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Robert 'Tut' Taylor - The Flatpickin' Dobro Man Passes at 91

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 22:41

Mr. Robert “Tut” Arthur Taylor Sr., age 91, of Wilkesboro, died Thursday, April 9, 2015 at Wilkes Regional Medical Center. He was born November 20, 1923 in Milledgeville, Georgia to Herman H. and Lillie Pierce Johnson Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a member of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a US Army and Navy Veteran. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ella Lee Blount Taylor; daughter, Barbara Taylor; granddaughter, Melissa Boone Dyer and great grandson, Robert Benjamin Dyer.

Surviving are four sons, Robert Taylor, Jr. of McIntyre, Georgia; Mark Taylor and wife Valerie of Nashville, Tennessee, Lester Taylor and wife Kerri of Omaha, David Taylor and wife Linda of Hays, N.C.; three daughters; Shirley Smith and husband Charles of McIntyre, Georgia, LouEllen Bolan of Canada, Linda Taylor of Lewisburg, Tennessee; sixteen grandchildren; and eighteen great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at Miller Funeral Service from 7:00 until 9:00 o’clock Friday night. Burial will be in Baldwin Memorial Gardens in Milledgeville, Georgia. Miller Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be made to www.millerfuneralservice.com

The man who gave the flatpick a new voice...

It all began near the banks of the muddy Oconee River in Georgia about the time of the second World War. A young Tut Taylor, who didn't know any better, taught himself to play a dobro with a flatpick. The resulting sound was fresh and unique, and it became Tut's trademark. Folks called him the "flatpickin' dobro man". Through the years he became one of bluegrass music's most appreciated musicians for his contributions to the music, both on and off the stage.

Having recorded or performed for decades with many other legends in bluegrass and country music, Tut is a rich source of historical information and anecdotes on the formative years of Bluegrass music, the growth of the music industry in Nashville, and the people that made it happen. From his association with great musicians such as Norman Blake, Roland and Clarence White, John Hartford, and Vassar Clements, to playing in Roy Acuff's band on the last performance of the "Grand Ol' Opry" at the Ryman Auditorium, to opening doors for a young fiddler named Mark O'Connor on his first trip to Nashville, to his involvement with the Grammy-winning recording "The Great Dobro Sessions", Tut has been in the thick of bluegrass, old-time, and country music history for a long time.

Today, in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge and Brushy Mountains of North Carolina, the sweet sound of Tut's flatpicked dobro still resonates, catching the ear of a new generation of pickers. His insight into the music he loves has endeared him to many new fans who appreciate what he has to say as well as what he has to pick. He is often asked about the future of bluegrass and old-time music and his answer is usually along the lines of "Just pick it and keep on picking it." And that's his philosophy in a nutshell - just pick it, just let people hear it and come to love it, and the music will take care of itself.

If he can ever break away from pickin' for a while, Tut will be adding some of his stories and personal photos on this website so that we can enjoy some of the rich musical history he has seen firsthand. In the meantime, here is a little background information on "The Flat Pickin' Dobro Man" himself, Robert A. "Tut" Taylor.

Tags: Tut TaylorSilent StringsObituaryDobro

Huck Finn Bluegrass Festival Adds Kids Academy

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 22:39

Ontario, CA -- Organizers of the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival, the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau, is proud to announce in addition to some of the greatest national headlining bluegrass names on stage, a Kids Academy and Kids Games have been added to the 3-day event. Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario will be the site for this annual event June 12 thru 14, 2015 when thousands of bluegrass and jamgrass fans arrive to partake in a family friendly festival that celebrates traditional music, education, activities, and the evolution of bluegrass music.

The Bluegrass Academy for Kids is open for ages 4 to 12 and takes place each day during the festival. Supervised sessions are held each day and include music education, activities and food. From novice to seasoned performers there is something for everyone to learn about bluegrass music. The goal is to broaden a child’s musical horizons by introducing them to a variety of musical genres, including a truly American one—bluegrass. On Sunday the class will take the stage to perform for the crowd. Cost per child is $100. It is anticipated that tickets for the academy will sell out so it is recommended to make a reservation on line soon. More information about the Kids Academy, line-up, tickets, camping, RV, and hotel bookings can be found at http://www.huckfinn.com. Children ages 12 and under are free to attend the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival.

In addition to the Bluegrass Academy for Kids the organizers of the Huck Finn Jubilee have contracted with an experienced Kids Games organizer to provide some of the traditional fun and games that families have enjoyed for years. The tradition of creating a family friendly festival and to encourage the education and evolution of bluegrass music continues since the Huck Finn Jubilee began in the mid-seventies. Included in the ticket price is access to the water park at Cucamonga Guasti Regional Park. For more details the website will soon list the type of games and competition anticipated for the 2015 Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival.

The Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival is produced by The Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau , the official destination marketing organization to promote the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga California to visitors nationally and internationally.

Established in 1975 at the hands of a homegrown, Southern California family, the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival is a three-day gathering of true bluegrass and jamgrass music lovers. It is a genuine embodiment of endless pickin’ parties, instrumental roots education, and bands performing to fans that believe in the core value that bluegrass is about more than just the music. It is a community- one that delivers the nostalgia of music-driven campgrounds, bare feet, laughter, dancing, instrument exploration, and the development of new friendships.

Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival, produced by the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau, supports the cross-pollination and belief in the evolution of this music. This unique festival showcases an array of musicians spanning across local, regional, and national Grammy nominated and award-winning bands alike. Huck Finn is dedicated in delivering exceptional headlining musicians as well as up and coming talent who will continue to fight for the deep-bedded roots of bluegrass while creating sounds for the future. Bluegrass tunes can largely be described as narratives on the everyday lives of the people whence the music came. The Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival is held annually on the second weekend of June. For more information visit http://www.huckfinn.com

Tags: Huck Finn JubileeKids AcademyMusic FestivalEventYouth Academy

Classic American Ballads from Smithsonian Folkways

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 22:12

The Classic series is an enjoyable introduction to the diverse repertoire of American music available from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Each explores the breadth and depth of a genre while the notes trace its significance within American musical heritage. Longtime lovers of American roots music and newcomers alike find value and enjoyment in the Classic series. Compiled and annotated by GRAMMY award winning Smithsonian Folkways Archivist Jeff Place, award winning bluegrass radio presenter Lee Michael Demsey, blues historian Barry Lee Pearson, and others, the series has produced compilations of bluegrass, folk, blues, maritime, old-time, and mountain music.

In the days before YouTube, Twitter, and “Serial” podcasts, newsworthy events “went viral” in the form of song. Certain tragedies and grisly crimes captivated the American imagination, and entrepreneurial ballad writers penned songs catering to the thirst for details. On March 24, Smithsonian Folkways will release Classic American Ballads, featuring Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Pink Anderson, and Sis Cunningham, among many others performing American topical songs that may draw from the British ballad tradition but are distinctly native to the United States.

Born of the British ballad, its American offspring was the blank canvas for all type of tale, the more calami­tous or scandalous, the better. Jesse James and Billy the Kid, train wrecks and hurricanes, the Titanic and Tom Dooley, fatal lovers’ quarrels and foiling the devil, all and more were normal fare, served up in a song. Classic American Ballads is 25 tracks of time-worn tragedy drawn from the deep fount of the Smithsonian Folkways archives. 74 minutes, 40-page booklet with extensive notes and photos.

This is the 24th release in the Smithsonian Folkways Classic Series. The 25 tracks on Classic American Ballads, written between 1836 and 1947, chronicle tragic and significant events such as the sinking of the Titanic, the wreck of the “Old 97” train in Danville, Virginia, and the murder of a young girl along the Ohio River. Woody Guthrie’s “Billy the Kid” narrates the exploits of the notorious 19th-century outlaw, while Pete Seeger’s “Young Charlotte” tells the tale of the young Maine woman who froze to death on New Year’s Eve, 1840. Lead Belly’s version of the popular folk song “Duncan and Brady” is based on the notorious story of James Brady, a St. Louis policeman who was fatally shot by bartender Harry Duncan in 1890.

The 24th installment in Smithsonian Folkways’ award-winning ‘Classic’ series aims to highlight the early years of the American tradition of topical songwriting that has continued on through generations of musicians from Bob Dylan (“Hurricane”) to Eddie Vedder (“Guaranteed”), John Legend (“Glory”), Lil Wayne (“Tie My Hands”) and Gillian Welch (“April the 14th”).

Compiled, produced, and annotated by GRAMMY-winning Smithsonian Folkways archivist Jeff Place, Classic American Ballads features over 40 pages of enriching liner notes and an introductory essay, along with many rare historical photographs. Among them is an iconic shot of the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic in April 1912.

Please enjoy a free MP3 or FLAC download of “Banks of the Ohio” by Doc Watson and Bill Monroe.

Tracklist:

  1. "Banks of the Ohio" – Doc Watson and Bill Monroe
  2. "Blue Mountain Lake" – Pete Seeger
  3. "Claude Allen" – Hobart Smith
  4. "Cole Younger" – Dock Boggs
  5. "Cowboy’s Lament (Streets of Laredo)" – Buck Ramsey
  6. "Boll Weevil" – Sam Hinton
  7. "Duncan and Brady" – Lead Belly
  8. "Floyd Collins" – Paul Clayton
  9. "Frankie and Johnny" – Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
  10. "John Henry" – John Jackson
  11. "Jesse James" – Sis Cunningham, Mike Millins, and Wes Houston
  12. "Billy the Kid" – Woody Guthrie
  13. "The Death of the Lawson Family" – Glen Neaves
  14. "Naomi Wise" – Doug Wallin
  15. "Pearl Bryan" – Bruce Buckley
  16. "Sam Bass" – Hermes Nye
  17. "Springfield Mountain" – Bascom Lamar Lunsford
  18. "Tom Dooley" – Glen Neaves, Roscoe Russell, Ivor Melton, Warren Brown, and Ted Lundy
  19. "Tying a Knot in the Devil’s Tail" – Cisco Houston
  20. "Young Charlotte" – Pete Seeger
  21. "Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm?" – The Tex-I-An Boys
  22. "Zebra Dun" – Joan O’Bryant
  23. "The Titanic" – Pink Anderson
  24. "The Louisville Burglar" – The Iron Mountain String Band
  25. "The F.F.V. (Engine 143)" – Annie Watson
Tags: Classic American BalladsCD ReleaseSmithsonian FolkwaysBill MonroeDoc WatsonDigital Downloads

Trout Steak Revival Gets Brighter Every Day

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 22:10

Historically, mountain ranges have been formidable barriers for civilization. But for the first settlers who passed through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, those features gave way to a unique sense of independence and became insulators from the rest of civilization, with collaboration, rather than competition, as the prime virtue. Flash forward to 2015, and you can hear this dynamic at play on Brighter Every Day, the newest album from Denver indie-mountaingrass quintet Trout Steak Revival. Produced by Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters, Trout Steak Revival’s new album comes on the heels of their breakout win at the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival and showcases the band’s virtuosic original songwriting and masterful musicianship.

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

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

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

Tags: Trout Steak RevivalCD ReleaseBrighter Every DayChris Pandolfi

Review: Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 23:00
I spent a good part of the day listening to a new project by a new group comprised of some very exceptional artists. I've always been a Steve Gulley fan of sorts as every song I've heard by him was a "keeper." Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, the self-titled album featuring Steve, Bryan Turner, Gary robinson, Jr. and Matt Crumby was more than what I could even imagine. Tight, bright, electric, emotional and full of life, all in one small package. Bluegrass doesn't get much better than this.

The album kicks off with with the firey hot pickin' "Leaving Crazytown" (see video below) and this pretty much sets the stage for where this album is going to take you. The listener is going on a music journey through a new world of bluegrass music.

"It's a Long, Long Way to the Top of the World" is a Don Wayne expressive song full of emotion. The vocals on this track fit the song well. The gentle mandolin builds a solid foundation to carry this soulful slower song with the strength and gentleness it deserves. A solid bridge between bluegrass and traditional country as the fiddle ties the two styles together effortlessly.

One of the things Steve is known for is his songwriting style and there are a handfull of tracks that showcase his abilities in this domain. The song "She's a Taker" shares songwriting credit with another favorite, Tim Stafford. The story lyrics are creative and the music blends well with them offering an appealing balance.

Another Gulley/Stafford track is "That Ground's Too Hard to Plow." Here again, a great story told through song with a melody that creates a familiar, yet original, appealing sound. These are the kinds of songs that endure because they are comfortable in a variety of situations. They grow on you in a good way!

Mattie's Run instrumental is dynamic and explosive. So much energy here as was on the opening track. Sparks light up as the notes fly off the instruments. Electric current is flowing here. Lively, bright and fun, this happy song is part of the fire of this album.

A wonderful surprise captures you with Track 10. Amanda Smith really gives an Emmylou Harris emotional sound to the Louvin brother's "Everytime you Leave" as she harmonizes and carries the song effortlessly from beginning to end. This song could easily be the pick hit on this album.

Words can't describe this album properly. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle needs to be heard to be appreciated. Once you hear it, you will. I certainly hope this is the direction bluegrass for 2015 is going to go. The video above should certainly wet your appetite for more Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle. Steve had certainly expressed why I keep hungering for more. He is a unique artist and with New Pinnacle, we hope to hear a lot more.

Tags: Steve Gulley and New PinnacleSteve GulleyReviewCD Release

Donna Ulisse Offers Companion CD to her Songwriting Book

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 22:57

Record label and publisher Hadley Music Group has released a companion CD to the book The Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative Process written by singer songwriter Donna Ulisse. The CD is titled The Songwriter in Me: The Demo Recordings and includes all twenty-four songs that are featured in the book as lyrics.

As soon as the book was completed, Ulisse approached Kathy Anderson at Hadley Music Group with the vision of a companion CD offering readers of the book the opportunity to also listen to the songs as they were reading the lyrics along with the notes Ulisse has in the book regarding the meter of each song, how the melody works with the lyric and rhyming patterns. It was also her vision to present the songs in much more sparse arrangements than her other recordings to show the listeners how she often hears her songs when she writes them and also how she records them to present to her publisher as a representation to pitch to other artists, inspiring "The Demo Recordings" as part of the title.

All of the songs are recorded with just acoustic guitar tracks and and on occasion an additional mandolin, fiddle and vocal harmony. Musicians on the CD are Bryan Sutton, Kenny Smith, Glen Duncan and Tony King. Ulisse's husband and co-writer on many of the songs, Rick Stanley, sings harmonies on multiple tracks and also sang lead on the song "The Man That I Am" which Ulisse felt was a bit more believable than having her sing it!

The album includes some of Donna Ulisse's most popular songs such as "Let it Rain", "Showin' My Roots", and "I Am A Child of God" as well as many songs that have yet to be heard. However, even the familiar songs will sound fresh to those familiar with the original releases when they hear them in this stripped down setting.

The beauty of the CD is that you don't need to own the book to simply enjoy the recordings but if you do own the book, you will surely want to add the CD to your collection.

The Songwriter in Me: The Demo Recordings, is currently available at Amazon.com, iTunes, CD Baby and Donna Ulisse's online store. Select tracks will be available to radio through Airplay Direct after April 15, 2015.

Tags: Donna UlisseThe Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative ProcessCD ReleaseThe Songwriter in Me: The Demo RecordingsCompanion CD

Band Of Ruhks' Self-Titled Debut Album on AirPlay Direct

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 22:18

101 Ranch Records released the first Band of Ruhks CD on March 17th from the group that includes Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith of the acclaimed Lonesome River Band. The album was featured on yesterday's AirPlay Direct Global Radio E-blast. Some things have a magic all their own. The musical collaboration between Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith is one of these things. These three men made music together in the 1990’s as members of The Lonesome River Band. Their work there was critically acclaimed and during the apex of the group’s popularity. In 2001, each of them embarked on their own personal musical journeys that led to new heights and influences.

Ronnie Bowman has long been regarded as one of Bluegrass music’s finest singers and songwriters. With a string of awards (IBMA and SPGBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, etc.) and numerous nominations and accolades, his resume is outstanding to say the least. He has written #1 hits for country artists and led his own band The Committee for years. In addition to this, he performs regularly with The Likely Culprits in Nashville and tours with Lee Ann Womack as well as his old singing partner Dan Tyminski. Considered a formidable music producer, he can often be found behind the mixing console in the studio at the helm of various recording sessions. Busy? Yes.

Don Rigsby became the first full-time director of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music in 2001. He remained in that position for 8 years. During that time he formed his own band Midnight Call and toured the US and overseas too. As a charter member of the super group Longview he always has kept his strong love for old school Bluegrass music in the front of his musical conscience too. Rigsby is also an acclaimed music producer, session musician and teacher. He is a sought after session vocalist and has provided harmony vocals on such projects as Alan Jackson’s “Bluegrass Album” (Along with Ronnie Bowman), James King’s “Three Chords and the Truth” and Peter Rowan’s “Old School”, to name some recent examples. Busy? Oh yes.

Kenny Smith formed a band with his wife Amanda Smith and immediately found success. The duo captured the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award their first year of existence. Since that time, they have embarked on a remarkable journey of love and music that has led them all over the world. Smith is regarded as being a true original guitar stylist. Kenny is a two-time winner of IBMA Guitar Player of the Year and has been nominated multiple times. He combines elements from many of his musical mentors, but is completely unique. He is called for his expertise in the studio and as a guitar instructor and has various instructional materials that showcase his unique style and mastery of his instrument. He teaches regularly at scores of camps. His recent project “The Return” was a follow-up to his classic solo project “Studebaker”. He continues to perform with Amanda as a duet in concerts and at festivals all across America. Awarded? Yes. Busy? You bet.

Flash forward to 2010. Following a Lonesome River Band reunion performance, these gentlemen began to explore the possibility of making music together again. They too realized the significance of their past works, but were itching to make new music together. Out of this desire and their longstanding friendship and mutual admiration, Band of Ruhks was born. Bowman, Rigsby and Smith are excited for what the future has in store for this new band.

Their debut album, Band Of Ruhks, released by 101 Ranch Records, features songs from the pens of such writers as Mark Collie, Chris Stapleton, Harley Allen, and of course Ronnie Bowman himself. The first single, “Coal Mining Man”, is a writing collaboration of Bowman and Mark Collie. It features a cameo from the iconic Dr. Ralph Stanley. Rigsby says,” I have known Ralph since I was a child and he is a life-long friend. I am thrilled to have him here with us and as always, he nailed it. Nobody else sounds like him.” The project offers something for everyone from the most prolific Bluegrass aficionado to country music fans to adult contemporary listeners and all points in between. Catch up with this exciting new sound at http://www.bandofruhks.com/ and see what all the chatter is all about.

Tags: Band of RuhksAirPlay DirectPromotion

Four Music Veterans Announce Launch of Union House Records

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 22:16

Hickory, NC -- Mike Bentley, Jeff Brown, Shannon Slaughter, and Dale Felts are proud to announce the formation of a new record label, Union House Records focusing on bluegrass and acoustic music releases. The label will kick off with a soon to be released new single by Mike Bentley & Cumberland Gap Connection with the full album hitting stores later this year followed by a new album by Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome.

"Forming a label is a huge task, but I feel it's the right thing for me at this point in my career. Being with a group of guys that have the same vision is both comforting and exciting. My hope for the future of Union House Records is to be a label that can bring this great music to folks for years to come," said Brown.

Shannon Slaughter is already celebrating a successful album release. Never Just a Song by Shannon and Heather Slaughter includes the current #5 Bluegrass Today Monthly Top 20 hit “Moonshiner.” "I’m real excited to be a part of Union House Records! Each of the assembled owners brings a little different perspective to the label and that’s great. The guys involved here are really bright, hard-working folks and we all have a focused vision for Union House Records. We came together in a supportive coalition to provide an artist driven label to bluegrass music. Union House Records – By Artists, For Artists,” said Shannon. With a sensitive ear for timing, taste, and tone – Shannon, in addition to the other artist members of the label, will play a huge part in critiquing the material released from all current and future Union House Records artists.

Mike Bentley also has a keen ear and will be depended on, along with the other artist members, to help the label’s current roster put out great music and make sure Union House Records is extremely selective in additions to the label. Dale Felts will handle the copyrighting, publishing, royalty distribution and music licensing aspects for the company.

For more information on Union House Records, please visit their new website at www.UnionHouseRecords.com. The new partners also invite music fans to follow the label on Facebook.com/unionhouserecords and Twitter @UnionHousemusic to keep up with upcoming announcements.

Tags: Union House RecordsBusinessMike BentleyJeff BrownShannon SlaughterDale Felts

Volume Five’s Voices Album Reaches New Heights

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 22:13

Booneville, MS -- In just a few short months, Volume Five’s album, Voices on Mountain Fever Records, has soared to new heights on the radio charts. Voices is currently #1 on SiriusXM Radio Bluegrass Junction’s Most Played Albums chart, made its debut on the April Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine National Bluegrass Survey Top 15 Album Chart, and is #3 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Bluegrass Albums this week.

Voices is the group’s fifth album and features 12 tracks – five of which are now appearing on a variety of bluegrass radio charts. “Dream Softly” is the #1 song on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction’s Most Played Tracks this month, #6 on Bluegrass Today’s (BT) Top 20 chart, and #13 on the Roots Music Report along with "Sam's Gap" at #29. Two other songs appear on this week's Bluegrass Today Top 20 including “Going Across the Mountain” at #5 and “King of California” at #20 with "Faithfully" making its debut last month. “King of California” also moved up five spots this month on the Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine's National Bluegrass Survey Top 30 Song Chart as well.

Media has also raved about the album with recent reviews stating:

“Volume Five has been releasing some of the best new modern traditional bluegrass around for the past several years.” - Bluegrass Today

“Voices — the fifth album the group has released under the Mountain Fever Records label — showcases a blend of bluegrass styles, from traditional to contemporary. The album’s shift from an introspective tune at one moment, to a rousing and robust song the next, is done with incredible finesse. Volume Five can do it all, and with Voices, they do so with the reliability of a train that still, somewhere, comes down Main Street on a regular basis.” - Parchbench

“Voices is bluegrass at full strength. From the opener, an inspired reading of Dave Alvin's folk ballad ‘King of California’ to the closer, the ironically titled ‘Faithfully,’ Volume Five shows its affinity for hard-hitting storytelling songs, while numbers like Amanda’ and ‘Colder and Colder’ resound with bedrock emotional truth. A 21st-century band in the best sense, Volume Five yet remains firmly rooted in tradition, in a fusion of old and new that brings to mind, without imitating, the early Country Gentlemen. Voices fits my definition of a great bluegrass album: one that reminds me why I fell in love with the music all those years ago. If they keep at it at this level, these guys are surely bound for glory.” - Rambles.Net

“With endorsements from Rhonda Vincent (who supplied guest vocals on one track) and Balsam Range vocalist Buddy Melton, this band has some enthusiastic admirers. I’m now one of them.” - Black Rose Acoustic

Volume Five includes the talents of Glen Harrell (Lead Vocals & Fiddle), Harry Clark (Mandolin & Vocals), Chris Williamson (Bass & Vocals), Patton Wages (Banjo & Vocals), and Colby Laney (Guitar & Vocals) who earned two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) nominations last year – one for Emerging Artist of the Year and the other for “The Day We Learn to Fly” in the Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year category.

Tags: Volume FiveVoicesCharts#1

The Big Bang Of Country Music To Come Full Circle at HoustonFest

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 22:05

Tourism and Music Industry representatives announced a special showcase to be presented at HoustonFest on May 1 & 2, 2015. HoustonFest will hold a special showcase of historic importance. The group recently announced the creation of Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited CD project. Eleven of the 17 artists performing on this historic CD project will be appearing at HoustonFest 2015.

The Bristol Sessions, held in 1927 by Victor Talking Machine Company producer Ralph Peer, are considered by many as the “Big Bang” of modern country music. This landmark event ushered in the commercial debuts of pioneers of country music Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Peer set up a makeshift recording studio in Taylor-Christian Hat Company building on State Street in Bristol. The center line on State Street marks the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. Numerous musicians from the region responded to the advertisements to audition for recordings in Bristol. Musicians from the Galax, Carroll, and Grayson area included Ernest Stoneman, Hattie Stoneman, Norm Edmonds, J. P. Nestor, Eck Dunford, Henry Whitter and The Shelor Family as Dad Blackard’s Moonshiners.

Ernest “Pop” Stoneman from Galax played an integral role in helping Peer comb the region for rural talent. Stoneman convinced Peer to travel through southern Appalachia and record artists who might otherwise have been unable to travel to New York. Peer recognized the potential with the mountain music, as even residents of Appalachia who didn’t have electricity were using hand-cranked Victrolas.

Stoneman was the first to record with Peer, doing so on July 25, 1927. He recorded with his wife Hattie and friends such as Eck Dunford and Mooney Brewer. A newspaper article about one of Stoneman’s recordings, (Skip To Ma Lou My Darling), which stressed the $3,600 in royalties that Stoneman had received the previous year and the $100 a day he was receiving for recording in Bristol, generated much more interest. Dozens of artists went to Bristol, many of whom had never been to Bristol in their lives. Eventually, nineteen artists recorded seventy-six songs during the 12 day Bristol Sessions.

Now, more than 85 years later, some of Nashville’s top recording artists have hit the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Carl Jackson to capture the magic of those songs.

“Orthophonic Joy: 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” honors the songs that Ralph Peer captured over the 12 days of recording on State Street in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia. It also sheds a spotlight on the surrounding mountainous region that was the wellspring of deep-rooted tunes that gave rise to the worldwide phenomenon of American Country Music.

Music legends Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, and esteemed bluegrass great Doyle Lawson are among the amazing roster of 17 talented performers on the project. Also performing on the upcoming CD are The Church Sisters, and Wayne Henderson & the Virginia Luthier Band from here in the Galax area.

HoustonFest 2015 will host an extraordinary lineup of artists who will perform songs from this soon to be released project. Grammy award winner, Carl Jackson will moderate “Orthophonic Joy: 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited Showcase” at HoustonFest in Felts Park, Galax, VA on May 1 & 2, 2015. A stellar lineup of artists from the project will perform at HoustonFest 2015 including: Marty Stuart, Steep Canyon Rangers, Doyle Lawson, Jesse McReynolds, The Chuck Wagon Gang, Shotgun Rubies, Ashley and Shannon Campbell, The Church Sisters, The Virginia Luthier Band, Corbin Hayslett, and Larry Cordle.

“There’s no more fitting place than Felts Park in Galax, VA (the hallowed ground of the Galax Fiddlers Convention) to kick-off and showcase this soon to be released project that pays tribute to the music pioneers from our region and sparked commercial popularity of country music,” says Debbie Robinson, HoustonFest Executive Director. “ HoustonFest organizers and the Galax Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), Tennessee Tourism, The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (BCMA), and all those involved in this incredible project.”

Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited is set to be released by the summer of 2015. HoustonFest organizers and the Galax Volunteer Fire Department proudly recognize the significance of the original 1927 Bristol Sessions and the newly produced Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. As Johnny Cash once said, “The Bristol Sessions is the single-most important event in the history of country music!”

Music festivals of the region draw tens of thousands of fans from around the world. Divergent veins of music run throughout Virginia, producing famous names in a variety of genres. Virginia’s music reverberates around the world today with new sounds and influences but still finds a home among the hills of Appalachia.

On May 1 & 2, 2015, “The Big Bang of Country Music” Comes Full Circle with this special presentation at HoustonFest in Galax, VA.
What: HoustonFest
When: May 1 & 2, 2015
Where: Felts Park, Galax, VA
Tickets & Info: www.HoustonFestGalax.com

Tags: HoustonFestOrthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions RevisitedGalaxMusic FestivalEvent

Carter Fold Hosts Raymond McLain & Morehead State Mountain Music Ambassadors

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 22:03

Hiltons, VA -- Raymond McLain has been performing at Carter Family shows since Janette Carter first began presenting concerts in the old A.P. Carter Grocery in 1974 – first with his family, the McLain Family Band – and later with ETSU when he was head of the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program. Raymond is currently the Director of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University. He also performs, produces, and records. Raymond serves on the Carter Music Center’s board of directors in addition to serving as the Artistic Director at the Fold. Raymond’s father served on the Music Center’s board from the time it was created in 1979. When his father died, Raymond agreed to occupy the board seat his dad once held. The long and loving friendship between the McLain and Carter families dates back nearly 40 years to the early 1970s.

Saturday, April 11th, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by Raymond McLain and the Morehead State Mountain Music Ambassadors. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

Raymond’s 40 plus years of entertaining have taken him to performances in all 50 states and 62 foreign countries, including a tour as a musical ambassador of the U.S. State Department. For 21 years with the McLain Family Band, Raymond performed at hundreds of thousands of festivals and concerts internationally and as a soloist in appearances with over 230 orchestras. Raymond was with Jim & Jesse’s Virginia Boys for ten years. He currently performs with Canadian harmonica whiz, Mike Stevens. Through the years, the McLains have produced dozens of CDs and records.

Raymond’s sister, Ruth McLain Smith, will be performing with him along with other faculty members and students from the Morehead State University Traditional Music program. Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina have traditionally produced some of the finest country, bluegrass, and old time musicians in the world. Carter Music Center strives to preserve not only the music of the mountains but the traditions of the mountains as well. Come out and support the next generation of mountain musicians. There will be lots of fiddle tunes, outstanding harmony, amazing instrumentals, and lots of fun for all ages. Bring your dancing shoes, and bring along your friends for a memorable night of Appalachian music and dance. To learn more about the KY Center for Traditional Arts go to http://www.moreheadstate.edu/kctm/ on line.

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: Raymond McLain & Morehead State Mountain Music AmbassadorsRaymond McLainCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Things are Heating Up for the Durango Meltdown

Sat, 04/04/2015 - 22:06

Durango, CO -- As winter season winds down and the snow melts in Durango, Colorado, skiers from all over the world are packing up and heading home. What these snow-seekers don’t know is that the off-season is the perfect time to relax, sit back, and enjoy the fresh air, while taking in some of the country’s best bluegrass music. Next month, Durango is set to host the Bluegrass Meltdown, an annual event that draws in top talent from all over the country. Quality Inn Durango offers a front row seat to all of the action, situated in the perfect spot for easy access to each of the venues, to hop around town, and catch a sampling of some mouthwatering craft beers.

Some acts from the 2015 lineup include: Balsam Range, Shawn Camp, The Special Consensus, Rebecca Fraser and Hit and Run, Finnders and Youngberg, The Railsplitters, Locust Honey String Band, and Caribou Mountain Collective, to name a few.

Quality Inn Durango owner Mary Hert comments, “Music lovers get a real taste of Durango and the bluegrass scene during the Meltdown Festival. Guests of the hotel can listen and jam with true bluegrass artists and experience some of Durango’s local venues. The Bluegrass Meltdown provides a unique perspective of Durango for visitors and locals and we are so happy to accommodate throughout the experience.”

The Bluegrass Meltdown takes place April 17 – 19 and events happen throughout the city. Visitors staying at the Durango Colorado hotel can experience the music in venues including the historic Henry Strater Theater, Durango Arts Center, Wildhorse Saloon, and Discovery Museum. There are activities for everyone in the family including an old time barn dance and childrens’ workshops.

Quality Inn Durango also offers a fun-filled brewery package for those who wish to imbibe in the local flavors while enjoying the festival. The brewery special, Taps, Trolleys, and Tours, Oh My! gives Durango, Colorado guests a round-about tour of the city’s top breweries beginning with a pint of choice from the Durango Brewery, flight tasters from Steamworks Brewing, and a sampling from the world headquarters of Ska Brewing. Participants can head out on the town at 4 p.m. on the trolley or take the hotel’s cruiser bikes for a spin.

For more details on booking a room at the Quality Inn Durango, purchasing Bluegrass Meltdown Tickets, or adding on a brewery tour package, visit http://www.qualityinndurango.com or call 970-422-1924. Quality Inn Durango is located at 2930 Main Street, Durango Colorado 81301.

Tags: Balsam RangeDurango MeltdownSpecial ConsensusHit and RunBluegrass FestivalEvent

The Gibson Brothers To Receive Honorary Doctorates

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 22:17

Nashville, TN -- Acclaimed bluegrass musicians and Rounder recording artists Eric and Leigh Gibson are to be honored by the State University of New York (SUNY) with honorary degrees of doctor of fine arts at SUNY Plattsburgh’s spring 2015 commencement, which will take place on May 15.

Both of the Gibsons are graduates of SUNY Plattsburgh: Eric Gibson received a BA in Secondary Education - English in 1993, and Leigh Gibson earned two bachelor’s degrees there: in 1994, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in communication, and in 1996, he followed up with a BA in English.

The brothers, who grew up on a dairy farm in northern New York, have maintained deep ties to the region. Leigh Gibson reflects, “Attending Plattsburgh State allowed me a chance to experience a world outside of our small farming community. Yet because of its close proximity to Ellenburg. I was able to stay close to the roots that make up such large part of my music. I couldn't have made a better choice.” Eric Gibson echoes his brother’s sentiment, adding, “Receiving this honor is one of the nicest surprises of my life. To be honored at our alma mater makes it even more special. We have many great memories from our days at Plattsburgh State University.”

For more than two decades, they have been among the most admired and sought-after groups in the bluegrass world. Over the course of their career, the International Bluegrass Music Association has bestowed eleven awards on the Gibsons, including two consecutive “Entertainer of the Year” honors in 2012 and 2013.

The Gibson Brothers’ recently released album Brotherhood has garnered high praise from critics. All Music’s Thom Jurek proclaimed “These covers -- many iconic, some obscure -- offer proof of the Gibson's own contribution to the bluegrass lineage with glorious harmonies and subtle liberties that carve these songs deeper into the American grain,” while the Boston Globe’s Stuart Munro called the brothers “an exemplar of the brother harmony tradition.”

Country Standard Time declared “But that's what Eric and Leigh Gibson have been doing for more than two decades now, putting out extraordinary music. It may be mostly in the bluegrass realm, but "Brotherhood" highlights their keen sense for and knowledge of what great country music sounds like.”

Tags: The Gibson BrothersLeigh and Eric GibsonHonorary Doctorate

Donna Ulisse Songwriting Book is Now an E-Book!

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 22:14

The Songwriter In Me: Snapshots of My Creative Process, written by singer songwriter and three time nominee for the International Bluegrass Music Association's Songwriter of The Year award, Donna Ulisse, is now available as an e-book. As more readers move to reading books on various electronic devices, Hadley Music Group wanted to ensure that Ulisse's book was available in a digital format. Readers can now find it in the Amazon Kindle store, Barnes and Noble Nook store and as an iBook in iTunes.

The Songwriter In Me unfolds like a visit with an old friend — down-home, easygoing, conversational — as Ulisse invites you in to "this beautiful place where I make music these days." Peppered with personal anecdotes and generous insights, this handy book stands as a tribute to the power of the imagination.

You don't have to be a songwriter to reap its benefits. Ulisse's suggestions can help you whether you are writing a song, a poem, or a short story — or for that matter, a speech, a sermon or marketing copy. As the title of one early chapter says, "Creativity Keeps You Young," and Ulisse stands as living proof, showing no signs of slowing down her prolific output of new songs and recordings, touring with her band The Poor Mountain Boys, and now teaching in her traveling songwriting workshops she is taking around the country called Songwriting Escape.

Ulisse also explains the mechanics of songwriting, such as rhyme, "syllable sense" and meter, and how she approaches the different parts of a song; discusses the joys (and necessity) of rewriting; and describes her process of "song scrapping," or finding ideas for songs. She provides helpful tips for collaboration and shares some of her favorite tools of the trade, as well as other outlets to help you in your songwriting journey. Along the way, Ulisse offers numerous examples from her own rich catalog of songs and provides exercises that will help you hone your creative skills.

Spend a little time with Donna Ulisse and you'll be enriched by the experience! Learn more about Donna Ulisse at her website: www.DonnaUlisse.com

Tags: Donna UlisseBookThe Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative ProcessE-book

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Announces 2015 finalists

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 22:09

Wilkesboro, NC -- Finalists have been selected for the annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest 2015. Now in its 23rd year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest 2015, presented by Window World, takes place from April 23-26 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.

Each of the 12 finalists will enjoy admission and lodging for three nights at MerleFest and receive a songwriting workshop with Jim Lauderdale, Jesse Bellamy, Peter Rowan and Bruce Robinson. As the grand prize, renowned label Pinecastle Records will present a one-song contract to each first place winner in all categories – bluegrass, gospel/inspirational, country and general categories – along with $500 to record their winning songs. Then Pinecastle Records will manufacture a four-song compilation CD of the winning songs and distribute it to radio stations across the United States and Canada. The first place winners will also receive $500 cash from MerleFest and a performance slot on the Cabin Stage on Friday night of the festival.

Writers of the following 12 songs, selected from over 639 entries, will compete on the Austin Stage in Alumni Hall at MerleFest on Friday, April 24:

  • Bluegrass
    • Donna Hughes (Trinity, N.C.) – “Blackbeard”
    • Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.) and Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.)– “Deer in the Headlights Look”
    • David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.), Mitch Matthews (Hamtramck, Mich.) and Dawn Kenney (Waltham, Mass.) – “Something About A Train”
  • Gospel/Inspirational
    • Robert Holthauser (Popular Springs, N.C.) and Rick Pardue (Popular Springs, N.C.) – “Brother Paul”
    • Benjamin Lauckhaupt (West Harrison, Ind.) – “Oh, Lazarus”
    • Dave Herring (Charlottesville, Va.) – “Though I Walk”
  • Country
    • Hunter and Suzy Owens (Sydney, Australia) – “It Would Be Easier”
    • Savannah Smith (Asheville, N.C.) – “Mississippi”
    • Carri Smithey (Burlington, N.C.), Josh Coe (Saxapahaw, N.C.), Ryan Burgess (Burlington, N.C.) and Keith Ingalls (Burlington, N.C.) – “No More.”
  • General
    • Kristen Grainger of True North Band (Salem, Ore.) – “Doris Dean”
    • Laura Kaufman (Boone, N.C.) – “Through the Grave”
    • Carter Sampson (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – “Wild Bird”

The first-round judges were: Singer/songwriter/musician Tift Merritt; David Mayfield, singer/songwriter/musician and Grammy-nominated producer; Joe Lurgio, Tenbooks Media; Ashlee-Jean Trott of Music City Roots; Judy McDonough of JEMMedia; Megan Bedford of Sugar Hill Records; singer/songwriter/musician Jason Lee McKinney; Whitney Holmes of the Americana Music Association; and singer/songwriter/musician Joseph Terrell, who is a member of Mipso and won the CASC general category last year for his song “Angelina Jane is Long Gone.” Tift Merritt won MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in 2000 and served as a first-round judge at MerleFest 2014.

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

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 81 deserving students. For more details about the contest, visit www.MerleFest.org/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest.

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Chris Austin, from Boone, North Carolina, worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. During that time he was discovered by executives at Warner Bros. Nashville, who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles including “Blues Stay Away From Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” Austin also developed his songwriting skills, as evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991. On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed in the mountains near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warnersongs and currently general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, then MerleFest consultant and “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.

Tags: Chris Austin Songwriting ContestMerlefestSongwritingContestDonna HughesDavid MorrisBuddy Guido

"Reno's Old Time Music" April Lineup: Larry Sparks, Steve Gulley & More

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 22:04

Nashville, TN -- "Reno's Old Time Music" keeps things hopping in April with another great lineup! The month begins with family and the legacy of today's Reno & Harrell. Then, Larry Sparks celebrates 50 years in the business with performances of new material and few of his signature songs. And you don't want to miss masterful tenor and award-winning songwriter Steve Gulley & Friends. Finally, climb aboard as Ronnie hits the road and travels to one of his favorite traditional music hotspots, Renfro Valley Entertainment Center!

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

April 4 - 9:
When one hears the name Reno & Harrell, one can't help but recall the 1960's Bluegrass act featuring Don Reno and Bill Harrell and The Tennessee Cut-ups. However, the current rendition of the group was formed by their laureate sons, Don Wayne and Dale "Deacon" Reno (Ronnie Reno's younger siblings), and Mitch Harrell, who continue their amazing legacy. Tune in and watch them perform and reminisce about their legendary fathers.
 
April 11 - 16:
Known for iconic songs such as "John Deere Tractor," "Tennessee 1949" and "A Face in the Crowd," the legendary Larry Sparks commemorates over five decades of great music playing some of his old hits and cuts from his latest project, Lonesome and Then Some: A Classic 50th Celebration. Sparks got his start alongside the legendary Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys and went on to front his own band (The Lonesome Ramblers), releasing over 60 albums and touring extensively. In 2004, Sparks was named "Male Vocalist of the Year" by the IBMA. He was named "Male Vocalist of the Year" for the second consecutive year in 2005, but also took home honors for "Recorded Event of the Year" and "Album of the Year"--a testament to his unfading talent and legendary stature in Bluegrass. Bluegrass lovers, you don't want to miss this show!
 
April 18 - 23:
Steve Gulley is also considered one of the top vocalists in the Bluegrass world, known for his lofty tenor voice and emotional delivery. Twice nominated for SPBGMA "Male Vocalist of the Year," Gulley has lent his talent as a harmony and/or featured vocalist on projects such as the widely praised Keith Whitley album, Sad Songs And Waltzes and many other projects featuring Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski, Tim Stafford, Dwight McCall, Dale Ann Bradley, Jeff Parker and country singer Ken Mellons just to name a few.
 
As a songwriter, Gulley earned IBMA "Song of the Year" honors in 2008 with a song he co-wrote with Tim Stafford. He has also had his songs recorded by many top groups including Blue Highway, Kenny & Amanda Smith and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Gulley's appearance corresponds with his move to finally step out as a frontman and the release of Steve Gulley & The New Pinnacle, one of the most highly-anticipated releases of 2015.
 
April 25 - 30:
It's no secret that Ronnie Reno is a connoisseur of Traditional music. In this episode, he takes fans on a trip to one of his favorite Kentucky music hotspots, Renfro Valley Entertainment Center in Renfro Valley, Kentucky. A traditional home for great music since 1939, this beautiful facility is located on a 55 acre complex which also includes an old-time town complete with great village shops. Just a couple of miles away from the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Renfro Valley is considered Kentucky's Country Music Capital. Join Ronnie as he explores one of his favorite places for music and discover this nearly 75 year tradition.
 

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

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

Today, "Reno's Old Time Music" has nearly doubled its carriage with its transition to the RFD-TV network, reaching an estimated 46 million homes weekly and pulling an estimated 1.2 million monthly viewers. Although the name has changed slightly, the format remains largely the same, which includes performances by Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition and the weekly featured guest, an interview segment, the extremely popular “Super Pickers” segment and a sterling closing performance by the guest, who is joined by Reno on the Main Stage. Reno was honored with both the IBMA "Distinguished Achievement" (2006) and "Broadcaster of the Year" (2013) awards due to the continued success of the show.

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

For more information on Ronnie Reno or "Reno's Old Time Music," please visit www.RonnieReno.com.

Tags: Reno's Old Time MusicLarry SparksSteve GulleyLineupBroadcast

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road Release New Video with Kentucky Headhunters

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 22:32
Nashville, TN -- Bluegrass crowd-favorites Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road along with Grammy award-winning The Kentucky Headhunters have joined forces to record and release "Runnin' Water," a collaboration that can be found on the forthcoming Country Grass, which will be released by Pinecastle Records on June 9. The music video for "Runnin' Water," premiered exclusively on The Boot, and is available on iTunes. Radio can download the new single via AirplayDirect.

"We had so much fun making this video, and I think it really shows," says Lorraine Jordan. "This is just a sample of what's to come on this upcoming project."

The video was shot on location in Kentucky, which happens to be the place where The Kentucky Headhunters hit singles have been recorded. In addition to The Kentucky Headhunters, country music hit-makers T.G. Sheppard, Crystal Gayle, John Conlee, Lee Greenwood, Lynn Anderson, Eddy Raven, Jim Ed Brown, Kelly Lang and Jesse Keith Whitley all serve up a little classic country with a bluegrass twist.

Stay tuned for more information. "Runnin' Water" is currently being worked to the Music Row reporting radio panel by Jan Woods Promotions and Promotions by Regina.

Alligator Records has set a June 2 street date for Meet Me In Bluesland, a previously unreleased album by Grammy-winning Southern blues-rockers The Kentucky Headhunters with pianist Johnnie Johnson, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The performances found Johnson -- the man Rolling Stone called “the greatest sideman in rock and roll” for his groundbreaking piano work with Chuck Berry -- playing some of the deepest and most rocking blues piano of his legendary career. With The Kentucky Headhunters at their down-home best, the record is a country-fried, blues-infused party from start to finish.

With the The Kentucky Headhunters' release of Meet Me In Bluesland, these timeless and rollicking performances are available for the first time. The album grooves from the raunchy rock of" Stumblin’" to the slide-fueled "Superman Blues" to the roof-raising version of "Little Queenie" to the rocking "Party In Heaven" to the salacious "She’s Got To Have It" (the last vocal Johnson ever recorded).

With Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road and The Kentucky Headhunters both putting out fresh new music, it is going to be an exciting start to for a musically hot summer!

Tags: Lorraine Jordan & Carolina RoadThe Kentucky HeadhuntersVideoNew Release

Concord Music Group Acquires Sugar Hill & Vanguard Records

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 22:30

Concord Music Group is extremely pleased to announce that it has acquired renowned independent record labels Vanguard and Sugar Hill from the Welk Music Group.

Founded in 1947, Vanguard Records has carried forward a sterling legacy of artistic excellence and achievement in blues, folk, rock, country and jazz. Currently, Vanguard’s admired roster includes Indigo Girls, Chris Isaak, John Butler Trio, John Fogerty, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Matt Nathanson, O.A.R., Barenaked Ladies, Sallie Ford, Marc Broussard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Trevor Hall to name a few. Its iconic catalog includes hundreds of pivotal titles from Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Levon Helm, Buddy Guy, Country Joe and the Fish, Big Mama Thornton, Mississippi John Hurt, John Fahey and Buffy Sainte-Marie amongst many others.

With deep roots in bluegrass, folk, country and Americana, Nashville-based Sugar Hill Records, founded in 1978, has maintained a tradition of high integrity and extraordinary quality over its impressive history. Today, the eclectic Sugar Hill roster features acclaimed artists such as Sarah Jarosz, Lee Ann Womack, Liz Longley, Corey Smith, Kasey Chambers, Sam Bush, moe., Bryan Sutton, Black Prairie and many more. A brief sampling from its classic catalog includes albums from Nickel Creek, Don Williams, Doc Watson, Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, New Grass Revival, Robert Earl Keen, Tim O’Brien and Tony Rice.

Post-acquisition, Welk Music Group President Kevin Welk will remain engaged with Vanguard and Sugar Hill as Chief Creative for the labels. In this capacity, he will continue to contribute toward the development and optimization of the labels’ artist rosters.

In Los Angeles, Vanguard’s operations and label team will be merged under Concord’s Fantasy Label Group. Dan Sell, General Manager of Vanguard prior to the acquisition, will continue to lead the label’s operations as Vanguard’s Chief Operating Officer. He will report to Fantasy Label Group president, Margi Cheske.

In Nashville, Sugar Hill’s operations and label team will be merged under Concord’s Rounder Label Group. Cliff O’Sullivan, General Manager of Sugar Hill prior to the acquisition, will be the label group’s Chief Operating Officer and will report to group president, John Virant.

"Concord is strengthened today by the addition of Vanguard and Sugar Hill’s acclaimed artist roster, renowned catalog and gifted executives,” stated Concord Music Group CEO Glen Barros. "This acquisition further establishes Concord Music Group as a home for extraordinary artists. We welcome Vanguard and Sugar Hill into the Concord family and look forward to building upon their great legacies.”

"Strategically, we couldn’t find a better home for Vanguard and Sugar Hill,” stated Kevin Welk, President of Welk Music Group. "Not only will they care for our historic catalog and distinguished artists, their desire to grow the new artist business was paramount in the decision. Combining the executive talent of both companies will strengthen Concord’s ability to nurture new talent and be a force in this business.”

The acquisition of Vanguard and Sugar Hill closely follows the recent merger of Concord Music Group, one of the largest independent music companies in the world, and The Bicycle Music Company, a leading independent music publisher, record label and rights manager, into Concord Bicycle Music. In connection with this merger, Concord Bicycle Music announced that it raised $100 million of additional capital to fund further growth through continued music rights acquisitions and artist development investments. These moves position this now fully integrated recorded music and publishing powerhouse as one of the fastest growing independent music companies in the world.

Concord Bicycle Music, based in Beverly Hills, California and Nashville, Tennessee is comprised of Concord Music Group and The Bicycle Music Company. Concord Music Group primarily manages the company’s recorded music activities, while The Bicycle Music Company oversees publishing and rights management.

Concord Bicycle Music’s portfolio of more than 9,000 active album recordings includes at least 260 RIAA certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum releases (including one of only 115 RIAA Diamond® albums, attesting to USA consumer sales in excess of 10 million units). Its collection also includes 210 Grammy® winners (more than 5% of the Grammy® awards ever presented in the 57-year history of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences).

Its master recording catalog features works by AFI, Gregg Allman, George Benson, The Brand New Heavies, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, The Connells, Creed, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Drowning Pool, Evanescence, Finger Eleven, Vince Guaraldi, Isaac Hayes, Kenny G, Carole King, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Steve Martin, Paul McCartney and Wings, Nine Inch Nails, The Offspring, The Pharcyde, Robert Plant, Raffi, Otis Redding, Seether, Paul Simon, The Skyliners, Social Distortion, The Staple Singers, James Taylor, George Thorogood, Tone-Loc, Brenton Wood and Young MC. A small sampling of the company’s active recording roster includes Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Paul Simon, Ben Harper, Seether, Valerie June, Dave Koz, Esperanza Spalding, and Kenny G; and through its partnership with Loma Vista Recordings, Spoon, St. Vincent and Marilyn Manson.

The company’s celebrated family of labels includes Concord Records, Concord Jazz, Fantasy, Rounder, Stax, Hear Music, Milestone, Nitro, Prestige, Riverside, Specialty, Telarc, Loma Vista, Bicycle, Vee-Jay and recent acquisitions Vanguard and Sugar Hill.

Concord Bicycle Music’s songbook includes over 55,000 copyrighted works and more than 750 Billboard® chart hits, featuring the standards Always On My Mind, Bad Moon Rising, Because of You, Born On The Bayou, Bring Me To Life, Bust A Move, Come On Get Happy, Crossroads Blues, Down On The Corner, Eye of the Tiger, Fortunate Son, Guantanamera, Guitars Cadillacs, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Hang On Sloopy, Hurt, Ironic, Lady Sings The Blues, The Letter, Let Your Love Flow, Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, Man In The Mirror, Proud Mary, Sister Christian, Slow Ride, Stand By Your Man, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, This Is How We Do It, Time After Time, The Wanderer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Who’ll Stop The Rain, Wild Thing and the Tony® Grammy® Pulitzer® winner A Chorus Line.

The Concord Bicycle Music songwriter portfolio contains works by Roy Ayers, Marty Balin, Glen Ballard, Sammy Cahn, Wes Farrell, The Fixx, John Fogerty, Foghat, Marvin Hamlisch, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Montell Jordan, Josh Kelley, Cyndi Lauper, Ernie Maresca, Marilyn Manson, Ben Moody, Night Ranger, Nine Inch Nails, Jim Peterik, Sonny Rollins, Pete Seeger and Third Eye Blind.

Tags: Concord Music GroupVanguardSugar Hill RecordsBusiness

Kentucky Commits $5-Million for International Bluegrass Music Center Building

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 22:27

Owensboro, KY - In a press conference Wednesday morning at the Owensboro Convention Center, Governor Steve Beshear announced plans for the state of Kentucky to provide an additional $5 million towards the International Bluegrass Music Center. Several state and local government officials spoke during the press conference including Representative Tommy Thompson, state Senator Joe Bowen, Mayor Ron Payne, and Bluegrass Museum chairmen, Terry Woodward and Rosemary Conder.

Governor Beshear attributed the partnership of state and city governments to the vision, hard work and planning of the citizens of Owensboro. These funds represent the last of the money needed to begin construction of the Center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this summer, with completion expected in 2017.

"A rebirth is underway in Owensboro, today we prove that rebirth continues," he explained.

"The board is very grateful to the state of Kentucky; in particular, the Governor and elected Representatives for their tremendous support of our organization and the realization of bluegrass music as Kentucky's gift to the world." - Rosemary Conder, Chairman of IBMC design committee.

In November, 2012, the International Bluegrass Music Museum embarked on the most exciting and challenging project in its 23-year history -- to build a new International Bluegrass Music Center. This Center will house an exciting and vastly improved new museum, as well as the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, a 500-seat state-of-the-art concert hall, an international hall, teaching rooms, a research library, and a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Ohio River.

The City of Owensboro is providing a free 99-year lease to the museum for the prime riverfront property upon which the new Center will be built, as well as contributing $3 million to the project. The property comprises an entire city block at the heart of our newly revitalized downtown area, and is adjacent to our new Convention Center, two new hotels, and our new $64 million waterfront park.

This $13.5 million project will allow IBMM to house the world's foremost collection of bluegrass artifacts, memorabilia, and music recordings in a safe environment for generations to come.

Bluegrass music is a treasured art form performed in dozens of countries around the world, and the IBMM works daily to preserve this rich and vibrant history through its archival and educational programs.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music Museum

“Pull Your Savior In” by Larry Stephenson Band Charts #1

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 22:24

Nashville, TN -- The Larry Stephenson Band’s single, “Pull Your Savior In” is #1 on this month’s Singing News Magazine Top 10 Bluegrass Song Chart. The song was written by Stephenson and is the title track of the group’s all-gospel album that was recently honored with the 2015 SPBGMA Album of the Year Award by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America.

Bluegrass, gospel and country music fans have certainly enjoyed the wonderful selection of tunes on the album with standout tracks like “Amazing Grace” with special guests Jimmy Fortune, David Parmley & Dale Perry; “Come To Jesus Moment” written by Rick Stanley & Donna Ulisse; “Morningtime Always” written by Bill Castle and Levon McCall; and more. “If You Want To Live Forever,” written by Randall Hilton, has appeared numerous months on Powergrass Radio’s Top 10 Gospel Chart. The album was produced by Ben Surratt and Larry Stephenson and also includes Kenny Ingram, Colby Laney, Danny Stewart, and Aubrey Haynie.

Larry Stephenson, a member of the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, is also a 5-time winner of the SPBGMA Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year Award, winner of the 2012 SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year Award, and is a 2-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year Award.

The Larry Stephenson Band is now on tour with members Larry Stephenson, Kenny Ingram, Kevin Richardson, and Matt Wright. This month’s performances include the Arcadia Bluegrass Festival in Upperco, MD on April 18, the Community Center in Nanjemoy, MD on April 19, and their debut performance at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC on April 23. Also, Larry Stephenson and Marty Raybon were just announced as headliners of the Kilgore Station Bluegrass Festival in Crossplains, TN on April 25.

For more information on the Larry Stephenson Band, please visit their website or Facebook. Fans can purchase their music at iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Physical copies of Pull Your Savior In that includes a special Bonus Track, can be purchased at www.larrystephensonband.com.

Tags: Larry Stephenson BandPull Your Savior InCD ReleaseCharts#1

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