickets are also available locally at the Floyd Country Store, Wildwood Farms General Store, and the Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd.Tags: Chantilly Farm Bluegrass and BBQ FestivalRhonda Vincent & the RageBluegrass FestivalEventBusiness
Marion, VA -- A mix of Bluegrass and Old Time Music will be featured on the March 7th concert taping of Song of the Mountains at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia. Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers along with the young Annabelle Watts will provide lots of toe tapping bluegrass and the Wayfarers along with the Hogslop String Band. Rounding out the concert will be the fantastic Americana Music of CharlyHorse from North Carolina.
Since they got together eight years ago, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers have been seen by thousands of fans across the continent at nearly every national bluegrass event. Their professionalism and successful, heavily played recordings keep them in demand with a national audience. JMRR was named the Emerging Artist of the Year by the IBMA in 2012, they are frequent guests on the Grand Ole Opry, and they host the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival each March and November. Their newest recording, Another Day from Life, has been very well received by fans and radio stations alike. A contributing factor to JMRR's success is their active marketing capabilities, due to Mullins' network of radio stations in the Midwest, including a 24/7 webcast and apps for iPhone and Android
Hailing from rural Southeast Ohio, The Wayfarers emerged onto the scene in early 2010 playing their own form of American Roots music. While much of their repertoire is drawn from the Appalachian tradition they revere, The Wayfarers fuse tight musicianship - centered largely by the fiddle - with the high energy that characterized early mountain music. With old-time radio shows setting the example, their style encompasses Appalachian dance music, traditional mountain fiddle tunes, and pre-bluegrass music of the 1920's - resulting in a dose of nostalgic Americana. Their spirited approach to live performance is infectious, and people of all ages are drawn in to the sounds of thumping washtub bass, driving guitars, sawing fiddles, and rich harmonies. Whether it's at a large festival or barn square dance, a rock venue or a busy street corner, The Wayfarers continue to carry this music forward with creativity and authenticity, making it contemporary and fun.
Annabelle Watts is 12 years old and lives in Philpot, KY. Annabelle is a champion fiddle player winning numerous fiddle contest across the country. Annabelle has appeared on RFD-TV,PBS, KET and other local TV throughout the country. Annabelle is a member of the Kids on Bluegrass Program put on by IBMA. Annabelle is a singer/songwriter and has just completed her first EP that was recorded in Nashville.
The Hogslop String Band is a Nashville based old time string band comprised of six energetic young musicians hailing from Georgia, Tennessee, California and North Carolina. Featuring Casy Meikle and Kevin Martin on fiddles, Graham Sherrill on banjo, Gabe Kelley on guitar, Daniel Allen Frazier Jr. on washboard and Casey McBride on the washtub bass, these boys surely raise a ruckus.
Upon forming as a pickup square dance band in the summer of 2009, The Hog Slop String Band has since become one of the most sought after old time string bands of the Tennessee Valley area. Known for their outrageous facial hair and a rollicking repertoire heavily based on Georgia and Middle Tennessee fiddle tunes, these boys have provided entertainment for fashion shows, political conventions and whiskey distilleries as well as countless weddings, festivals and soirees.
Following in the footsteps of such country music luminaries as Uncle Dave Macon and Gid Tanner, they put on a high energy show easily appreciated by both young and old alike.
Chuck Johnson & CharlyHorse is what Americana Music has always strived to be. A group of outstanding musicians and modern day troubadours who weave tales of small southern towns and hellfire preachers, shuttered cotton mills and down home philosophers. The music of Chuck Johnson and CharlyHorse is firmly anchored in the Americana roots tradition. Influences from Country, Bluegrass, R&B and Soul gives each tune its own unique feel. Onstage, the upshot is compelling, soulful performances. The Bands performances are salted with wry humor, and the band camaraderie always invites the audience into the act. Chuck Johnsons& CharlyHorse is truly an American band tailor made for Americana Roots Music.
The Song of the Mountains concert and taping on March 7th will begin at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Tickets and information is available at www.songofthemountains.org or by calling
276-783-6093. Tickets are $ 25 reserved seating.
The concert series is underwritten by the Town of Marion, VA, the Ellis Family Foundation including the General Francis Marion Hotel, Bank of Marion, Morehead State University, Emory and Henry College and Blue Ridge Country 98.1 WBRF Radio. Song of the Mountains/Lincoln Theatre is a non-profit organization.Tags: Joe Mullins & The Radio RamblersSong of the MountainsEvent
Springfield Exit will debut songs from That Was Then including the recently released tracks, “Some Old Day” and “Till the Rivers All Run Dry.” The album will be available for purchase at the event or music fans can purchase it now at Patuxtent Music, Adams County Banjo, iTunes, Amazon, and the Springfield Exit website. Radio programmers can download the music at AirPlayDirect.com.
Vocalist Linda Lay heads an all-star ensemble of award-winning instrumentalists with husband David Lay (guitar and vocals) along with the distinguished talents of three former Johnson Mountain Boys - Marshall Wilborn (bass & vocals), David McLaughlin (mandolin, guitar, banjo, fiddle & vocals) and Tom Adams (banjo). On the album, the group welcomes special harmony vocal guests Tom Mindte on “Lonesome Wind” and Frank Solivan on “Don’t We All Have The Right.”
Springfield ExitCD ReleaseThat Was ThenCD Release PartyEvent
The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band would like to announce that they will be performing at the Lucketts Bluegrass Music Series, 42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, VA 20176, Sat., Feb. 21, 2015. Show time: 7:00 pm. There will light food and drink available. For more info, please call 703-771-5281 or do visit their website at www.LuckettsBluegrass.com
Bill Yates toured with and fronted the band for 9 years until he tragically passed away the night of Monday, January 26, 2015, from complications due to cancer. He leaves behind a historic legacy of music, having the honor of previously performing with many bluegrass greats down through the years, such as Red Allen, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, but most importantly the Country Gentlemen. Now, with a plethora of urging and support from friends, family, fellow musicians and promoters alike, the band has decided to continue on the legacy of the Country Gentlemen as The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band not only without Bill, but also in honor of Bill.
The current lineup continuing to perform on stage will include: Mike Phipps on guitar and "Charlie Waller" sound-alike vocals, David Propst on mandolin and vocals, Rick Briggs on banjo and vocals, Larry Kirk on upright bass and vocals and Mark Clifton on dobro and vocals. This ensemble vows to continue on to put its heart and soul into each performance, trying to satisfy that musical hunger for the multitude of Country Gentlemen fans that are still in this country; especially the ones that truly do miss Charlie Waller & now also, Bill Yates. They will continue to move forward and perform in tribute, as closely as possible, the tunes from yesteryear thought to be long lost for the ages, as they attempt to re-create each tune, vocally and musically as it was previously originally presented and performed.
So don't miss this live tribute to one of the most influential bands in bluegrass history. Come and see and hear the sound that is The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band. You'll walk in awe at hearing what you thought you'd not hear again. www.CountryGentlemenTributeBand.com/Tags: The Country Gentlemen Tribute BandBill YatesConcertEventLucketts
In a special announcement from the DC Bluegrass Union, the Union offers congratulations to all the winners and a very appreciative "Thank you!" to all who entered the contest. There were 81 songs submitted by 45 different songwriters. The association was glad to be part of such a creative community.
The Hazel Dickens song contest celebrates the life and muse of one of bluegrass music's most beloved songwriters. From hardscrabble beginnings in West Virginia coal country in 1935, Hazel moved to Baltimore, MD, as a young woman to find factory work and quickly connected with local musicians. She started performing throughout the Baltimore/Washington region and was soon recognized for her singular mountain singing style and her gift with a lyric.
The winners of the first Hazel Dickens Song Contest have been selected:
- 1st place: "Say What You Mean" by Gary A. Ferguson of Alexandria, VA
- 2nd place: "Midnight Flight" by Nancy Cardwell Erdos of Madison, TN
- 3rd place: "Weeds Where the Flowers of Love Once Grew" by David Morris of Gaithersburg, MD and Chris Dockins of Burke, VA.
- "Baltimore Immigrants" by Karen Collins of Takoma Park, MD
- "Tenth Day of September" by David Morris of Gaithersburg, MD
- "Barre Angel 1918" by Tracy O"Connell of Newburyport, MA
Hazel wrote of coal miners, unionization, hard times, feminism and much more. She recorded several albums with duo partner Alice Gerrard in the 1960s and 1970s and went on to release four records as a solo artist. Among her best known songs are "Won't You Come and Sing for Me," "West Virginia My Home," "Few Old Memories" and "Mama’s Hand." Hazel was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her life came to a close in 2011 following complications from pneumonia.
As the winner of this event, Gary A. Ferguson will perform his song, "Say What You Mean," on the main stage at the DC Bluegrass Festival on February 28th at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel in Vienna, VA.
The contest was judged by John Starling, Dudley Connell and Dede Wyland. Listen to the winning songs here.
The Hazel Dickens Song Contest wishes to congratulate the winners and thank all the contestants and judges for making the competition a success. For more information contact Randy Barrett at 703-405-6230 The Hazel Dickens Song Contest honors the life and muse of one of bluegrass music"s most beloved songwriters. All proceeds help fund the nonprofit DC Bluegrass Union in its mission to promote bluegrass music in the greater Washington area through performance and education.Tags: Hazel DickensHazel Dickens Song ContestDC Bluegrass UnionSongwriting Contest
Nashville, TN -- The Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center will be hosting their annual fundraiser on February 21st to celebrate trailblazing legend Dr. Ralph Stanley's 88th birthday. The star-studded event will feature performances from Country mainstay Lee Ann Womack, Bluegrass prodigy Nathan Stanley, rising stars Virginia Whirlwind and more. The annual event will take place at The Holiday Inn in Bristol, VA. You can learn more about the event and the Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center HERE.
"I'm looking forward to my 88th birthday celebration this year. I really appreciate the Ralph Stanley Museum for honoring me this way."
- Dr. Ralph Stanley
So far, 2015 has been a roaring success for the Bluegrass superstar. His latest album Man of Constant Sorrow was released exclusively through Cracker Barrel in January. Rolling Stone calls the album "a dazzling mixture of fiddle-happy toe-tappers and mournful mountain ballads." Man of Constant Sorrow features collaborations with Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Dierks Bentley, Lee Ann Womack and more. You can purchase a copy at your nearest Cracker Barrel, or online HERE.
For over 6 decades he has become one of the most influential artists of all time. Born in 1927 in Big Spraddle VA, Ralph Stanley was the second child of Lucy Jane and Lee Stanley. In 1946, along with his older brother Carter Stanley, they formed the legendary Stanley Brothers duo. The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys became one of the most popular brother acts in Country Music history. The Stanley Brothers traveled together for 20 years, recording some of the most mournful mountain songs to date.
In 2000, Ralph was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. In 2002, Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" of the haunting rendition of "Oh Death" that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou." In 2006, he received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress and National medal of arts given by President George W. Bush. Ralph Stanley is not only an American treasure, but an international Icon.Tags: Dr. Ralph StanleyBirthdayNathan StanleyCelebration
Portland, OR -- The sound of Portland based band, The Hillwilliams new album, Hill Yeah! starts with the hard driving sound of traditional bluergrass music, mixes in a bit of gypsy jazz and Dawg music, a couple of waltzes, some sweet three-part harmony singing, hot soloing throughout and ends up delivering a unique and satisfying blend of string band music.
Brought together initially by admiration for bluegrass masters like Bill Monroe and The Stanley Brothers as well as 1970s bluegrass supergroup Old and in the Way, The Hillwilliams blend three strong vocalists, smoking fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and doghouse bass, into a fun high energy mix, that harkens back to classic bluegrass, while exploring an exciting sound of their own. Whether they are playing the best of the traditional bluegrass repertoire, or playing their own original bluegrass songs, their shows are fun, high energy events that leave audiences asking for more.\
Hill Yeah! includes vocal and instrumental tunes written by the band as well as songs by acclaimed Portlaned songwriters Ron Rogers and Scotland Barr.
We're excited to have recorded this album in much the same way that bluegrass has traditionally been captured, with several musicians gathered around a single microphone blending their voices and instruments live.
Hill Yeah! will be available at all Hillwilliams shows as well as online from iTunes and CDBaby. Please check out The Hillwilliams at http://www.facebook.com/thehillwilliamsTags: The Hillwilliams BandCD ReleaseHill Yeah!
Hiltons, VA -- Appalachian Trail is a union of seasoned and innovative singers, songwriters, and musicians who are breaking new ground in the bluegrass arena. Ireland, Scotland, England, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Holland, and Switzerland are some of the countries that have hosted the talents of the individuals in this band, as well as coast-to-coast here at home. Formed in 1984, the band combines strong lead vocals, tight harmonies, and distinctive picking. Saturday, February 21st, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of traditional bluegrass music by Appalachian Trail. Adult admission to the concert is $10, $1 for children 6 to 11, and under age 6 free.
Tommy Austin is no stranger to the bluegrass community. He started playing guitar and singing with his mother in church growing up in Fall Branch, Tennessee. After hearing Jim McCamey play, he moved to the mandolin when he became interested in the bluegrass sound. Through the years, he has played in several bands including the Horsecreek Mountain Boys, Clear Creek, the Rising Wind, Limited Edition, Tennessee Skyline, and the Hopsons. Currently he sings lead and harmony, plays mandolin, and shares the songwriting and arranging with the other members of Appalachian Trail.
Vickie Austin began singing at an early age with her dad in church. At age 13, she was given an old upright piano for her birthday. She sang with her sister for many years and eventually discovered a love for the bluegrass sound. Vickie sang and played bass for Twin Springs Bluegrass Band and eventually joined her husband in Appalachian Trail. She developed an extensive vocal range and honed her skills on the upright bass. Vickie plays bass for the group and sings lead and harmony vocals.
Allen Hughes has played guitar with Appalachian Trail for six years. A life-long love of music became apparent to his family, when, at the age of four, he declared he wanted to be “Johnny Cash” when he grew up. Traditional country, especially Merle Haggard, has been a big influence to him. As a teenager, he was introduced to, and took lessons from G.C. Matlock in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Soon after, he played with several friends from college in the band Blue Ridge Tradition. While playing jams at festivals, the back room of the Down Home, the Chuck Trading Post, and the Rheatown Store, he met his friend and band mate, Tommy Austin. Their first musical experience began in the late eighties in the band, the Rising Wind. Their friendship and music has grown over 25 years. He lends his vocals to several songs on lead, baritone, and bass. His distinctive style sets him apart from most guitar players.
Glen Rose has been playing the banjo since the age of 10 and was inspired by his cousin Buddy Rose who gave him lessons. Other influences include Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Carl Jackson, and countless others. Glen has played with several groups through the years and at an early age of 14, Glen and his brother John performed as special guests of Lester Flatt on the Grand Ole Opry. He has been a part of the ETSU Bluegrass Band while working on his BS degree in computer science. He has appeared on several albums over the years and has his own solo banjo instrumental album. In his spare time, Glen teaches guitar and banjo.
For some of the best traditional bluegrass music around, don’t miss Appalachian Trail at the Carter Family Fold! For additional information on the group, check out their web site – http://www.appygrass.com/. Vickie has been playing on the Carter Fold stage since she was a little girl, and Appalachian Trail has performed many times over the years. The Fold is always proud to welcome them back.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter– Twitter @carterfoldinfo.Tags: Appalachian TrailCarter Family FoldConcertEvent
Nashville, TN -- Blue Highway's Tim Stafford was named Guitar Player of the Year at the 41st Annual SPBGMA Awards held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sunday night in Nashville. The award marks two Guitar Player of the Year honors for Stafford and a total of six cumulative SPBGMA honors for Blue Highway. The honor comes on the heels of Stafford earning the 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year Award last October in Raleigh.
“It's an honor to be nominated for any award, and it was quite a shock to win this!” said Stafford. “I'm thankful to all the folks who voted and would like to offer congratulations to all the nominees.”
A gifted songwriter, vocalist, instrumentalist, producer, author, and teacher, Stafford has won more than awards in over two decades in the music industry. Tim has garnered respect industry-wide from his students, fans and peers, for both his musical ability and his character.
As social media lit up following Tim's win, fellow artist Shannon Slaughter weighed in, "If I had to choose just one guitar man to listen to, I believe it'd be him..."
Blue Highway lead vocalist and bass player Wayne Taylor shared: “We the members of Blue Highway have known for years what an innovative player Tim is. In this day and time, it's hard to develop a style, but Tim has done that. When you hear him play you know who you are listening to.”
Stafford's appeal may be summed up best and most simply by fan Dennis Smalley of Virginia as he relayed of Tim's win: "Very deserving of this award. He is a player's player, and one heck of a nice guy!"
Blue Highway have SOLD OUT half their concerts to date in 2015, and have been honored with a career cumulative 24 IBMA Awards, 6 SPBGMA Awards, one Dove Award, and two Grammy nominations.
Upcoming appearances for Blue Highway include performing the National Anthem for the biggest game of the year at Knoxville's powerhouse Thompson-Boling Arena for the Tennessee Vols game with the undefeated #1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats in SEC Men’s Basketball action on Tuesday, February 17, at 7:00 pm EST. Concert performances include February 27-28 in Harrisonburg and Tysons Corner, VA, as well as West Coast stops at the Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne, CA, on March 5, and the Bluegrass on the Beach Festival in Lake Havasu City, AZ, on March 6-7, 2015.Tim StaffordGuitarSPBGMAAwardNational AnthemBlue Highway
Ola Belle Reed was born Ola Wave Campbell on August 17, 1916, in Grassy Creek, North Carolina and has placed her indelible mark in traditional mountain music. She has performed with the North Carolina Ridge Runners, New River Gang, and was an active musician throughout the region often performing with other family members including her husband, Bud Reed, David Reed, Ralph Reed, Herb Campbell, and Alex Campbell.
Last year's ALTA Awards featured performances by Danny Paisley, Dave Reed and Hugh Campbell to highlight their participation in the forthcoming Dust-to-Digital multi-media production of Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line. Due to be released this year, this piece of folklore has been recovered, remastered, and reproduced along with a profile and history of this outstanding woman and her contributions to America's musical heritage.
Ola Bella Reed's autobiographical song, "I've Endured"
Tags: Ola Belle ReedNew ReleaseBookVideoDust-to-DigitalOla Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line
Coming February 24th will be the latest album from bluegrass music favorites, The Gibson Brothers. Their newest album, Brotherhood is accompanied with a Deering Banjo contest. To celebrate the upcoming release of The Gibson Brothers’ new album Brotherhood, Paste is partnering with Rounder Records and Deering Banjos to give away a custom banjo valued at $749.
To enter, click here and tell us about your favorite non-Gibson Brothers sibling act, across any media (music, TV, literature, etc.). You can be as specific as you want—just give us the name of the act, or explain why you’re a fan. We’ll draw the winner at random from the pool of entries at 12:00 a.m. on Feb. 24.
The Gibson Brothers have created a video (which you can watch below) explaining the contest, and once we’ve chosen a winner on Feb. 24, they’ll be back with another video announcing who will be the lucky one to take home the banjo, giving viewers a taste of the new record and signing the banjo.
The Grand Prize winner will receive a Deering – Goodtime Two banjo, which includes an autographed, custom-designed head depicting the new album cover, as well as a plain head that can be swapped out for the custom head. On top of that, five runner-up winners will receive an autographed copy of the new album, Brotherhood, and as a bonus, anyone who participates will receive a free download of the track “Bye Bye Love” as part of the submission process.
For thousands of years, sailors navigated by the stars, trusting the constellations to keep them on the correct course. The same celestial bodies that led them away from home were the same ones that directed them back. Since childhood, Eric and Leigh Gibson’s guiding stars have been songs recorded by music’s greatest brother duos: the Monroes, the Louvins, and the Everlys, whose close harmonies have captivated listeners for decades.
On February 24, 2015, the two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year will release Brotherhood, a salute to those influential groups.
“Making an album like this is something we’ve always talked about,” explains Leigh Gibson. “At some point you have to stop talking and start doing.”
Older brother Eric elaborates: “We love that tradition of brothers singing together, and to pay tribute to that shows people where our hearts are.”
For Brotherhood, Eric and Leigh chose fifteen songs from country, bluegrass, and early rock ‘n’ roll brother acts. The track listing reflects nearly a century of American music history, from “The Eastbound Train,” a parlor tune with roots that can be traced back to the 1890s, to “It’ll Be Her,” a Top 20 single released by Tompall and the Glaser Brothers in 1982. This is the music the Gibsons grew up with on the family dairy farm in Ellenburg Depot, a tiny town in upstate New York that was closer to the Canadian border than it was to a record store.
Brotherhood is the Gibsons’ twelfth album since their 1993 debut, Underneath a Harvest Moon. 20 years on, Eric and Leigh have matured considerably as musicians, writers and performers, causing an ever-growing legion of bluegrass fans to take notice and garnering impressive amounts of critical acclaim: not only did the band win IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 2012 and 2013, but the organization presented Eric with the prestigious Songwriter of the Year Award last year as well. The Gibson Brothers have come into their own, combining their wide-ranging influences – live shows are often peppered with a variety of covers ranging from Buck Owens to Tom Petty – into a unique style that honors tradition while still sounding refreshingly new.
The material is familiar, yet in some ways Brotherhood is an album of firsts. It’s the Gibson Brothers’ first album on Rounder Records, their first covers project, and it’s also the first release that includes the newest member of the band, award-winning mandolin player and vocalist Jesse Brock, who joined the group in late 2012.
Though Brock has only been with the band for two years, the lineup has never sounded tighter. Fiddler Clayton Campbell has been with the band for a decade, and bassist Mike Barber has played with Leigh and Eric for so long that he’s affectionately known as the third Gibson Brother. While their stunning harmonies capture most of the fan and critical attention, Eric and Leigh are also accomplished musicians, playing banjo and guitar, respectively.
While this impeccable five-man team is the heart of the record, which was largely recorded live in the studio, several guests appear on Brotherhood, giving the album a welcome dose of variety while still remaining true to the original songs and the Gibsons’ own sound. Ronnie and Rob McCoury sing and play mandolin and banjo on a spellbinding version of “What a Wonderful Savior is He,” a song that was recorded by The Four Brothers Quartet, a 1959 collaboration between Knoxville-area duos the Webster and Brewster Brothers. Ronnie Reno, a former Osborne Brothers sideman, lends harmony vocals to “Each Season Changes You” and one of the most beloved songs of the bluegrass canon, “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” Russ Pahl (who’s played on sessions for Don Williams, Kacey Musgraves, and dozens more) contributes aching pedal steel to the stunning version of the Everly Brothers’ “Crying in the Rain” that closes out the album, while drummer Sam Zucchini, who appeared on several of the Gibsons’ earlier releases, provides percussion.
Listeners will immediately recognize material released by familiar names like Phil and Don Everly (“Bye Bye Love” and “Crying in the Rain”), Charlie and Ira Louvin (“Seven Year Blues”), Jim and Jesse McReynolds (“Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes”), and Carter and Ralph Stanley (“How Mountain Girls Can Love”), but Brotherhood includes covers of songs recorded by some lesser-known acts as well, including The Blue Sky Boys (“The Sweetest Gift”), The York Brothers (“Long Gone”), and The Church Brothers (“Angel with Blue Eyes”). These are duos whose harmonies fit together so tightly that you can’t tell where one voice stops and the other begins. The concept of families singing together is a tradition that stretches back through the history of folk music, and with 20 years of professional musicianship behind them, the Gibson Brothers, using those groups as a compass, have established themselves as proud keepers of that musical heritage.
“These are the acts that pointed us in our direction musically. After we got going, we went our own way for a while,” explains Leigh. “But the process of making this record brought us back to the music we were listening to when we were just getting started. So many of these songs, when we sing them, I feel like I did when I was 15 years old, sitting in our living room in the farmhouse and learning how to play. This music is a part of our soul.”Tags: Gibson BrothersDeering BanjosCD ReleaseBrotherhoodRounder RecordsContest