Latest Headlines from Cybergrass

Subscribe to Latest Headlines from Cybergrass feed
Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

The Farm Hands Recognized for Bluegrass by State of Tennessee

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 20:50

Nashville, TN -- The Nashville based quartet The Farm Hands were honored Thursday morning with a proclamation from the Senate of the State of Tennessee and were invited to perform on the Senate floor. The proclamation, presented during the morning session by Senator Kerry Roberts of Springfield, was to honor The Farm Hands for the contributions they have made to bluegrass music and as musical ambassadors of Tennessee.

Senator Roberts introduced the band, acknowledging their many national awards and nominations including the SPBGMA 2017 Entertainers of the Year Award. Then, then band performed "Dig In The Dirt", the title song of their most recent Pinecastle recording and the 2017 Bluegrass Song of the Year.

The Farm Hand's Tim Graves said, "We are so honored and humbled by both the proclamation and the opportunity to perform on Capitol Hill. We are proud to call Tennessee our home and thankful to be able to take a little bit of Tennessee to the places across the nation where we perform."

The newest album by The Farm Hands, Colors, will be released in June on Pinecastle Records.

Tags: The Farm HandsTennesseeBluegrassRecognition

Hammertown Releases Title Track from Upcoming “Hillbilly Heroes”

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 20:46

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is announcing the release of new music from Hammertowne. "Hillbilly Heroes," the title track from the band's upcoming album, is available to radio and consumers today. The album, Hillbilly Heroes, will be released June 2nd. Dave Carrol commented, "'Hillbilly Heroes' pays homage to many of our Bluegrass influences, both past and present. Its maybe my personal favorite of anything that I've been a part of, and I really believe folks that enjoy straight ahead bluegrass music with a meaningful lyric will enjoy it."

Kentucky is branded as the "bluegrass state" and there is no doubt that their own Hammertowne exemplifies the very reasons why. Based in the Eastern region of the state, the five piece band consists of Dave Carroll on guitar and vocals; Brent Pack on banjo; Scott Tackett on guitar and vocals; Chaston Carroll on mandolin and vocals; and Bryan Russell on bass and vocals. From its inception, Hammertowne's identity has been defined by a hard-driving style of bluegrass that combines unique instrumentation with a distinctive knack for weaving vocal harmonies with one foot in the traditional arena to honor those who paved the way before them, and the other in the progressive arena as reflected in their many original songs they write and perform.

Band member David Carroll is highly regarded among the bluegrass community as a writing tour de force with his original songs becoming hits by prominent artists such as Lonesome River Band ("The Game Is Over"), Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out ("Old Kentucky Farmers"), Grasstowne ("My Old Guitar and Me"), and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice ("It's Good to See The Homeplace Once Again"), among others.

The title track of their upcoming album, Hillbilly Heroes, was penned by David along with his band-mate Scott Tackett, and speaks to the band's influences musically. Hillbilly Heroes, will be released June 2nd but the first single is available to radio and consumers today. Radio programmers may download the single via AirPlay Direct or a digital download by emailing a request to Consumers may pre-order the album now and will receive an instant download of the single. For more information on Hammertowne, visit For more on Mountain Fever Records, visit

Tags: HammertowneCD ReleaseSingleHillbilly Heroes

Ole Smoky Distillery Announces 2017 Summer of ‘Shine Entertainment Series

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 22:02

Gatlinburg, TN -- Ole Smoky Distillery LLC, the world’s most visited distillery, announced the launch of their 2017 entertainment series, Summer of ‘Shine. From music performances to family bonding activities, there will be a little something for everyone. Ole Smoky is kicking off this fun-filled season with the announcement of three major musical acts: Boxmasters, Survivorman and The Soggy Bottom Boys.

Through a partnership with Moonstruck Management, Ole Smoky has also enriched their daily music schedule at the Holler as part of this summer entertainment series. Guests can look forward to performances from the likes of the Hogslop String Band, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Volume Five and NewTown, among others. These exceptionally talented Bluegrass acts will give visitors a true taste of Ole Smoky’s traditional Appalachian roots.

“We always strive to provide the best product selection, quality, and, of course, entertainment for everyone who steps foot in our distilleries,” says Cory Cottongim, President of Retail & Operations at Ole Smoky. “We look forward to hosting all of the acts. These exciting shows will set the tone for the other Summer of ‘Shine events.”

On May 3rd, The Boxmasters, featuring Billy Bob Thornton, recent Golden Globe winner for his performance in Amazon’s Goliath, will hold a concert at the Barn in Pigeon Forge. Les Stroud, best known as the award winning producer, creator and star of the hit TV series Survivorman, will make an appearance at the Holler in Gatlinburg on June 24th.

“It is of utmost importance to make sure all visitors have the best Ole Smoky experience. In addition to our commitment to deliver unique flavors and top-notch customer service, our free, daily family-friendly entertainment helps to set us apart. The Summer of ‘Shine is sure to be a big hit for both locals and visitors traveling to the area,” says Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky.

Summer of ‘Shine Series Line Up:

  • May 3rd Boxmasters
  • May 12th Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
  • May 27th The Bankesters
  • June 16th Hogslop String Band
  • June 19th The Baker Family
  • June 24th Les Stroud
  • July 7th The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • July 12th The Cleverlys
  • July 29th Volume Five
  • August 26th The Wayfarers
  • September 8th NewTown
  • October 13th Hogslop String Band

For more information about Ole Smoky and an up-to-date Summer of ‘Shine line-up, please visit

Ole Smoky is the leading distiller of premium moonshine in the U.S. and the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. The company’s roots can be traced to the early settlers of the Smoky Mountains. Which means this isn’t just moonshine, it’s moonshine made with authenticity and enduring pride of the people of the Tennessee Mountains. In 2009, the law in Tennessee changed and suddenly, it was legal to make, distill and sell the infamous bootlegger’s hooch. It was at that point that a group of families decided to bring their artistry of superior moonshine making to the world at large.

And the world welcomed it. Ole Smoky was named an Impact Hot Brand by M. Shanken Communications, a leading publisher in the U.S. wine & spirits industry. The Hot Brand Award is given to both established and upcoming brands that achieve double-digit growth in each of the past three years, with a minimum of 200,000 cases. Additionally, people from all over the world visit the famed Gatlinburg Distillery, The Holler™, to see and experience how Ole Smoky moonshine is made.

Ole Smoky now retails globally and offers more than twenty creative flavors crafted from authentic family recipes. And while Ole Smoky has long been enjoyed on the porch from the jar or the jug, Ole Smoky now finds itself mixed in handcrafted cocktails of the finest order in establishments across the U.S. including at some of the biggest music and sporting events in the country.

For more information, please visit and find them on social media @olesmoky. Shine Responsibly®

Tags: Ole SmokySummer of 'ShineEventFestivalThe Soggy Bottom Boys

The Infamous Stringdusters Debut New Music Video for “Gravity”

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 21:44
Nashville, TN -- Bluegrass virtuosos The Infamous Stringdusters released their latest album Laws of Gravity on January, 13th 2017 on Compass Records. The 13-track collection debuted at #1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Albums chart and celebrates a return to form for the Grammy-nominated acoustic quintet. The video for their latest single "Gravity" premiered today on CMT and is now in rotation. The video features a compelling, emotive portrait of the energy and passion of young love.

"Gravity" was written by bassist Travis Book and his wife, singer/songwriter Sarah Siskind. Travis had the idea for some time and sat down with Sarah to finish it. "It's kind of a straight forward love song," Book explains. "In a lot of ways, it encapsulates the vibe around our relationship and our marriage. The lyric goes, 'We thought the race was a long run, we didn't know that we'd win it.' When you're in the middle of it you don't necessarily realize this is it. You think there's some trajectory but this is what it's like to be in a relationship. And then hoping that gravity doesn't let go, the forces that hold the earth together don't just end and you all just sort of go floating off into space."

The Infamous Stringdusters--Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (upright bass)--recorded Laws of Gravity at Compass Sound Studio in in Nashville and co-produced it with Billy Hume (Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins). "This is an important record for us, coming off the Ladies & Gentlemen project," says Falco. "That album exposed us to a lot of new fans and we toured so hard this year, it really feels like a great time in the history of the band. We think Laws of Gravity is a quintessential Stringdusters record, and that all facets of the group are represented on the album in a cohesive way."

Book adds, "A return to form is one way to put it. We're returning to the starting point but the starting point has really shifted. In a lot of ways, more experiences together, traveling, touring for a decade and also this last phase of Ladies & Gentlemen and all the collaborations have opened new ways of approaching the music so it feels like the band is still really moving forward."

Tags: The Infamous StringdustersLaws of GravityVideoSingleGravity

Bluegrass Hall of Fame Artist John Starling to Play Historic Mt. Airy

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 20:47

Warsaw, VA -- The inaugural Bluegrass Under The Stars to benefit Friends of the Rappahannock will be held Friday night, June 30th 2017 starting at 7pm at historic Mount Airy on the outskirts of Warsaw, Va. with with music by the legendary John Starling & Clearwater. Tickets are now available online for $35. Only 300 tickets will be sold.

Bluegrass pioneer and IBMA Hall of Fame Artist John Starling, a founding member of the Seldom Scene and a Grammy Award winning producer who worked with many top Country artists; including, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, will play an intimate set of Bluegrass favorites alongside guitarist Jesse Harper (Love Canon/Old School Freight Train), dobroist Jay Starling (Love Canon/Leftover Salmon), bassist Cameron Ralston, cellist Nat Smith (Sarah Jarozs) with Courtney Hartman (Della Mae) on vocals and guitar.

The evening is a rare opportunity to see Fredericksburg, Va. resident, guitarist singer/songwriter, John Starling perform locally backed by an assembly of some of the best and brightest Bluegrass musicians playing today out of Tennessee and Virginia. The event will kick off the 4th of July holiday weekend in the Northern Neck with fireworks planned for the very next night in Warsaw.

Complimentary oysters will be provided by the Rappahannock Oyster Company between 7 and 9 pm. Virginia grown peanuts provided by Hubs. Pork BBQ sandwiches and Virginia made craft ales by Alewerks will be available for purchase.

A special $50 VIP ticket gets the attendee VIP parking, a reserved seat up front, and an invite to the special pre-party meet and greet with John Starling and the band.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. No coolers or pets will be allowed into the festival site.

To buy tickets online and for more information go to or call 804-313-0815.

Tags: John StarlingMount AiryConcertEvent

ASCAP & LANDR to Offer Free, Unlimited Mastering to ASCAP Members

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 20:35

Monreal, QC, New York, NY -- ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, and LANDR, the world’s #1 automated mastering platform, announced today that it will provide ASCAP members with access to unlimited automated mastering. This marks the beginning of ASCAP’s larger initiative to offer its 600,000 members an integrated member benefits experience with preeminent organizations, such as LANDR, that deliver services to music professionals. ASCAP will provide easy access to these services as it adds new exclusive benefits that align with member needs.

“Songwriters and composers are the heart and soul of music and ASCAP's mission is to support them creatively and professionally at every stage of their careers,” said Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP Chief Executive Officer. “Together with LANDR, we are offering them a valuable tool that they can use to bring their music to the world. In the future, ASCAP members can look forward to more best-in-class benefits that meet their needs and create more opportunities for them to succeed.”

All ASCAP members will be given exclusive access to LANDR’s Basic Subscription plus one HD WAV per month at no charge, including unlimited mastering of demos, live sets, DJ mixes, or even rough studio jam sessions. Unlimited free mastering means songwriters and composers can greatly improve the sound quality of anything they produce— even projects without a budget for mastering.

This benefit also includes access to LANDR’s latest smart sharing features. These enable songwriters and composers to privately and securely share their work with collaborators.

“LANDR’s mission has always been to support all musicians throughout their careers, which is of course perfectly aligned with ASCAP’s vision to represent, support, and compensate songwriters and composers. We believe firmly in fair compensation for music creators, and by partnering with ASCAP we’re in an excellent position to support that. By using our mastering service, all ASCAP members will be able to take their sound even further. Anything that helps bring more music into the world is always a beautiful thing,” said Pascal Pilon, CEO of LANDR.

LANDR was recently named by CNBC as one of the Top 25 brightest, most intriguing, young startups promising to become the great companies of tomorrow.

LANDR is the world’s #1 automated audio mastering service. LANDR’s features provide a simple workflow for creating, commenting and iterating throughout the lifecycle of a song. It is the only music content platform built for the way artists create today — real-time, across a variety of DAWs, devices, and studios. With drag-and-drop simplicity, LANDR instantly masters tracks, DJ sets, live recordings, and demos, and lets artists share them privately and securely with anyone they want - from clients to collaborators to friends. Some of LANDR’s partners include Warner Music Group, Disney Music Group, Atlantic Records, SoundCloud, Native Instruments, Nas, Hans Zimmer and Bob Weir, founding member of the Grateful Dead. For more information, please visit:

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly.

With 600,000 members representing more than 10 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

Tags: ASCAPLandrBusinessRecordingMastering

New Bobby Osborne Video, “I've Gotta Get a Message to You”

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 20:21
The Tennessean premiered the video for the pop-grass cover of the 1970s Bee Gees hit, "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" -- Bobby Osborne's first video! This premiere video featurs Rob Ickes, Claire Lynch, Sierra Hull, Trey Hensley, Stuart Duncan, producer/banjoist Compass co-founder Alison Brown, and the man himself. Alison put together this cast of bluegrass music's finest players and singers for the Original project, all of whom were all excited and honored to be recording with a living legend. The album's 10 tracks feature interesting and unexpected musical pairings.

Bobby Osborne is one of bluegrass music's true innovators. His trailblazing work with The Osborne Brothers, who charted 13 Billboard Country top 100 hits in the 1960s and 70s, took the sounds of the banjo, mandolin and Bobby's one of a kind tenor voice to a mainstream radio audience – one of only a handful of acts in the history of bluegrass ever to have achieved cross over success. Blurring the boundaries between bluegrass and country music, The Osborne Brothers were the connective tissue between the first generation creators of bluegrass and the subsequent generation of newgrass musicians who, in turn, paved the way for the diversity and innovation that characterize contemporary bluegrass.

Now, nearly 60 years into his career, Bobby Osborne has delivered Original. It is the defining album of his solo career and cements his legacy as one of the genre's most important artists. At 85 years old, when he could be resting on his many laurels, Bobby is still driven by a desire to push the musical envelope. Alison Brown recognized a kindred spirit in Bobby while working with him in the studio on Peter Rowan's album, The Old School. During one of the sessions Bobby mentioned that he wasn't sure he'd have the chance to make another solo album. It was clear to Alison that Bobby still had something important to say musically and that realization became the genesis for the album.

Bobby's touring band The Rocky Top X-Press, featuring sons Wynn, Robby and Bobby Osborne Jr., deliver an updated version of the Osborne Brothers' classic "Pathway of Teardrops" while Del, Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, together with Josh Williams, Bryan McDowell and Missy Raines, collaborate on a version of the obscure Mel Tillis song "Goodbye Wheeling." Additional guests on the album include Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Michael Cleveland, Molly Tuttle, Jim Hurst, David Mayfield and Kenny Malone. About the new music Bobby has this to say: "The Osborne Brothers didn't want to sound like nobody else. And that's the way I want to be on this CD, too."

The album Original is available at the Grand Ole Opry store and is available for pre-order from Compass, iTunes, and Amazon. It will be in general release in stores and online on June 2nd.

Tags: Bobby OsborneVideoI've Gotta Get a Message To YouCD ReleaseOriginal

Molly Tuttle Rises Up With New Solo EP

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 22:36

Nashville, TN -- Award-winning songwriter and virtuoso instrumentalist Molly Tuttle turns a new corner with Rise, her debut as a solo artist. Produced by Kai Welch, the seven-song EP will be independently released on June 2nd. Already a familiar face in bluegrass circles and folk festivals, where she's been performing since the age of eleven, Tuttle widens her reach with Rise. "I wanted to push outside the box," she says of the EP, whose songs mix the fiery fretwork of her acoustic guitar with banjo, fiddle, drums, pump organ, electric guitar, and other flourishes. "It was a good step to finding my own sound, and not staying tied to the traditional bluegrass sound. I grew up playing bluegrass and I still love it, but I'm influenced by other styles of music, too. I really wanted to create something original."

Written during a period of intense change that found Tuttle moving from California to Boston to Nashville, Rise covers a wide swath of ground, showing the full range of its maker's abilities. She writes every song here, singing them in a voice that's both pure and pointed. On an album that also features appearances by several all-stars of the roots music world - including Darrell Scott, The Milk Carton Kids, and Sarah Jarosz's longtime cellist, Nathaniel Smith - it's the 24 year-old Tuttle who shines the brightest.

"I've always listened to a lot of songwriters who don't feel the need to stick to any one genre," she explains. "Hazel Dickens was one of my first influences. She was part of the bluegrass family, but her songs stood out and just sounded like her. Growing up in the Bay Area, Laurie Lewis was another inspiration. She's a great songwriter and a fantastic instrumentalist. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings were huge influence, and I listened to them obsessively when I was starting to write songs." Tuttle also lists Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and The Smiths as additional influences, pointing to a record collection that's just as diverse as her own music.

With Rise, Molly Tuttle cements her place in the roots-music community. Recorded in engineer Erick Jaskowiack's studio outside of Nashville, the record is a tribute not only to her instrumental, vocal and songwriting chops, but her storytelling ability, too. Tuttle has never defined her ambitions so clearly, and with Rise, she's moving upward.

"I took the title from a line in Walden from Thoreau, where he compares the human spirit to water," she says of the EP. "He writes, 'The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it.' That feels really relevant to me. It describes how I'm feeling with my music, and where I'm at with creating my own sound, and where we're at in the world right now. I knew it needed to be the title of the record."

For more information, please visit

Tags: Molly TuttleCD ReleaseRise

Nu-Blu Unveils “Vagabonds” with CD Release Concert

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 22:19

Join Nu-Blu at the Earl Scruggs Center to celebrate the release of Nu-Blu's latest project Vagabonds. The album will serve as the award winning band’s sixth studio album, and is set for release on April 28. The album is fueled by the latest lead single, “Still Small Voice” featuring Country Music Hall of Fame Statler Brothers member Jimmy Fortune. The CD Release event takes place Saturdasy, April 22nd from 4 to 7 pm at the Earl Scruggs Center located at 103 S. Lafayette St. in Shelby, North Carolina. Ticckets are just $15 for General Admission. Exhibits open for Nu-Blu Release guests at 4 pm and will be followed by a 4:30 Meet & Greet with CD signing by the band. A concert follows the signing. This event will be a great chance to get up close and personal with the band as they perform and give retrospect of some of their fan favorites as well as new songs on the new album. While at the meet and greet, check out the 1944 Martin D-28 Dreadnought guitar owned and used in performance and recordings by Lester Flatt and Keith Whitley and hear it played by Nu-Blu during their performance! More information is available by clicking here.

Vagabonds has been an emotional endeavor from the beginning. For seven years now, having spent over 200 days each on tour, the road has become our home,” says Nu-Blu’s Carolyn Routh. “We have seen a lot, done a lot, and embraced life not only through our own experiences, but also through the lives of those we have met. This project reflects the collective heart and soul of them, and of ourselves along the way."

Vagabonds first single is “Still Small Voice,” featuring Jimmy Fortune, who also co-wrote the song alongside Tony Lopacinski and Devin Belle. Accompanying lead singer Carolyn Routh and Fortune on harmonies is Dove Award winning singer Ben Isaacs. The song has already begun to generate traction since being released earlier this year, recently climbing its way to No. 3 this week on Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Contemporary Bluegrass Song Chart, which counts down the top songs in the genre.

Standout songs on the album include the feel-good track, “A Lot More Love,” which has universal appeal with its inspiring sing-along message. Key lyrics on the song include the line, “we could all use a little less hate, and a lot more love,” with other lines through the song tackling the problems of the world. The song “Gypsies on Parade” is the inspiration behind the album title, which touches on the struggles of being on the road touring. Like previous albums, powerhouse lead-vocalist Carolyn Routh hits the high notes on ballads like the heartbreaking “640 Battlefield Drive” and the warm “Surround Me With Love.”

Nu-Blu also takes on some of country and rock music’s biggest hits, with a new approach. The rock anthem “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was remade with a fresh, bluegrass approach. The song was originally released by Bob Dylan in 1973, while also being re-recorded by singers like Eric Clapton and Guns N’ Roses. The band also recorded a version of “Good Hearted Woman,” a record made famous by country music icons Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, where it hit the top of the charts in 1976.

Vagabonds Track Listing:

  1. The Bridges That You’ve Burned
  2. A Lot More Love
  3. Still Small Voice (featuring Jimmy Fortune & Ben Isaacs)
  4. 640 Battlefield Drive
  5. How Many Rivers
  6. Troublemaker
  7. Gypsies on Parade
  8. A Fool and Her Heart
  9. Surround Me With Love
  10. Good Hearted Woman
  11. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

You can learn more at

Tags: Nu-BluCD Release PartyConcertCD ReleaseVagabondsEarl Scruggs Center

American Banjo Museum Presents "America's Super Picker: Roy Clark"

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 20:53

Oklahoma City, OK -- American Banjo Museum's newest exhibit, America's Super Picker: Roy Clark, focuses on Oklahoma's own country music and entertainment legend. The exhibit, which features stage costumes and an instrument from Clark's private collection, opens April 7th at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City's historic Bricktown district.

Best remembered and loved as the co-host of the long running television musical comedy program, "Hee Haw", Clark's career took off long before he started "pickin' and grinnin'" with Buck Owens. From headlining Las Vegas shows, to sitcoms and movies to guest host of the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, Clark's career has covered decades. Clark has also spanned the globe, from television appearances in Canada and England, to being the first country artist to appear in concert in the Soviet Union.

Clark's lifetime of milestones are long, with multiple Entertainer of the Year awards from both the Country Music Association to the Academy of Country Music. In 2009, Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His mastery of multiple instruments includes guitar, fiddle, harmonica and the mandolin. But, to a generation brought up in the 1970s and 80s, he's best known for his skills as a banjo player.

"Roy Clark's skills as a musician and entertainer go far past his fame as the host of "Hee Haw," said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. "He's an accomplished multi-instrumentalist as well as an award-winning comedic actor. From "The Beverly Hillbillies" to "The Drew Carey Show", Roy Clark has worked with and influenced some of the biggest names in entertainment."

In addition to memorabilia and rare photos, America's Super Picker: Roy Clark, features an exclusive interview where Clark discusses his career and music. "This exhibit covers the career to date of one of the biggest names in music and one of the most recognizable banjo players around. It will bring back fond memories for every generation of fan," said Baier.

At the American Banjo Museum, the artistry that goes into crafting highly ornate instruments and the skill and talent that goes into playing them is on full display. The American Banjo Museum brings history and art together in a song hundreds of years in the making.

For more information on upcoming events, or to become a member of the American Banjo Museum, visit or call at (405) 604-2793.

Tags: Roy ClarkAmerican Banjo MuseumExhibitBanjo

The James Reams Story - Like a Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 21:48
performer, James Reams, takes the viewer through a series of life-changing events that contributed to his longevity and success as a bluegrass band leader. One near death experience, a brief but powerful time being homeless, and a career-threatening surgery combined to make James what he is today…an example of what courage, determination, and optimism – mixed with a whole lot of faith – can accomplish.

“There have been so many twists and turns in my career, sometimes I wonder how on earth I got through it all,” marveled James in a recent interview about the film. This film is for all those on that are being carried along on the sometimes peaceful, and often times raging, river that is bluegrass music. Encouragement just surges through James’ story and will hopefully surge through you as well. We hope you will add your support to the list of Kickstarter backers and help this film be completed. Can you count on you to help us reach our goal and be fully funded by April 21st?

This film relates the story of bluegrass veteran performer, James Reams, who found a way to flow with the music he loves for 25 years!

More information about the project can be found by clicking on the Kickstarter link. There are many levels of enticing rewards for you and you'll even be immortalized in the film's credits! Please help get the word out by contacting your local bluegrass association, DJs, newspaper, friends. etc. We must be fully funded by midnight on April 21st or the project won't receive a dime."

Tags: James ReamsKickstarter25th AnniversaryDocumentaryLike a Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage

J.P. Mathes, Fiddling Leona & The Mountain Empire at Carter Fold

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 19:55

Saturday, April 15th, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by J.P. Mathes and Fiddling Leona and their group The Mountain Empire. Also featured on the show will be students from the Hazard Community and Technical Colleges Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music and their Program Director Dean Osborne, Jr.

Mathes directs the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music. J.P. has been performing at the Carter Fold since the age of 16 – first as a member of the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band and later as Director of Hazard Community College's Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music (KSBTM). Fiddling Leona has performed multiple times at the Fold with both ETSU and KSBTM. The Fold is happy to welcome back Dean Osborne, Jr. as well.

J.P. and Fiddling Leona have performed their music across North America, Europe, and Japan as ambassadors of not only bluegrass music, but the food and culture of Appalachia. The Mountain Empire features J.P. on banjo, Leona on fiddle, Jason Crawford on mandolin, Aaron Jackson on guitar, and David Babb on upright bass. The Kentucky School of Bluegrass Ensemble - Straight Up Lonesome - will be performing on the show. The group consists of new, young up and coming bluegrass musicians from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Straight Up Lonesome features the music of KSBTM Program Director Dean Osborne, Jr. – a member of one of the best known families in bluegrass music. Dean grew up on the music of the Osborne Brothers.

For some of the finest bluegrass music the southeast has to offer, don't miss all these fine musicians. Come out and enjoy a night of high energy music and good times with your friends and neighbors at the historic Carter Family Fold. There will be traditional bluegrass tunes, lively fiddle tunes and instrumentals, gospel tunes, and beautiful harmony. Don't forget your dancing shoes! Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to our web sites or Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: J.P. MathesFiddling LeonaThe Mountain EmpireCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys Release Single

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 22:25

Coeburn, VA -- Stanley Family Records is proud to announce a landmark new single, “Goin’ Round This World” by Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys. The song appears on the band’s self-titled album releasing this summer. This is the first recording released since Ralph II honored his late father’s wishes by taking over the Clinch Mountain Boys band name last year after his passing. These big shoes are being filled by the talents of previous Clinch Mountain Boy John Rigsby on fiddle and mandolin, Alex Leach on banjo, Noah Brown on the upright bass, and Ralph II on the guitar.

Ralph II has earned two Grammy nominations on previous albums including a Grammy Award on Lost in the Lonesome Pines along with his father, Dr. Ralph Stanley for their collaboration with Jim Lauderdale. Ralph II has also proven to be an accomplished songwriter and has six solo albums, along with the highly-acclaimed duet album with his father titled Side by Side.

The new Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys self-titled album will officially release on Friday, May 26, 2017 during Dr. Ralph Stanley's 47th Annual Hills of Home Bluegrass Festival to be held Memorial Day weekend in Coeburn. For the past six years, Ralph II has successfully carried on his father’s legacy by running the event. This year will be no exception as it includes a stellar line-up with: Jim Lauderdale, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Dave Adkins Band, Flatt Lonesome, and a very special artist announcement coming soon.

“Goin’ Round This World” was written by Ralph II, Alex Leach, and Joe Rose and will be serviced to radio stations today. The song was released for sale March 30 on CDBaby and next week on iTunes, Amazon and more digital outlets.

As one might expect for the son of a renowned banjo player, the first instrument Ralph II ever held was a banjo. At the ripe old age of three, Ralph (or simply "Two" as he is called by his family and friends), had his first lesson from the elder Stanley, learning a simple finger roll. It turned out, however, that he would not be following in his father’s footsteps, when it came to his choice of instrument. He soon fell under the spell of the undisputed king of boyhood musical desires, the guitar. Despite his interest in the guitar, and the fact that he was occasionally traveling with the Clinch Mountain Boys on the road, he had not yet developed an ambition to play professionally. It took until age twelve and an old 1977 video of the late Keith Whitley during his tenure as lead singer for the Clinch Mountain Boys, to inspire him to become a professional musician. After seeing Whitley with the elder Stanley, he was hooked and spent hours in the family basement honing his skills, and weathering the comparisons to his late Uncle Carter. His persistence paid off, and he took the stage as lead singer with Ralph Sr. and the Clinch Mountain Boys in June of 1995. Since then, he has earned the respect of Stanley fans everywhere, and has garnered praise as a strong new artist in his own right.

Previous Clinch Mountain Boys included the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Mayor Jack Cooke, Roy Lee Centers, Steve Sparkman, Melvin Goins, Danny Davis, James Allen Shelton, Leslie Keith, Art Stamper, George Shuffler, Curly Ray Cline, Pee Wee Lambert and many other.

Tags: Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain BoysRalph Stanley IISingleGoin’ Round This World

Dave Adkins Trio Releases "Turn to Jesus"

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 20:20

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records announces the release of Turn to Jesus, the latest album from Dave Adkins and the first from the Dave Adkins Trio. Last year, Adkins, who has released three chart-topping albums for Mountain Fever Records, partnered with two close friends, Richie Rose and David Taylor, to sing in a small local church. The result was something even Adkins could not have predicted. A cellphone video of the stripped-down, guitar and vocals-only performance was posted on social media and captured the attention and hearts of so many, that the demand for more suddenly became very apparent. And thus, the Dave Adkins Trio was born.

The trio's first album, Turn to Jesus, offers music that will transport the listener to a small church full of red-backed hymnals they might have attended long ago; a place where they shared a pew with close family members and first learned about God and harmony singing. Filled with songs such as "I'll Fly Away," and "Old Rugged Cross," this album will definitely tug at the sentimental heart-strings. The trio also broadens the scope of gospel music by including more recent written favorites such as Tom T. Hall's "Me And Jesus," and the Gaither's "He Touched Me." Fitting in seamlessly among all these classics, is the title track penned by Adkins and gifted writer, Mark Brinkman. As Sherri George stated in the album's liner notes, "Once in a while an album comes along that is a game changer. A life changer. A rock-you-all-the-way-to-your-soul force that comes alive. This album qualifies."

Turn to Jesus is available to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct or a digital download by emailing a request to Consumers may order the album now through various popular music outlets. To view a full tour schedule for the Dave Adkins Band, along with select dates for the Dave Adkins Trio, please visit For more on Mountain Fever Records, visit

Turn to Jesus Track Listing:

  1. He Touched Me
  2. Honey In The Rock
  3. House Of Gold
  4. I Can't Even Walk
  5. Crying Holy Unto The Lord
  6. Turn to Jesus
  7. Where Could I Go But To The Lord
  8. Old Rugged Cross
  9. Me And Jesus
  10. Working On A Building
  11. I'll Fly Away
  12. Will The Circle Be Unbroken

If you've ever met Dave Adkins, you might find yourself surprised to find the larger-than-life persona on stage is exactly that off stage, as well. He's a powerhouse of talent and his vocals, songwriting, and excitable stage presence simply astound audiences, drawing them in almost instantaneously within the first few moments of a live performance experience. New fans of his music soon learn that behind Adkins' immeasurable talent is a heart of gold, sincere in his approach to his music and with his fans. Since signing with Mountain Fever Records, Adkins has released three projects, including two solo records, all achieving much success with fans, reviewers, and radio programmers. His latest self-titled album produced four charting singles including "Change Her Mind" which has been on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs for over 10 months.

Tags: Dave Adkins TrioCD ReleaseTurn to JesusDave Adkins

Ray Cardwell’s Bluegrass Soul Tops Roots and Folk Music Charts

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 21:08

Nashville, TN -- With initial reviews citing bluegrass soul artist/bassist Ray Cardwell’s soaring, four-octave vocals and infallible groove, radio airplay charts are reflecting his impact in folk and roots music, as well as the bluegrass world. The much-anticipated January release for the Pinecastle Records recording artist’s Tennessee Moon landed in the Top 20 CDs for the month of January by Bluegrass Today National Radio Airplay. At press time the album had charted in the top 10 (peaking at #3) during the past 11 weeks in the Roots Music Report bluegrass chart, which tracks airplay from more than 150 DJs who play roots-based music worldwide. During the month of March, Tennessee Moon was the #8 album on the Folk DJ chart and Cardwell was the 12th most played artist.

Fans of Cardwell’s bluegrass soul (and newgrass, past and present), will definitely want to catch Tennessee Moon’s performance at 2:30 p.m. Central on Saturday, April 8, at Nashville’s world famous Station Inn, as a part of a multi-artist benefit concert planned by the Wilson Pickins agency to benefit victims of the Gatlinburg fire. Ray and the band (by the same name as his album) will be joined onstage by special guests Curtis Burch on Dobro, a founding member of the New Grass Revival, and Pat Flynn, the guitarist in the last configuration of the highly influential band and also the producer of Ray’s album.

Nine of twelve songs on Tennessee Moon are Ray Cardwell originals or co-written with fellow bluegrass musicians. Stylistically, he ranges from a cappella gospel quartets and straight-ahead bluegrass gospel to creative covers from The Dillards and Crucial Smith, a new Fred Koller song (“Angel Eyes”) and new music that draws from reggae, Motown and newgrass influences.

Tennessee Moon features Cardwell on lead and baritone vocals plus bass guitar. The CD is produced by the legendary Pat Flynn, who gathered a band of bluegrass elite including Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band), Danny Roberts (The Grascals),Andy Leftwich (Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder), and Rob Ickes (Blue Highway). Bluegrass Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry star Jesse McReynolds plays mandolin on the title cut, and vocal harmony is provided by Ronnie Bowman, Claire Lynch and John Cowan, the former New Grass Revival lead singer/bassist who sings tenor on nine of Cardwell’s tracks.

“Ray Cardwell is a man after my own heart,” Cowan said, who now tours with the Doobie Brothers as well as his own band. “An extremely gifted soulful singer, a wicked bass player…and a hard working songwriter who understands not only the tradition of bluegrass music but the importance of having his own unique voice in the Amen Corner.”

Terry Herd said of Cardwell, “He is more than a kindred spirit to his brothers in New Grass Revival; he has newgrass DNA coursing through his veins. I can’t stop listening to this powerful new project.”

Producer Pat Flynn said, "We have a bluegrass foundation, but we're able to pull off everything from straight ahead bluegrass and a cappella gospel quartets to blues and even a reggae song. I like the fact that Ray is able to embrace a lot of different styles, and pull them all off."

Cardwell is encouraged by the crossover response at radio from bluegrass, Americana, folk and gospel audiences. "This has exceeded my expectations. Many different styles of music have influenced my life and writing style, and I am so pleased that people are enjoying the songs,” Ray said. “Each musical path I have taken over the years has added an interesting layer to what we now brand as ‘Bluegrass Soul’ – with me returning full circle to the music I played growing up in a Missouri Ozarks family bluegrass band.”

A former member of the critically acclaimed bluegrass gospel band, New Tradition, Cardwell returned to Nashville last year to record Tennessee Moon after spending a decade raising a family in Missouri and working as an award-winning high school music director. Ray is endorsed by AirPlay Direct, GHS Strings, Rybski basses, and Rushing basses.

Tags: Ray CardwellRay Cardwell & Tennessee MoonTennessee MoonCharts

Jeff Little Trio Concert at Carter Family Fold Saturday

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 21:30

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, April 8th, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by an old time band – the Jeff Little Trio. Hotshot rockabilly pianist Jeff Little comes from Boone, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge, where he grew up surrounded by music. Jeff began to play piano at age five. His family owned a music store, and musicians of all persuasions dropped by to play a few tunes with the kid, which helps account for Jeff's mastery of a range of styles.

But Jeff's critical influence was Appalachian singer and guitarist Doc Watson, a neighbor and close family friend. His uncompromising approach helped shape Jeff's approach to music. Known as a keeper of deep Appalachian traditions, Watson was a rockabilly guitarist when he began visiting Little's Music Store in Boone to play a few tunes with his young friend. Today Jeff Little is still conversant with a range of music, but finds his greatest joy in performing two styles that were hot when he was growing up in the music store – rockabilly and traditional Appalachian music. An astounding performer in the rockabilly genre, he obviously owes some inspiration to Jerry Lee Lewis. "Oh sure, you had to know some Jerry Lee when I was coming up. His tunes would buy you a burger; you didn't have to live on peanuts. But even back then I never did get to thinking I was Jerry Lee. I kept a lot of me in my music."

Jeff Little's approach to the music of his native Blue Ridge is based upon the traditional dance of the area and a regional piano style. Made famous by Al Hopkins of The Bucklebusters on 1920s Brunswik recordings, the piano style was also performed by Woodie Blevins and others. Hopkins lived at Gap Creek, between the ancestral homes of Doc's and Jeff's families. But there is also an echo of more contemporary mountain tradition in Jeff's performance. His lead solos, much influenced by the flat-pick guitar tradition, are breathtaking in their speed, precision and clarity. They tell that he learned much from Doc Watson.

National Council for the Traditional Arts: "With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Americana or traditional music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Jeff Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. His distinctive style, much influenced by the flatpicked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision, and clarity."

National Public Radio: "Jeff Little is a remarkable musician, steeped in the tradition of his native Blue Ridge, yet also a virtuosic and eclectic innovator."

The Boston Globe: "Jeff Little tore the place apart with his wondrously quick and articulate piano style. He is tricky and playful, yet always intelligent and richly melodic."

National Public Radio, PBS, National Council for the Traditional Arts, American Piano Masters Series, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the American Folk Festival are just a few of the venues that have featured Jeff's music. He has also performed internationally – including concerts in Sri Lanka, Oman, Tanzania, and France.

Performing with Jeff will be Steve Lewis on guitar and Josh Scott on upright bass. Steve (from Todd, NC) is one of the most respected acoustic musicians in the country. Well-known for his flat picking on guitar and his mastery of the five string banjo, Steve has won many championships for his guitar and banjo playing. Some of the prestigious events include the Walnut Valley Nationals, Merelefest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Renofest, and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition. Steve is also a two-time national champion on the banjo as well. Josh Scott rounds out the trio. From Fleetwood, NC, Josh is considered to be one of the most talented upright bass players. He has been featured on stage and in the studio with many critically acclaimed artists of acoustic and Americana music.

For a concert unlike any other you'll ever experience, don't miss the Jeff Little Trio at the Carter Family Fold. Jeff has performed at the Fold many times, but this will mark his second concert with his new group – the Jeff Little Trio. Bring along your family and friends. Pack up your dancing shoes and join us for an evening of down-home, fun, family entertainment. Concert admission is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. For more information, go to

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. We are a family friendly venue with no alcohol or drugs allowed. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Jeff Little TrioCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Bobby Osborne Releases Single “They Call The Wind Maria”

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 21:19

Nashville, TN — Bobby Osborne is one of bluegrass music's true innovators. His trailblazing work with The Osborne Brothers, who charted 13 Billboard Country top 100 hits in the 1960s and 70s, took the sounds of the banjo, mandolin and Bobby's one of a kind tenor voice to a mainstream radio audience – one of only a handful of acts in the history of bluegrass ever to have achieved cross over success. Blurring the boundaries between bluegrass and country music, The Osborne Brothers were the connective tissue between the first generation creators of bluegrass and the subsequent generation of newgrass musicians who, in turn, paved the way for the diversity and innovation that characterize contemporary bluegrass.

Now, nearly 60 years into his career, Bobby Osborne has delivered Original. It is the defining album of his solo career and cements his legacy as one of the genre's most important artists. At 85 years old, when he could be resting on his many laurels, Bobby is still driven by a desire to push the musical envelope. Producer/banjoist Compass co-founder Alison Brown recognized a kindred spirit in Bobby while working with him in the studio on Peter Rowan's album, The Old School. During one of the sessions Bobby mentioned that he wasn't sure he'd have the chance to make another solo album. It was clear to Alison that Bobby still had something important to say musically and that realization became the genesis for the album.

Alison put together a cast of bluegrass music's finest players and singers for the project, all of whom were all excited and honored to be recording with a living legend. The album's 10 tracks feature interesting and unexpected musical pairings. Relative newcomers Sierra Hull and Trey Hensley team up with veterans Stuart Duncan, Todd Phillips and Claire Lynch on grass'd up versions of Paint Your Wagon's "They Call The Wind Maria" and the Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get a Message to You." The never before recorded Darrell Scott song "Kentucky Morning," featuring Rob Ickes and the Eastern Kentucky power trio with Dale Ann Bradley and Darrell Scott gives a nod to Bobby's family history while a cover of "Make the World Go Away" with harmony vocals and mandolin from Vince Gill and the lush strings of Buddy Spicher and Matt Combs evoke Music Row circa 1962.

Bobby's touring band The Rocky Top X-Press, featuring sons Wynn, Robby and Bobby Osborne Jr., deliver an updated version of the Osborne Brothers' classic "Pathway of Teardrops" while Del, Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, together with Josh Williams, Bryan McDowell and Missy Raines, collaborate on a version of the obscure Mel Tillis song "Goodbye Wheeling." Additional guests on the album include Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Michael Cleveland, Molly Tuttle, Jim Hurst, David Mayfield and Kenny Malone. About the new music Bobby has this to say: "The Osborne Brothers didn't want to sound like nobody else. And that's the way I want to be on this CD, too."

The album is available at the Grand Ole Opry store and is available for pre-order from Compass, iTunes, and Amazon. It will be in general release in stores and online on June 2nd.

Tags: Bobby OsborneCD ReleaseOriginalSingleThey Call The Wind Maria

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Announces 2017 Finalists

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 21:05

The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest, announces the finalists for the 2017 contest. MerleFest 2017, presented by Window World, takes place from April 27-30, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.

Now in its 25th year, the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale. The first-place winners will receive $500 cash from MerleFest and a performance slot on the Cabin Stage on Friday night at MerleFest 2017.

Writers of the following 12 songs, selected from over 846 entries, will compete on the Austin Stage in Alumni Hall on Friday, April 28:

  • Bluegrass
    • Mike Bentley (Virgie, Ky.) – “Waiting at the Harbor”
    • Linda Jean Stokley (Versailles, Ky.) – “Cigarette Trees”
    • Matthew Hurd (Rogersville, Tenn.) – “Life Underground”
  • Gospel/Inspirational
    • Ian Meadows (Chester, Conn.) – “Faithless Preacher”
    • Kevin Hale (Brentwood, Tenn.) – “I’m Finally Going Home”
    • Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.), Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), Willie Schoellkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) – “Trap Door (In the Ceiling)”
  • Country
    • Carly Burruss (Cumming, Ga.) – “Communion Wine”
    • Mary Bragg (Nashville, Tenn.), Liz Poston (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Lucky Strike”
    • Erin James (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Wilted Flower”
  • General
    • Alexa Rose (Boone, N.C.) – “Borrow your Heart”
    • Catherine Backus (Bedford, Va.) – “Tomatoes”
    • Shay Martin Lovette (Boone, N.C.), Locke Griffith (Carrboro, N.C.) – “Bermuda Run”

All finalists will also get to take part in a songwriting mentoring session with Jim Lauderdale and the on-site judges for the final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Those judges are lifelong songwriter Mark Brinkman; Berklee College of Music songwriting scholarship recipient Maya de Vitry, who is a member of The Stray Birds; and Joseph Terrell of Mipso.

The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tenn., and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational. The first-round judges were critically acclaimed bluegrass instrumentalist Chris Jones; North Carolina musician Jim Avett, who is father to Seth and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers; natural-born storyteller Ken Tizzard; and Country Hall of Fame honoree Ed Snodderly.

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has been awarded to 84 deserving students.

The lineup for MerleFest 2017 is viewable at And, tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. An advance ticket discount runs through April 26, 2017. Gate pricing begins on the first day of the festival.

MerleFest has unveiled the 2017 MerleFest mobile app, now available for download. The MerleFest mobile app is offered at no charge to users and features the MerleFest lineup and stage schedules, artist biographies, map, announcements, social media links and more. The app allows users to plan for their entire MerleFest experience. Users who currently have the MerleFest mobile app will receive a prompt on their phones to download the 2017 version of the app. The app is compatible with Android and iOS platforms. A bonus for MerleFest fans: once downloaded, the app will be fully functional without having connection to phone service.

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.

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 renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson, the son of the late American music legend Doc 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 Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Tags: Chris Austin Songwriting ContestMerlefestSongwritingContest

Banjo Maestro Ned Luberecki Releases “Take Five”

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 20:59

Nashville, TN -- Ned Luberecki's new album, Take Five, is independently released TODAY, March 31, 2017. A master of his instrument and adept in multiple styles Ned recorded at The Rec Room, Ben Surratt's studio in East Nashville this self produced, the 14-track album is a mix of originals and covers and clocks in at just under 45 minutes.

Take Five is a reflection of Ned's musical diversity, presenting fiddle and banjo tunes, instrumentals, and traditional bluegrass interspersed with jazz standards, classic Buck Owen?s, and even the theme to S?tar Trek. Many of Ned's musical friends from all walks of bluegrass make appearances, making Take Five a sort of retrospective, reminding us that however we know Ned Luberecki - sideman, teacher, on-air radio personality - that he is respected as both a traditional and progressive player with a style perfectly his own - a harlequin combination of the diverse artists, musicians, and genres he's ingested.

Take Five is stacked with a remarkable lineup of guest musicians including Missy Raines and the New Hip, Jeremy Garrett of The Infamous Stringdusters, Becky Buller, The Helen Highwater Stringband (Mike Compton, David Grier, Missy Raines, and Shad Cobb), Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, Dale Ann Bradley, and Amanda Smith. Also appearing on the album, Stephen Mougin, guitarist of Sam Bush Band and the other half of Nedski & Mojo, calls it "a sonic glimpse inside the mind of Nedski [that] showcases Ned's brilliant banjo skills in a diverse range of material, from old-time to bluegrass to jazz and beyond. Way beyond!"

Featuring Guest Musicians:
Dale Ann Bradley, Becky Buller, Amanda Smith, Missy Raines, Mike Compton, David Grier, Jeremy Garrett, Shad Cobb, Stephen Mougin, and Chris Jones & The Night Drivers
What Folks are Saying about Take Five

"An absolutely joyous, riveting, beautifully syncopated example of the beauty of the banjo. From the traditional to the unexpected, the banjo sings."
--Steve Martin (Actor, banjo player)

"Journeying across times and genres on this disc, Luberecki's impeccable playing, adventurous spirit and irrepressible good humor shine throughout." --International Bluegrass (IBMA Magazine)

"Ned Luberecki is a true 'master of the five'! This solo recording is a testimony to the incredible breadth of his playing, which I have always admired." --Greg Cahill (Special Consensus, former IBMA Chairman)

"His playing oozes with personality and character, and this record perfectly encapsulates that. It's 100% Ned, and I, for one, am not afraid! Ned's tunes are a joy to hear and his playing is better than ever." --Noam Pikelny

"If you were introducing someone to the beauty and versatility of the banjo using 2017 releases, there's only one choice that can accomplish that goal perfectly, Ned Luberecki's Take Five. From bluegrass to jazz and from progressive to old-time, this album shows what the banjo is capable of. And just as importantly, it shows that tradition and a fresh energetic approach are still an easy pairing in the bluegrass world." --Lonesome Banjo Chronicles, Brian Swenk

Tags: Ned LubereckiCD ReleaseTake FiveBanjo

I Can't Buy Music Like I Used To -- I Don't Buy as Much Either

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 21:18

Years ago, I would make it a weekly or monthly endeavor to visit the huge record store with my friend. We would probably spend a few hours there exploring the albums from all genres and artists. These stores were isle after isle of thousands of different albums in each. The store probably held a million titles or more. Hundreds of people would be there besides us. From Bluegrass to Blues and Imports to Classical, it was always an adventure to go to the record store. We always bought a few albums -- some we had no idea about. We rarely got burned.

You can't do that today. There is no way to do what we did back then and, as a result, we don't purchase the variety and quantity of music that we did either. We could easily look at the album covers of hundreds of albums and follow artists easily and fluidly but, even with the Internet, you just can't do that today. Well, you can but, it is limited and it takes you 10 times as long to do so. As a result, you don't. It is a waste of time.

The death of the Brick & Mortar record store was the death of adventure buying and buying based on a label or a single participating musician. If I had to blame any single element for the decline of the music sales business, it would be the death of the record store. I remember Peaches, for example, having 200 people in the store on any given night perusing the albums of their desire. Almost every person there made a purchase. Where have you ever seen that many people looking at music to purchase today? Nowhere. It doesn't happen. The ghostly vacant stores and empty record bins all represent lost revenue to the music business.

When big stores died, only a few realized what was happening. While many of us wanted to go and find new music and try new music paths, it was no longer possible. That world no longer existed. I remember signing up to get Rounder Roundup catalog from Rounder Records. If covered World Music, some popular artists, smaller genres like Bluegrass and others. It provided an avenue to experiment and try new music but, it was a mere fraction of what used to be available.

The record store was also more than just a retail outlet. It was a sort of musical social network. When I would meet someone who was also looking at the same type of music as I was, we would frequently open up a dialog and discuss the music. What was new, who was good, why one band was better than another, and other topics related to the music. If we became friends, we would often invite them to come hear our collection or we could hear theirs. If it was something we liked, we could go back and buy a copy for ourselves. Life of the music was good. And we bought a whole lot more music than we did once the ability to do so died.

The advent of the CD was a blessing and a curse. The format didn't allow you too read all about an album prior to purchasing it. So, we didn't. The bulky plastic security cases frequently didn't even allow you to see the album itself -- especially the back. So, we didn't. While the big stores tried to survive on CDs, the experience was not the same. The enjoyment factor was lost. They became just a warehouse of where to go when you already knew what you wanted. The exploration and adventure element was no long present. The higher cost also made it economically impossible to experiment with the music. While the industry tried to make it the same, it couldn't be, wouldn't be and never was the same experience. The music exploration died with the advent of the CD.

The CD made ripping or copying easy. Sharing became widespread. Friends no longer bought albums -- they copied them. This was a huge blow to the music industry. Then, the Internet came along and mass copying, aka piracy, began. This was another nail in the coffin of the music industry. The future will never be as bright as the past. It can't be. The very essence of the music buying experience is now two generations ago. For myself, the record store days were better for me, better for the labels, better for the artists and better for the songwriters. The youth of today will never even know about the joys of those weekly record buying excursions. It is no part of their reality. Streaming, downloading, iTunes, or what have you, will never be able to create a similar environment that the record store enjoyed. There are many times, I wish the CD had never been invented. It destroyed more than it created.

Tags: EditorialOpinionVinylBusiness