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FreshGrass Award Finalists Confirmed

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 22:45

North Adams, MA -- Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA) FreshGrass celebrates the freshest talent on the bluegrass stage with 19 finalists participating in the 2015 FreshGrass Award Contest. Finalists in the band, duo, banjo, and fiddle categories perform for a panel led by Grammy Award-winner and master banjoist Alison Brown on Saturday and Sunday of the festival, with winners announced on Sunday afternoon. Open for all festival-goers, the contests showcase the future of bluegrass and roots music when the bands play original and traditional tunes. With cash and prizes totaling $25,000, winners receive a performance spot at next year’s festival, recording sessions at Compass Records, and hand-crafted instruments from Deering and Eastman. FreshGrass hosts three days of music, with almost 50 acts taking the stage in North Adams on September 18-20, 2015.

FreshGrass kicks off on Friday, September 18, with Punch Brothers, Houndmouth, Flatt Lonesome, and 2014 FreshGrass Band Award winner Twisted Pine. Saturday, September 19, features Dwight Yoakam, Leftover Salmon, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan, Alison Brown, Vieux Farka Touré & Julia Easterlin, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Mr. Sun, Ballroom Thieves, Birds of Chicago, FreshGrass Award winners Quiles & Cloud and Cat and the Moon, and bands from Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Music Program. Sunday, September 20, keeps rolling with The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Greensky Bluegrass, Willie Watson, Peter Rowan, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and The Man in Grass – A Tribute to Johnny Cash.

With the Award now in its third year, the festival celebrates the success of past winners who have played the FreshGrass stage. Inaugural band winner Cricket Tell the Weather has toured the Northeast, released its debut album, and is in the process of creating an album of fiddler Andrea Asprelli’s original music. Asprelli and Cricket’s style pulls from many music stylings, something that the FreshGrass Award has always encouraged. “[Our] aesthetic borrows from bluegrass, and it borrows from old-time music and folk and spirituals,’ [Asprelli] says, noting that she’s not aiming for a pristine re-creation of any one style” (The Boston Globe). 2014 Award finalist Molly Tuttle hits the road this fall on an extensive tour and makes time in the studio to record her debut record, looking to expand her bluegrass roots.

Band Award Finalists

The classically trained The Blackberry Bushes Stringband brings a distinctive brand of Americana to FreshGrass all the way from Seattle, Washington. The band’s classical roots shine through, with elements of jazz and pop songwriting, anchored by fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s prestige. Blackberry Bushes maintains an active touring and recording schedule, with a debut record scheduled for release on August 28.

Some of the finest instrumentalists to emerge from Berklee School of Music in the last few years have assembled behind frontman Max Wareham to form Max Wareham & the Morning Bugle. With crystal-clear harmonies and a rough-around-the-edges flair, this quintet will be fresh off its first national tour when it blows through FreshGrass.

Tony Trischka says, “Mile Twelve is carrying the bluegrass tradition forward with creativity and integrity.” Each element of this quartet is absolutely top-shelf, but its most remarkable trait is its unity of sound, drawing equally from jazz, bluegrass, and even old-time swing music. Fans of The Seldom Scene and Johnson Mountain Boys race toward Mile Twelve.

Old Salt Union finds influence in the bluegrass roots of the Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush, while stretching the boundaries of traditional bluegrass music by incorporating in-depth musical arrangements, catchy hooks, and an uncanny pop sensibility. The band won the STL Riverfront Times “Best Bluegrass Band” in 2013 and “Best Country Band” in 2014, all while traveling the country.

Stash Wyslouch is one of bluegrass’ great young genre-bending pioneers. He got his start as a guitarist in metal bands before immersing himself in the sounds and structures of roots music, forming The Deadly Gentlemen (a FreshGrass 2013 alum) to release an acclaimed debut on Rounder Records. Here he appears with his brand new quartet, Stash Wyslouch Stringband, featuring a who’s-who of players from around the Northeast.

Duo Award Finalists

Fiddle/banjo player Stephanie Coleman and guitarist Kristin Andreassen developed their sound around campfires in New Hampshire and at bars in Brooklyn – in fact, they’ve hosted the legendary Monday night jams at Lowlands bar for the past five years. Kristin is an award-winning songwriter, percussive dancer, and in-demand square dance caller whose performances are at once “inventive” (The New Yorker) and deeply rooted in tradition. Stephanie is a perennial finalist at the renowned national fiddle contest in Clifftop, West Virginia.

The Littlest Birds hail from California with a fresh take on the old-time duo. With banjo, cello, and a rope of two-part harmony, Sharon Martinson and David Huebner evoke the open plains with equal nods to Bill Monroe and Aaron Copland. They visit FreshGrass on a 25-show Northeast tour.

Rachel Sumner of 2014 Band Award winner Twisted Pine returns to FreshGrass with her new folk/bluegrass duo Sumner & Moss. She sings and plays alongside Sam Moss, "a fingerpicking guitar virtuoso who characterizes the folk spirit in the finest sense" (Paste). The songwriting is pan-roots, pulling inspiration from country along with classic bluegrass.

Husband-wife duo Zoe & Cloyd swap fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin in tightly woven arrangements. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, their songwriting is equally at home in the Smoky Mountains or the Berkshires.

Banjo Award Finalists

Based in Prairieville, Louisiana, Matt Blaize is a multi-instrumental tour de force. A master of the jazz flute and electric bass (he placed as a finalist at the International Society of Bassists competition in Kalamazoo, Michigan), he appears here with his banjo, with which he boasts an unusually lyrical and expressive style of picking.

Boston-via-New Zealand banjoist Catherine Bowness studied with Tony Trischka and Bill Evans, and worked with David Grisman and Julian Lage. Her rhythm is impeccable, earning her second place in the prestigious RockyGrass competition in 2012. She also appears in the contest with her band, Mile Twelve.

15-year-old Victor Furtado is a genuine banjo prodigy, with a host of national contest appearances since the age of 11. Bluegrass Today says of his debut album, “This is a young man with an absurdly precocious talent and a depth of understanding of old-time music that is at odds with his age.” He visits FreshGrass from Front Royal, Virginia.

The Blackberry Bushes Stringband banjoist Alex Genova takes the spotlight for a solo performance and a chance at the FreshGrass banjo crown. Hailing from Washington state, he is a blazing Scruggs-style picker with a talent and humor that recalls a young Ralph Stanley.

Douglas Jay Goldstein first appeared at FreshGrass with the 2013 Award winner Cricket Tell the Weather, and has since become a festival fixture. He appears here with a set of Eastern-inflected banjo compositions under the name DOUGMORE.

Fiddle Award Finalists

New York-based fiddler Rob Hecht left his stamp on countless records in just ten years on the scene. He appeared on Abigail Washburn’s Tiny Desk Concert, guested with bygone-swing kings Cangelosi Cards, and has worked in-studio with Noam Pikelny. He brings his trademark blend of old-time, jazz, and classical to the Hunter Center stage.

Bronwyn Keith-Hynes is quickly becoming one of the country’s most in-demand fiddle players, appearing onstage recently with Peter Rowan, The Milk Carton Kids, Anais Mitchell, Joe Pug, and Tony Trischka. Last year, she won first prize in the Walnut Valley Fiddle Competition in Winfield, Kansas, arguably the highest honor in the field. She also appears at the festival with her band, Mile Twelve.

Fiddler Carolyn Kendrick began playing violin at the age of four. Now a student at Berklee School of Music and a member of the Berklee World Strings, Kendrick culls her fiddle style from a wide range of genres that include roots music, jazz, and funk.

Avery Merritt has played violin since the age of four and is equally at home in classical, bluegrass, rock, and jazz repertoire. He is currently enrolled in the Berklee College of Music American Roots Music program. This is his first FreshGrass festival.

At the age of 20, Kathleen Parks is already a world-class innovator on the fiddle. The daughter of jazz trumpeter Eric Parks and hailing from a deep-rooted Irish family, she fuses these two threads in her playing style and compositions. You may recognize her from FreshGrass 2014 Band Award winner Twisted Pine.

In addition to the music happening across three stages and two courtyards and throughout galleries, FreshGrass offers a hearty lineup of instrument workshops, luthiers, family programming, downtown camping, late-night dance parties, and legendary jam sessions. Admission to MASS MoCA's galleries — where festival-goers find concerts set amidst dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art such as Jim Shaw’s Entertaining Doubts — is included in the price of festival admission.

FreshGrass, September 18–20, 2015, at MASS MoCA, continues to be one of the best values on the festival circuit. Three-day festival passes are available for $99 for adults, $115 day-of, $89 for students, and $46 for children 7 to 16. Friday passes are $38 in advance, $42 day-of, $28 for students, and $20 for children 7 to 16. Saturday passes are $52 in advance, $56 day-of, $40 for students, and $28 for children 7 to 16. Sunday passes are $46 in advance, $50 day-of, $36 for students, and $24 for children 7 to 16. Available for $300, FreshPass is a deluxe festival experience offering preferred seating at all stages, meet-and-greet opportunities with FreshGrass artists, access to the FreshPass lounge, and locally sourced snacks and beer. Children 6 and under are admitted for free. Museum members receive a 10% discount on the regular ticket prices. Museum admission is included in the price of the festival pass. The festival will be held rain or shine.

Tags: FreshGrassMASS MoCACompetitionFinalistsAwardsEventBluegrass Festival

More Artists Added to AmericanaFest Lineup

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 22:39

The Americana Music Association unveiled an additional 30+ artists to its 16th annual AmericanaFest lineup this week. Known for its “spirit of eclecticism” (New York Times) and community, the festival will offer more than 170 official showcases across more than a dozen Music City venues including newly announced performances by Glen Hansard, Jewel, Hot Rize featuring Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, Jay Farrar (performing songs from Son Volt’s “Trace”), Buddy Miller & Marc Ribot, JD McPherson, Parker Millsap, Joel Rafael, Nellie Clay, Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear and the Watkins Family Hour.

The Americana Music Festival & Conference, presented by Nissan, officially kicks off on Tuesday Sept. 15, with registration pick-up starting at 5 PM CT at The Basement followed by an Early Bird Kick-Off Bash presented by The Bluegrass Situation at 8 PM CT. Additional opening night events will include the annual Australiana @ Americana event at The Bluebird Cafe and a special book signing by Jewel at City Winery Nashville, both at 6 PM CT. Jewel will also perform later that evening along with Donnie Fritts & John Paul White , JD Souther, and JD and the Straight Shot in the traditional showcase format. On the other side of Nashville, you will find the Eastside Throwdown – Sin City vs Guitar Town, bringing the community together from far and wide.

The Festival & Conference Registration ($415 for members / $515 for non-members) is the premier ‘pass’ to experience the “Booming Genre” (Entertainment Weekly) offering priority admission to all showcase venues and invitation only events; access to daytime educational panels and parties and a ticket to the critically acclaimed Honors & Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium. Click here to purchase your Festival & Conference registration. Walk up rates will go up to $515, so act now and save. Tickets to the Honors & Awards are reserved for full Festival and Conference registrants only***

Just interested in the music? AmericanaFest wristbands cost ONLY $60 and get you admission into all participating nighttime venues to experience more than 170 acts over five nights, sanctioned cocktail parties and a weekend stocked with music and community events. Wristbands do not get you admission to the Ascend Amphitheater, the Ryman Auditorium or the Hutton Hotel

$60 ALL VENUE Wristbands are currently on sale at Grimey's New and Preloved Music, 1604 8th Avenue South, Nashville, 37204 or at The Groove New and Used Vinyl & Cd's, 1103 Calvin Avenue, Nashville 37206 and online at mercylounge.com.

This years AmericanaFest also features two special separately ticketed events for the entire community. The Tribute to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (SOLD OUT) Monday, September 14 and the multi stage outdoor event at the Ascend Amphitheatre on Saturday September 19 featuring Loretta Lynn, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Nikki Lane, Tift Merritt, Valerie June and more. Tickets for this event at Nashville’s newest outdoor venue are still available and start at $25. Purchase your tickets here: http://concerts.livenation.com/event/1B004EFBCBD56EE5?bba=1 - Conference Registrants will receive a discount code to purchase discounted lawn tickets.

More information on AmericanaFest, The Americana Music Festival and Conference, presented by Nissan, is available at americanamusic.org.

Tags: AmericanaFestAmericana Music Festival & ConferenceAmericana Music AssociationLineupEvent

Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 22:10
Dust-to-Digital is excited to present the first in-depth look at the life of Ola Belle Reed, a groundbreaking artist who ranks highly among the all-time greatest performers of authentic, old-time music.

"What do you do when different musical forms come into a kind of fusion of what today is called old-time music, and country music, and the folk song revival? I think that story is in Ola Belle." - Henry Glassie, co-author of Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line

This deluxe edition highlights Ola Belle’s deep repertoire – folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals – and traces the impact her music made and is still making today. Included are in-depth essays and liner notes by noted folklorists Henry Glassie and Cliff Murphy, as well as incredible sounding audio transferred by Doug Peach and remastered by Osiris Studio.

New Book and CD Set Sheds Light on the Music and Legacy of Ola Belle Reed

Dust-to-Digital is excited to present the first in-depth look at the life of Ola Belle Reed, a groundbreaking artist who is one of the all-time greatest performers of authentic, old-time music. Ola Belle Reed’s 1960s recordings, some of the earliest she ever made and available here for the very first time, are counter-balanced by a disc of modern-day field recordings of her descendants and those within her Appalachian community that she inspired. This deluxe edition highlights Ola Belle’s deep repertoire – folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals – and traces the impact her music made and is still making today with 58 newly-remastered recordings and texts by Henry Glassie and Cliff Murphy.

One of the more interesting record labels for older music with a unique twist has always been Dust-to-Digital. The label has just announced their Book and CD media package Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line. This latest collection by Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy and Douglas Dowling Peach should be a welcome addition to those who cherish the traditional mountain music of the past.

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.

Ola Bella Reed's autobiographical song, "I've Endured"

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.

Tags: Ola Belle ReedOla Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon LineCD ReleaseBookDust-to-Digital

Hot Rize Releases 'Your Light Leads Me On' Video

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 22:07
Hot Rize is releasing their new video for 'Your Light Leads Me On' filmed in the streets of New York City/Times Square with Mason Jar Music. Pete Wernick commented, "As the only native New York City boy in the group, very familiar with Times Square, it was wild and weird to be picking banjo there, plowing along through the curious onlookers, not to mention Batman, the Statue of Liberty, Disney characters, etc. The lights of the giant video billboards really contrast ironically with what the song is about... a lonesome driver saying to the moon, 'Your Light Leads Me On'."

Following the release of When I’m Free, Hot Rize will tour nationwide this fall and into 2015, sure to please not only longtime fans of the band, but countless new fans who’ve discovered bluegrass and Americana music in more recent times. Says Sutton, “Nobody’s been a bigger Hot Rize fan than me, and that’s a perspective I’ve tried to maintain as a member of the band. I’m excited about this new record, and I can’t wait to introduce new fans to the Hot Rize experience.”

Here is the video for "Your Light Leads Me On"...

The band released another video, "A Cowboy's Life" a few months ago. That video presented a clear juxtaposition between the city views of New York and the performance of a more traditional bluegrass group.

Here is their first video for "A Cowboy's Life"...

With writing and rehearsals placing Hot Rize firmly back in their groove, recording When I’m Free took just five days at the solar-powered Studio at eTown Hall in Boulder. The musicians eschewed booths and headphones in favor of sitting in a circle and recording live off the floor – “the first time I’ve recorded like that since 1971,” muses Wernick. This organic approach resulted in an album that crackles with the energy of a Hot Rize live show, even if the band’s Western Swing alter-ego sidekicks, Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers, aren’t present.

Tags: Hot RizeVideoYour Light Leads Me On

Mountain Faith Releases Single from Upcoming Album

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:00

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce the release of brand new music from America's Got Talent rising stars, Mountain Faith. "Emily (It's Love)" is available to radio and consumers today and is the first single from the band's upcoming album titled That Which Matters, due for release this fall.

North Carolina's Mountain Faith is Summer McMahan on fiddle and lead vocals, her brother Brayden on banjo, their dad Sam, on bass, with Luke Dotson on guitar, and Cory Piatt on mandolin. Although the band has been performing together since 2000, it's only been in the last few years that the music industry has begun taking note of the talented ensemble. In fact, Mountain Faith just received their first IBMA Awards nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year while Summer received a nomination for IBMA's Momentum Award in the Vocalist category. The awards will take place on Thursday, October 1st in Raleigh, NC and the band hopes to be in attendance.

While bluegrass fans may have been on the Mountain Faith "bandwagon" for a few years now, the rest of the country is really taking notice of the family band as they appear regularly as contestants on NBC television's popular show, America's Got Talent. Thus far, the band has made it through the Judge Cuts and will now be voted through to the finals by the television viewing audience. The band has gained a vast amount of new fans through their performances of popular songs in a bluegrass style. Their next performance will be live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on August 25th. The show will air at 8:00pm ET on NBC and everyone is encouraged to watch and place their vote for Mountain Faith. If the band wins the competition, they'll be awarded a prize of $1,000,000—allowing them to ease up their work schedule at their family business, High Country Tire in Sylva, NC, and concentrate more on their music business.

When Mountain Faith isn't appearing on national television or working at High Country Tire, they are traveling across the country performing at various events. And, they've managed to find time to work on their latest album for Mountain Fever Records, That Which Matters, due for release this fall. "Emily (It's Love)" is the first single from the new album. Of the single, John Lawless of Bluegrass Today says, "Battistelli included the song on her 2011 album, Hundred More Years, as a duet with Dave Barnes who co-wrote with her, but here Summer McMahan sings it solo with a slurry, slippery style that is very modern while remaining true to her bluegrass roots. Simply brilliant."

Consumers may purchase the song through iTunes. For more about Mountain Faith, visit www.mountainfaithband.com.

Tags: Mountain FaithSingleEmilyNew Release

We've Lost that Loving Feeling: What Happened to the Music?

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:00

Emmylou Harris pointed out years ago that the soul is lost in today's music. We've lost that front porch or livingroom essence of the music. Today, it is polished, spit-shined, buffed and massaged into what the band/producer perceives as perfection. In the process, we've lost the soul. Why do Charlie Poole, Hylo Brown, Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, Appalachian and Hillbilly bands endure today more so than many of the top bands in the last 20 years? Because they have that extra piece that isn't comprised of notes or recording techniques. Some of the finest music didn't have the luxury of fancy recording studios, expensive microphones, exotic digital "effects" systems, etc. What they did have is a dimension that has been lost as artists strive for the perfection. They don't realize that their perfection is what hurts their sound.

Before Bill Monroe created Bluegrass music, very similar styles already existed. 3-Finger style banjo existed before Earl Scruggs invented it. Listen to Tom Paley, Snuffy Jenkins, Charlie Poole, Uncle Dave Macon, Doc Boggs and other banjo pioneers for examples. Lester Flatt drop-thumb method of guitar playing didn't even use a flat-pick yet that is today's method du jour and it is always entertaining to listen to people attempt the Flatt G-run sound but play the guitar differently. William Lake gets it and is doing a fine job in recreating that Flatt guitar sound.

Part of the problem is that with today's exposure to top bands being blown wide open by the digital age, a false sense of security has evolved. Make an album just like the top album and it will sell. These are the albums I try and avoid. I first recognized the problem distinctly when female artists started pouring out albums with the Alison Krauss sound (Tina Adair, et al). Some tried so hard to emulate even her voice that their albums were almost clones of Alison's voice. A total turn-off for me. Today, there are way too many bands that all sound the same. I understand that they are following the model of what sells but it isn't selling for the long haul. Sure, over time, they all evolve into their own musical personality but for now, way too many are all the same.

It is when these bands do evolve into their own unique blend of music, voices and personality that they really take off. Some go their own direction and others try and follow tradition. There is no right or wrong -- it is natural evolution of music. Some bands can really bring a new perspective to Bluegrass. That's where the fire in this style of music lies. That's its future and surprisingly, it's future roots.

Some bands over the years just popped onto the scene and blow you away. The SteelDrivers, Seldom Scene, Charlie Waller, Lonesome River Band, Blue Highway are just a few that made one sit up and take notice of Bluegrass. Founded in tradition, a unique sound, lacking all the polish, even having grit, they survive the test of time. A band's sound is, to my ears, more pleasant when they are just starting out than it is after they have recorded a couple of albums and have been on the road for a while. Some of my favorite Bluegrass albums will never be award winners because they lack the cosmetics that much of today is using to cover the imperfections. Maybe they're trying harder or they're testing the waters. Whatever it is, their early music flows naturally and freely.

There are those talented artists that can pull it off. Lonesome River Band being one prime example. Sammy Shelor's banjo has "it." That pick a microsecond before the beat works and he does it effortlessly. That intentional and musical "imperfection" is just perfect! While other banjo players can play his songs, they can't do it his way. All the members of LRB have that special "touch" and this is why LRB gets awards while others that may sound the same just aren't the same.

Blue Highway has solid roots in the Appalachian region and you can hear it. It has the soul and the essence. It's played right by a superb group of musicians that know when too much is too much and when not enough is not enough and how to balance it all together into a real Bluegrass sound. It's no wonder that this band has remained a favorite for over two decades. Their collection of awards and their popularity across the nation attest to their staying power. It doesn't get much better than this when you're looking for "that sound" that keeps the music alive.

The importance of the Big Bang of Country music by Ralph Peer in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia can not be over stated. From the well known Carter Family to the Stoneman family and from the Stamps Quartet to the Smyth Country Ramblers, the foundation of what was to become Bluegrass was well laid and established. Another musical evolution of hillbilly Appalachian Mountain Music would be shaped and molded later by Bill Monroe. These early recordings of the country mountain music of Appalachia, captured for a broader distribution and broadcast, probably did more for today's music than even Bill Monroe himself. The foundations of Bluegrass were all there in those hills and hollows surrounding the mines, mills, factories and farms. If you're trying to capture the soulful essence of the music, that is squarely where it is. More long-enduring country and Bluegrass artists came from that region of the country than anywhere else. There's a reason. Bands that can retain that piece as well as the mechanics of playing the notes and singing are the bands that make it for the long run. They're the few that capture my attention and keep me listening.

In the days of vinyl and only vinyl, I learned to follow the labels. From Bluegrass to underground European rock, following the labels took me on uncharted paths of music that I never regretted. There are those labels today that peak my interest. Patuxent Records, Rural Rhythm's "Heritage Collection" and Mountain Home Records are always worth checking out. Rounder and Rebel were certainly primary labels to follow during the mid 80s and 90s. Others have come and gone including Turquoise, Flying Fish, and a host of others. Generally the artists on these labels were artists to explore and hear. Some made the big time and others didn't however, it was rarely, if ever, boring. The music on these labels during their respective peak times is music to be cherished, even today.

The soulful sound is there. You may need to look for it but, its there. If you want it live, you'll need to venture into the territory where it was born and where it is still healthy and growing today. Some of the bands aren't even real bands -- they're more of just some good friends who get together regularly to perform. Maybe this is why festival campground jams are such an important part of Bluegrass. Why some buy their tickets yet never venture to the stage area. They have found their true nirvana of Bluegrass enlightenment.

Tags: EditorialOpinionBob CherryBluegrass MusicMountain MusicAppalachia

“Run Away Tonight” by Chris Jones & The Night Drivers Available Today

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:00
Nashville, TN -- Part of the musical depth of Chris Jones & The Night Drivers’ new Mountain Home release is due to the longevity not just of the group, but of this lineup. Chris Jones founded the band in 1995, marking 20 years this year. Chris was joined in 2003 by bass man Jon Weisberger and by banjoist Ned Luberecki. German-born mandolin player Mark Stoffel signed on in 2008 and since then, the quartet’s turned into one of the genre’s tightest and most empathetic ensembles.

is available today, 8/21/15. In celebration of the release, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers will be performing Friday, August 21st at Nashville's legendary Station Inn. Show starts at 9 PM.

Ask Chris Jones about reaching the 20th anniversary of his career as front man for the Night Drivers and the answer is likely to be some expression of Jones’ characteristic sense of humor. “Three of us have been playing together for well over half of that time, and our newest member has been with us more than eight years. We should at least know each other’s phone numbers by now.”

“In all seriousness, though,” he continues, “I’m grateful for this lineup of the Night Drivers and the length of time we’ve been blessed with to really have a chance to gel and understand each other musically and personally. represents an exciting new chapter for us.”

With two award-winning songwriters in the band—Jones took the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song of the Year trophy in 2007, while Weisberger earned the organization’s first-ever Songwriter of the Year title in 2012—it’s no surprise that focuses on original material. The duo co-wrote the first single, the infectious, old-time-flavored “Laurie,” and six other songs. Luberecki and Stoffel each contribute one new instrumental, making Chris Jones & The Night Drivers one of the few contemporary bands to continue the old bluegrass tradition of two instrumentals per album.

Guest appearances by Hall of Famer Del McCoury, legendary fiddler Bobby Hicks, former Night Driver Casey Driessen, and label mates current IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year Buddy Melton and Darin & Brooke Aldridge are more in the nature of enjoyable bonuses than necessities. And while the group chose to work for the first time with an outside producer—Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett, who also contributed some appropriately spooky dobro—the focus is squarely on Chris Jones & The Night Drivers.

The combination of talent, persistence, humor and thoughtfulness makes this band one of music’s most distinctive and durable acts. Twenty years? For Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, it’s only the beginning.

Tags: Chris Jones & The Night DriversCD ReleaseRun Away Tonight

Steep Canyon Rangers play the Blue Ridge Music Center August 29

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:00

Galax, VA – The Steep Canyon Rangers bring their original bluegrass sound to the Blue Ridge Music Center on Saturday, August 29, at 7 p.m., as the North Carolina band’s ninth studio album, Radio, makes its debut. The same day, the Blue Ridge Parkway is looking ahead to its yearlong celebration of the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial anniversary with kick-off festivities at the Music Center.

The Steep Canyon Rangers effortlessly walk the line between festival favorites and sophisticated string orchestra. It’s that mix of serious chops and good-natured fun that earned the Steep Canyon Rangers the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 (Nobody Knows You). Last winter, band members Woody Platt (guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Mike Ashworth (box kit) stepped into the studio with 14-time Grammy winner and producer Jerry Douglas (John Oates, Alison Krauss, Del McCoury Band) to record Radio at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, NC.

Mountain Park Old Time Band, one of the most popular old-time music dance bands in the region, opens the show. The friends and talented musicians that make up the group are Nancy Gentry (bass), Johnny Gentry (multi-instrumentalist), C.T. Janney (washboard and dancing), Roger Stamper (fiddle), and Mark Handy (banjo, vocals, dancing). The band performs regularly at the Alleghany Jubilee in Sparta, NC, and is an audience favorite at the Rex Theatre in Galax and The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, VA

Visitors can arrive early to kick off the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary celebration, which will be marked with events along the Parkway throughout 2016. Starting at 1 p.m., visitors can talk with the multiple groups that support the mission of the Blue Ridge Parkway through volunteer efforts, fund-raising, cultural enrichment, land protection, and additional contributions. Participating partners are the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Blue Ridge Parkway Association, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Eastern National, and Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There will also be live music by members of The Wolfe Brothers String Band from noon to 4 p.m. on the breezeway.

At 5 p.m., the Blue Ridge Music Center will host a ticketed Taste of the Mountains reception at the Luthier Shop, featuring bites from local restaurants Bogey’s, Scoots, and The Galax Smokehouse, beer from Creek Bottom Brews, and wine.

Steep Canyon Rangers + Centennial Celebration takes place Saturday, August 29th at noon in the Blue Ridge Music Center, 700 Foothills Road, Galax, Virginia - just off Milepost 213 - Blue Ridge Parkway.

Noon to 4 p.m.: Midday Mountain Music (free)
1 to 7 p.m.: Centennial Celebration Partner Showcase (free)
5 to 7 p.m.: Taste of the Mountains Reception (ticketed)
7 p.m.: Concert with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Mountain Park Old Time Band (ticketed)

The Midday Mountain Music performance and Centennial Partner Showcase are free. Tickets for the Taste of the Mountains reception are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event, $10 for Music Center members. Tickets for the Steep Canyon Rangers concert are $20. For tickets, call (866) 308-2773, ext. 245, or visit www.blueridgemusiccenter.org. Reception tickets are limited and only available by phone in advance or at the gate the day of the event while supplies last.

Tags: Steep Canyon RangerBlue Ridge Music CenterConcertEventCD Relese

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell to Release 2nd Album October 30

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:00
Rounder Records has announced that Steve Martin and Edie Brickell are releasing their latest album, So Familiar on October 30th. A preview track of "Won't Go Back" can be heard below. Preorder your copy of the record today at a chance to win one of several great prizes directly from Steve and Edie!

The duo released their debut album in 2013, Love Has Come For You, and the album was a remarkable project consisting of 13 eloquently rootsy compositions that combine Martin’s inventive five-string banjo work with Brickell’s distinctive vocals and vivid, detail-rich lyrics. They won a Grammy award (Best American Roots Song) for "Love Has Come for You" off the album of the same title.

Steve and Edie also recorded Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live following their live PBS "Great Performances" broadcast which aired March 4th, 2014 on WNET. The deluxe two disc DVD & CD pack was released following the event.

Steve Martin is up for another IBMA Award this year. Martin has been named as one of the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award recipients by the International Bluegrass Music Association. The Distinguished Achievement Award is second only to induction into the IBMA Hall of Fame award and exists to honor those in bluegrass music who have proven to be forerunners in their particular field of endeavor, and/or fostered bluegrass music's image with developments that will broaden the music's recognition and accessibility.

Tags: Steve MartinEdie BrickellCD ReleaseSo FamiliarRounder Records

Rhonda Vincent goes from Bluegrass Queen to Global Trailblazer

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- To say that 2015 has been a big year for 'The Queen of Bluegrass' Rhonda Vincent would be an understatement. She has transcended beyond the All American Bluegrass Girl who stole the nation's heart with her genuine songs and charismatic personality, by expanding her sound globally. With a highly successful European summer tour, IBMA and Dove nominations, along with a Christmas album on the way, it has been a monumental year for the 15-time "Entertainer of the Year."

"I was so surprised to find out the Czech Republic is the "Bluegrass Capitol" of Europe. The response to our shows was overwhelming" said an excited Rhonda Vincent. "I guess you could say we're bluegrass jet setters, as we've traveled to 9 different countries in only the last 30 days, and I'm loving every minute, as we share our music with the World!"

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced their finalists for the 2015 awards ceremony, and Vincent has secured a nomination for "Female Vocalist of the Year." After winning this exact award an unprecedented 7 consecutive years, from 2000 - 2006; in addition to "Entertainer of the Year" in 2001, she is no stranger to this annual event. Also, up for "Guitar Player of the Year" is fellow Rage member Josh Williams, who is already a 3-time winner in this category.

After exploding into the Gospel genre with her 2012 album Sunday Mornin' Singin' LIVE!, Vincent returns to this familiar territory, after picking up 2 nominations at the 46th Annual Dove Awards, both coming in the category for "Bluegrass Song of the Year." The song, "God is There," is the inspirational collaboration with fellow Bluegrass singer/songwriter Lizzy Long. The cut comes from Long's latest album, Blueberry Pie, and sees Vincent and Long trading vocals back-and-forth on the touching ballad. Also nominated is the track, "Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man," which is part of Volume Five's latest album Voices. The song was originally written and recorded in 1970 by Country icon Dolly Parton, alongside the late Grand Ole Opry Member and TV star Porter Wagoner. The awards take place in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 13 at the Allen Arena.

Not to be limited by genre boundaries, Vincent is also featured on two brand new Pop and Folk songs. "One Life" is the latest single by Canadian sensation Chris Janz, and was released earlier this month. The encouraging tune takes listeners on a journey, with its heartfelt lyrics and catchy melody. Vincent is also featured on Jon Pousette-Dart's brand new album Talk. The project, produced by Nashville's legendary producer Bil VornDick, was released in late July.

Vincent is also back in the United States, following her SOLD OUT 2015 European Tour. The extraordinary excursion kicked off in Jablonec, Czech Republic on July 9 with what was supposed to be one show, but turned into a two-show affair after the first quickly sold out seven months in advance. The area has a history of being major supporters of the genre, often being referred to as the "Bluegrass Capitol" of Europe. From there, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage made their way to Breim, Norway, where they performed a show at a historic church, and at Norsk Country Treff for over 8,000 fans. Next, the most awarded band in bluegrass music history, traveled to Amsterdam to play at the world famous Paradiso, which has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones. Then came the Best Music 2015 on the Marketplatz in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany, and to close things out, Vincent made her highly-anticipated return to Laufen, Switzerland for two more sold-out shows.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will soon hit the road again, aboard the Martha White Bluegrass Express, and begin a countdown of 41 remaining performance dates for 2015. They travel next to Canada, then back to the USA for the rest of the year!

Tags: Rhonda VincentQueen of BluegrassIBMADove AwardsEurope

Marion, Virginia Proclaims August 15 as Nathan Stanley Day

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- At just 23 years old, Bluegrass singer/songwriter, Nathan Stanley, has no easy task of carrying on the legacy created by his Grandfather, the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley, but he is taking steps towards doing just that. In addition to winning two Grammys and being the distinguished recipient of the "Living Legend Award" in 2006, an honor presented by President George W. Bush, Dr. Ralph Stanley has propelled the Stanley name to become one of the most recognizable names in all of music. This past Saturday at a very special Birthday celebration concert, Nathan Stanley was presented with a key to the city of Marion, VA, and August 15 was declared "Nathan Stanley Day," an honor conferred by town Mayor David Helms.

"I'm very humbled that Mayor David Helms presented me with such an honor" said an excited Nathan Stanley. "I'll cherish this, and that will be a night that I'll never forget."

The star-studded, SOLD-OUT show, took place in Marion at the Lincoln Theatre, a venue which Nathan has headlined on multiple occasions. The ticket also featured special guests, including Bluegrass icon Dr. Ralph Stanley, Country chart-topper T. Graham Brown and Country/Gospel singer Bob Smallwood. Birthday wishes also came from Josh Turner, Bobby Osborne, Gaither Vocal Band member Wes Hampton and more.

So far, 2015 has been a solid year for Nathan, having recently released his latest album The Legacy Continues. The album features collaborations with both Dr. Ralph Stanley and Country superstar Brad Paisley. The project features everything from the Stanley family-favorite "Rank Stranger" to the upbeat "Papaw I Love You," which was written by Nathan to pay tribute to his Grandfather. Nathan was also featured on Dr. Ralph's critically acclaimed album, Man of Constant Sorrow, alongside Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Dierks Bentley, LeeAnn Womack, Josh Turner and more. The project was released earlier this year and is available exclusively at Cracker Barrel.

Tags: Nathan StanleyKey to the CityNathan Stanley Day

Song of the Mountains Sale Agreement Signed

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:14

Marion, VA 17 August 2015 – On Friday, August 14, principals of The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia and Appalachian Music Heritage Foundation (AMH), a Marion-based non-profit corporation signed agreements officially transferring ownership of Song of the Mountains from The Lincoln to AMH. Under the agreement, AMH will rent The Lincoln Theatre for the Song of the Mountains monthly stage show and television production.

Song of the Mountains is a long-running stage show and nationally syndicated Public Television music series featuring Bluegrass, old-time, and Americana music. AMH is now responsible for the production of the stage show and the television series. The first show under the management of AMH will be held at The Lincoln on Saturday, September 5th. Tim White, the original host of Song of the Mountains, will return as the show’s permanent host.

The Lincoln’s newly installed President of the Theatre’s Board of Directors, Dr. Dana Chamberlain, and the President of AMH, Joe Ellis signed the documents.

In an August 5 letter to the Friends of the Lincoln, a Theatre support group, Kristin Untied-Barnett, the Theatre’s Executive Director, said of the sale, “The Board of Directors determined the best solution for the sustainability of both The Lincoln and Song of the Mountains is to separate the two entities. The change will be managed in such a way that ensures the program, which brings many tourists and national recognition to the theatre and the Town of Marion, will continue to operate from the Lincoln.”

AMH’s principals are Marion residents Joe Ellis, Ed Stringer, and Sam Russell. Ellis and Russell founded Song of the Mountains in 2003 and the first Song of the Mountains production was staged at The Lincoln in May of 2005. Tim White, the show’s host and booking agent, was brought aboard in 2004. Ed Stringer, President and CEO of The Bank of Marion, was a supporter of the show from the beginning. In recognition of the potential for economic development in the Town of Marion and the surrounding area that The Lincoln/Song of the Mountains partnership would bring, The Bank became one of its first underwriters.

“We are very gratified that our sales and rental agreements have been finalized and signed,” Sam Russell stated today. “This has been a long process, but both The Lincoln and AMH have worked hard to do what’s best for the Theatre, the show, the Town of Marion, downtown businesses, and the legions of Song of the Mountains from all across America.”

Tags: Song of the MountainsAppalachian Music Heritage FoundationTim White

Adkins & Loudermilk to Host 1st Halloween BooGrass Bash

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:12

Anderson, SC -- Adkins & Loudermilk will host the inaugural Anderson County Halloween BooGrass Bash October 29-31, 2015. Feel free to wear your best Halloween costume for the BooGrass Bash Costume Party and enjoy the spooktacular performances by: Lonesome River Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Marty Raybon & Full Circle, Adkins & Loudermillk, Balsam Range, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, The Boxcars, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Flatt Lonesome, Sideline, Marksmen Quartet, and more.

The BooGrass Bash will be held at the Anderson County Civic Center located at 3027 Martin Luther King Blvd., Ande Adkins & Loudermilk are also proud to announce the BooGrass Bash Band Competition with over $3,000 in prizes. Bring the kids for the BooGrass Youth Camp, daily contest, great food and more activities.

IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year nominees Dave Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk have received critical acclaim and tremendous chart success for their solo albums and are now celebrating their first album release, Adkins & Loudermilk on Mountain Fever Records. Their impressive vocal and instrumental talents, along with their high energy stage performances, have certainly garnered them a loyal legion of fans.

Camping is available with 60 full hook up campsites and 120 self-contained campsites, along with many hotel options in Anderson. For tickets and camping, please call 864-260-4800. For more information on the Anderson County BooGrass Bash, please visit https://www.facebook.com/BoograssBash

Tags: Adkins & LoudermilkBooGrass BashFestivalEventBalsam RangeRussell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutThe BoxcarsJunior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

10 String Symphony to Release 'Weight of the World' on October 23

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:08

Nashville, TN -- Live music fans likely know the talent behind 10 String Symphony, 5-string fiddle players Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer, who have appeared at Romp Bluegrass Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, and New Zealand's Auckland Folk Festival after creating the super-duo out of mutual admiration in 2012. Fans can experience the combination of two of Nashville's most impressive fiddle talents on their second album,
Weight of the World, on Oct. 23.

The collection is far from what's to be expected from two of Nashville's seasoned fiddle players - Weight of the World is a departure from their individual histories - Rachel, a former Illinois state fiddle champion and Christian, a touring member of The Jerry Douglas Band.
The album doesn't feature bells and whistles, but rather showcases song-focused, innovative musicianship and serves as a striking second chapter to their debut release in 2012. "It's a newer version of what the band has evolved into," Christian says.

Though the band plays acoustic music, their rock influence is apparent in arrangements. Album highlights include the haunting "I'm Not Lonesome," the feel-good "Even A Dog Has Dreams," and the lesson-laden title track, among others. The nuanced progression of the tracks moves listeners through an emotional journey, rather than simply setting out to impress them. Their mission statement remains clear throughout - two voices. Two fiddles. Epic music.

The band will celebrate the album's release with a special show at the Station Inn on Dec. 4 in Nashville, TN, and will join Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers on Sept. 15 for The Bluegrass Situation Jam at The Basement in Nashville, TN during Americana Fest. Other dates supporting the album include stops at Fitzgerald's in Chicago on Oct. 30 as well as Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX and the Moab Folk Festival. Click here for a full fall tour schedule.

10 String Symphony is a picture of a band striving to maintain the purity of purpose of the American old-time tradition, while simultaneously stretching its limitations with unique arrangements, unflinchingly personal lyrics, and a bravely progressive melodic palette.

Tags: 10 String SymphonyCD ReleaseWeight of the WorldFiddle

Three New Titles on Rural Rhythm's Heritage Collection Series

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:54

Nashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Records is proud to announce four new titles in its archival Heritage Collection series. The Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series will help keep traditional roots music alive and preserved for future generations. The Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series includes authentic Old-Time Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Country Waltzes, Fiddle Tunes and Gospel music performed by many legends & pioneers. Titles are mastered from the original master tapes, with original cover artwork and include many albums never-before available on CD.

Since the initial release in late 2013, nineteen titles have been released to date in the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series including titles by Mac Wiseman, Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Hylo Brown, Red Smiley, J.E. Mainer, Curly Fox, Dale Potter, Buck Ryan, Lee Moore, Raymond Fairchild and Jim Greer.

Rural Rhythm has now released three more titles in the Heritage Collection Series in both the physical CD and digital formats by Earl Taylor & Jim McCall with The Stoney Mountain Boys – Blue Grass Favorites; Hylo Brown & The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys - Hylo Brown & The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys and Jim Eanes with Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups - Jim Eanes with Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups.

Earl Taylor & Jim McCall - Virginia-born mandolin player Earl Taylor, worked with many bluegrass giants over the course of a career that began in the 1940s. In 1967, he joined guitarist Jim McCall for a Rural Rhythm session along with his Stoney Mountain Boys that became a fan favorite titled Blue Grass Favorites. The album was produced by Lou Ukleson and included Earl Taylor (mandolin, vocals), Jim McCall (guitar, vocals), Vernon McIntyre, Jr. (banjo), Moon Mullins (fiddle) and “Boatwhistle” McIntyre (bass).

Hylo Brown - Frank Brown earned the nickname "Hylo" because of his considerable vocal range that became his trademark. Born in 1922 in Johnson County, KY, which also became the birthplace of Loretta Lynn, Brown had thoroughly absorbed the music indigenous to his Appalachian home.

Hylo Brown recorded seven albums for Rural Rhythm Records in the late 60’s with Lee Sutton as producer. Available for the first time on CD, Hylo Brown & The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys was the fourth of the seven albums and was originally released in 1967.

Jim Eanes - Eanes began his career in 1948 with Flatt & Scruggs, then Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Starting his solo career in 1949, he had a hit record with "Baby Blue Eyes" on Capitol Records. He organized the Shenandoah Valley Boys in 1951 and recorded a few singles before signing with Decca Records. Decca groomed him to play country music and received good chart success with several singles. Eanes wrote many of his own songs including “Your Old Standby”, and one of his best "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could," which became a number one hit for Ricky Skaggs in 1982.

During the '60s, Jim Eanes was a D.J. on different Virginia radio stations and appeared regularly on WWVA’s Wheeling Jamboree. In 1968 Jim Eanes recorded his first of two albums for Rural Rhythm Records titled Jim Eanes with Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups. This 20 song album, produced by Lee Sutton, is available now for the first time on CD and features Red Smiley’s vocals and his Bluegrass Cut-Ups; Billy Edwards (banjo), Clarence “Tater” Tate (fiddle), Gene Burris (mandolin, Guitar), John Palmer (bass) and special guest Peggy Peterson (dobro guitar). His fine vocals and songwriting over the years earned Jim Eanes the universal nickname of "The Bluegrass Balladeer."

Earl Taylor & Jim McCall with The Stoney Mountain Boys – Blue Grass Favorites; Hylo Brown & The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys and Jim Eanes with Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups are available to DJ's on AirPlay Direct along with the other thirteen titles currently released in the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection series.

In addition, these three titles are now available on Amazon, iTunes and wherever digital and physical CD music is sold. Watch for more titles coming in 2016 from the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series.

Rural Rhythm Records released a long line of Old-Time Country; Bluegrass & Gospel albums during the label's first two decades after Uncle Jim O'Neal started the label in 1955. Many of these vintage classic albums are still in Rural Rhythm's active catalog available on CD and digital formats. Many songs are still available in the various artist collection titles found in the Sound Traditionsseries. Many tracks were previously released only on vinyl records and will come back to life through the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series.

Many legends and pioneers released albums during this period including Mac Wiseman, Hylo Brown, Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Red Smiley, Jim Eanes, Vassar Clements, J.E. Mainer, Earl Taylor & Jim McCall, Raymond Fairchild and many more. Bringing the traditional “retro” vintage sounds from the past preserves, protects, promotes and presents the ageless music of these artists for current and future generations to enjoy and appreciate using the technologies of the 21st Century.

Rural Rhythm’s Sound Traditions collection titles have helped keep the traditional Bluegrass flame burning for decades and will continue the steady flow of available Old-Time Country, Bluegrass & Gospel titles culled from the treasure trove of masters in the Rural Rhythm Records vault. Sound Traditions from America’s Heartland!

Tags: Rural RhythmHeritage CollectionSound TraditionsCD ReleaseDigital Downloads

South Carolina Broadcasters Sign to Label

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:52

The South Carolina Broadcasters continue to gain momentum with music fans and have just taken the next step in advancing their career further.  The trio, consisting of David Sheppard, Andy Edmonds, and Ivy Sheppard, has just signed a record deal with the award winning John Boy & Billy Record Label.

John Boy & Billy, Inc. CEO, Ed Lowe, welcomes the group to the label and looks forward to a long, successful relationship.  There is already a close association to the group as Lowe, also owner of Lowe Vintage Instrument Company of Burlington, NC, sponsors an old-time radio show featuring the Broadcasters, four days per week on AM 740 WPAQ, Mount Airy, NC and web streaming world wide.

Lowe states, “It was evident to me with the immediate success of WPAQ’s Old Time Radio feature with the group that I sponsor, music fans were hungry for the vintage sound, presented the way it used to be.  Not only do these folks represent traditional music by performing, but they are all equally knowledgeable about the pioneering artists who developed this art form many years ago. Their passion runs deep and the John Boy & Billy Label is excited to help the group take their sound to an even larger platform,” Lowe said.

The new project was recorded LIVE at Wesley Easter's Eastwood Studio in Cana, VA.  With its upcoming release on the John Boy & Billy label as a CD and LP, fans of the old, traditional sounds will have the opportunity to enjoy music the way it used to be done by a group that is focused on taking it into the future!

Tags: South Carolina BroadcastersBand AnnouncementJohn Boy & Billy

Carter Fold Presents Jake Krack and the Bing Brothers Old Time Band

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 22:27

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Jake Krack and the Bing Brothers Old Time Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free. At only 28 years old, Jake Krack has an impressive biography. He graduated from Berea College in 2007. While at Berea, Jake was a recipient of the Red Foley Memorial Music Award. Since that time, he has produced and released nine CDs on which he is featured. In addition, he has produced and/or consulted on many old time CDs. Jake is an Individual Artist Coordinator for the Culture and History Department in Charleston, West Virginia. He has done internships, received scholarships, and done extensive work with Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

Jake was featured on PBS television and on Senator Robert Byrd’s film Soul of the Senate. Concert venues he has performed at include Berea College, the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, University of Chicago Folk Festival, Mt. Airy Fiddler’s Convention, the Alleghany County Fiddler’s Convention, Appalachian State Fiddler’s Convention, the Galax Fiddler’s Convention, Clifftop Stringband Festival, Merlefest, Mountain Stage, NPR’s Prarie Home Companion, and so many others that they’re too numerous to list. Needless to say, he’s won first place in many of the fiddler’s conventions in which he’s participated. Jake has been profiled by Art Works, Fiddlers Magazine, Berea Alumni Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Folk Works, Dirty Linen Music Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Spectrum Magazine in Scotland, CNN, Canadian Public Television, and the New York Times. He’s been named Tamrack’s Performing Artist of the Year.

Jake has done numerous workshops and served as an instructor at practically every place old time fiddle is taught. He has done extensive research and worked with scholars and music archivists at the Library of Congress. In addition to his other pursuits, Jake operates Krack’s Fiddle Shop and does private fiddle lessons. This concert will mark Jake’s second performance at the Carter Fold. Many famous fiddlers have performed at the Fold, and we think Jake ranks among the best. Bands who play at the Fold (and our Fold audience) know that good fiddling is a big part of a Fold concert. Jake Krack will deliver that and then some. In fact, he can hold his own with any fiddler who ever graced our stage. Performing with Jake will be the Bing Brothers. Tim Bing will be featured on banjo, and Mike Bing will be playing mandolin. The Bing Brothers were formerly the Whoopin’ Hollar Band. Come out and join us for Jake Krack and the Bing Brothers.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes, and be sure to bring all your friends. For additional information on Jake and the band, go to http://jakekrack.com.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. 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 – @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Carter Family FoldJake KrackBing BrothersConcertEvent

Crossroads Label Group Artists Top in IBMA Award Nominations

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 22:24

Nashville, TN -- Truly the "mountain home" of Bluegrass music, Crossroads Label Group (Mountain Home Music Company), has become the premier label for Bluegrass music with some of the most highly-awarded and top performing artists in the industry. The 2015 IBMA award announcements garnered the label 22 nominations across 13 categories. Mountain Home Music Company congratulates all of its nominees on their hard work and perseverance and for sharing their passion for Bluegrass.

Balsam Range received eight nominations including, Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year ("Moon Over Memphis"), Album of the Year (Five), Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year ("Stacking Up The Rocks"), and Instrumental Performance of the Year ("Backdraft: You Light It, You Fight It"). Buddy Melton is named in the Male Vocalist Category and Tim Surrett earned a nomination for Bass Instrumentalist of the Year.

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year.

Crowe, Lawson, Williams received nominations for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year ("Insured Beyond Grace") and Recorded Event of the Year ("Blue Memories").

Lonesome River Band is nominated for Song of the Year ("Her Love Won't Turn On A Dime"), Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year ("Holding To The Right Hand"), and Instrumental Performance of the Year ("Cumberland Gap").

Flatt Lonesome is up for two of the IBMA top honors with nods for Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year (Too).

The Boxcars received three nominations with Adam Steffey up for Mandolin Instrumentalist of the Year, and Ron Stewart nominated for two with Banjo and Fiddle Instrumentalist of the Year.

The Grascals received one with Kristin Scott Benson's Banjo Instrumentalist of the Year nomination.

The artists on Mountain Home Music Company are extremely humbled by these nominations and some had a few words to share.

"We are beyond thrilled and honored to be nominated for two IBMA Awards this year." says says Kelsi Robertson Harrigill of Flatt Lonesome. "Just being nominated in these categories really is like a dream come true for us. We have been working hard and giving it our all since winning Emerging Artist last year and we are just so blessed to be considered among our heroes and peers. We want to congratulate all of the nominees and we look forward to seeing all of our friends in Raleigh!"

“We are having so much fun that it’s just way beyond our wildest dreams,” says Tim Surrett of Balsam Range. “We feel honored every time we pick up our instruments and folks stay in their seats, so being honored with IBMA nominations is way over the top. It’s almost more than these five country boys can take. Seriously, though, we are grateful for the acknowledgement, especially for our families who give us the support to do what we do, and keep the home fires burning while we get to play.”

Nominations are decided by a vote of the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the trade association for the bluegrass music industry. The 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Association Awards will be announced on Thursday, October 1, 2015 from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts during the annual World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, NC (which includes a business conference, artist showcases, special awards, exhibit hall, and two-day music festival). For more information on the IBMA, World of Bluegrass, and the awards program, visit www.ibma.org.

Tags: IBMA AwardsCrossroads MusicNominationBalsam RangeDoyle Lawson & QuicksilverFlatt LonesomeThe Boxcars

The Reserve at Lake Keowee Welcomes John Thomas Fowler

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 22:21

Greenville, SC -- Cultural enrichment is a priority for many Baby Boomers looking at South Carolina golf communities. It adds to the overall quality of life and gives folks the option of being entertained right “in their own backyards”. Real Estate Scorecard recognizes The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Western South Carolina in the Upstate for setting the standard for cultural events by offering one of the most impressive calendars of events for its residents with its “artist in residence” programs. Designed as a way to enhance lifelong learning and provide club members on-site lectures, art exhibits and musical performances, the “artist in residence” program took off at this award winning Lake Keowee real estate development.

Each year, the gated community selects an “Artist in Residence” who shares their talent and skillset with the fortunate residents and guests of The Reserve at Lake Keowee. This year, John Thomas Fowler, renowned Appalachian storyteller and mountain musician was selected to perform and provide workshops on the property September 22nd through September 26th. Fowler has over 25 years experience storytelling in the region and is also a song collector, author and radio host in the Carolinas.

Growing up with family connections in the Appalachian Mountains, Fowler had direct access to collections of stories and songs that have been passed down for generations and reflect the rich history associated with growing up in the Appalachians. His creative and articulate style incorporates humor, music and some actual characters from the past. In addition to his unique storytelling style, Fowler also incorporates the banjo, guitar and the harmonica in his performances.

In 2013, he received the prestigious Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award from the South Carolina General Assembly acknowledging his lifetime achievements as a musician and storyteller. Fowler is a local favorite and provides his talent at festivals, schools, colleges and camps. This year The Reserve of Lake Keowee is honored to have Mr. Fowler as their featured “Artist in Residence".

While at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Mr. Fowler will be offering two scheduled events:

  • Tuesday, September 22, Fowler will present Appalachian storytelling, folklore, and a genealogy at the Founder’s Hall 7:30 pm– 9pm.
  • Friday September 25, Fowler will perform a high energy concert incorporation harmonic, guitar and banjo playing historic ballads while incorporating his unique “old time” mountain humor.

Last year, The Reserve at Lake Keowee featured Drs. Tony and Marianne Lenti as their 2014 “Artists in Residence” as they performed dually performing the piano and creating works of art. This prestigious couple met while they were attending Eastman School of Music and they enhanced their talent by performing together in Florence Italy. They have toured to 33 states and Europe to showcase their work and the residents truly enjoyed their performances. In 2013, Scott Crawford and Matt Hanewald were the selected “Artists in Residence”. Each presented their unique style of artistry and residents were thrilled with the programs they offered.

Tags: John Thomas FowlerBanjoArtist in Residence

Bluegrass Music Museum to Receive Distinguished Achievement Award

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 22:59

Owensboro, KY - The International Bluegrass Music Museum has been announced as a recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association's 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award. The announcement was made during the nominee show for the 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards on SiriusXM's Bluegrass Junction channel, hosted by radio personality and Bluegrass Museum trustee, Kyle Cantrell.

"The Distinguished Achievement Award is second only to induction into the [IBMA] Hall of Fame," said Cantrell.

IBMA's Distinguished Achievement Award program exists to honor those in bluegrass music who have proven to be forerunners in their particular field of endeavor, and/or fostered bluegrass music's image with developments that will broaden the music's recognition and accessibility.

Also receiving the 2015 Distinguished Achievement award are Alison Brown, Murphy Henry, "Bashful Brother" Oswald Kirby, and Steve Martin.

Past award winners include IBMM Vice-Chairman, Terry Woodward, Deering Banjos, Tom T. and Dixie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry, Martin Guitars, Keith Case, Fred Bartenstein and many other distinguished Bluegrass music names.

Staff and trustees of the Museum will accept the award during IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC on October 1.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumIBMA AwardsDistinguished Achievement AwardIBMA

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