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Tyler Williams Band to Carter Family Fold Saturday

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:49

Saturday, January 30th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by the Tyler Williams Band. Tyler Williams grew up in Ohio and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, to study bluegrass music. Tyler is blind and has cerebral palsy, but he has never let that hold him back. His interest in music began when he was just a year old. His first instrument was a keyboard his grandfather gave him, and he was playing it by age four. At age five, Tyler started taking classical piano lessons by ear.

When he was six, his Uncle Derek - a guitar picker - introduced him to bluegrass. Tyler’s uncle took him to his first bluegrass festival. It was there that he met Alison Krauss. His interest in bluegrass kicked into high gear when he was 16. Tyler honed his vocal skills by listening to CDs of his favorite artists. By age 17, he was participating in jams and became part of the Hocking Valley Bluegrass Boys. When he turned 18, he developed an interest in guitar and mandolin. In 2006, he joined the ETSU Bluegrass program. He graduated in December of 2011.

Tyler’s vocal range and instrumental talent are nothing short of amazing. Joining Tyler will be some of the most talented musicians in our region. For some of the best traditional bluegrass the region has to offer, be sure to come out and see the Tyler Williams Band at the Carter Fold. Their show is more than just entertaining – it’s inspirational. There will be lots of fiddle tunes, unbelievable vocals, great instrumentals, and amazing harmony. For more information go to You’ll also find Tyler on Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube.

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

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts 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. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.

Tags: Tyler WilliamsCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

IBMA Announces 2016 Leadership Bluegrass Class

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:45

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced its Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2016. Leadership Bluegrass is an intensive three-day program of advanced interactive learning experiences. A cross-section of people with exhibited or potential leadership qualities examine the opportunities, choices and challenges of the current music industry, in bluegrass and beyond. The program is taught by high-profile music industry and business professionals, and encourages independent and collaborative thinking, new perspectives and a fresh approach to the issues facing the modern bluegrass community.

2016 marks the 17th year of the program, which boasts nearly 400 alumni. Participants are selected for the highly-sought curriculum through an application process. This year, Leadership Bluegrass received over 60 applications for just 26 seats.

Because each class is unique, each discussion is unique – the perspectives that participants bring to the table offer insights to your classmates. And one of the most exciting things to enjoy as part of the class is the opportunity to sit in a small-group setting with a wide variety of the leaders and notable figures in our industry.

Attendees definitely won’t get bored with the range of discussion topics at Leadership Bluegrass. Over the past few years, classes have heard from music industry leaders (and enjoyed active group discussions) on topics including the study and application of leadership principles, entrepreneurship, a profile of bluegrass music consumers, the development of an artist’s career, copyright law and its application to the music business, new trends in the presentation of live music, the latest techniques for the digital distribution of music, using social media to add fans and increase attendance at live musical events, and much more. If you want to become more effective at managing your corner of the bluegrass world, Leadership Bluegrass is the place to be.

BMI will once again host Leadership Bluegrass at its offices in Nashville on March 21-23. Trisha Tubbs will return as facilitator.

The 2016 class includes:

  • Alan Bibey, Grasstowne, Surfside Beach, South Carolina
  • Daniel Boner, East Tennessee State University, Elizabethton, Tennessee
  • Dustin Boyd, Planet Bluegrass, Boulder, Colorado
  • Darbi Brandli, California Bluegrass Association, Oakland, California
  • Janet Brightly, Consultant, Greyfox and Wintergrass, Annandale, Virginia
  • Aengus Finnan, Folk Alliance International, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Jocelyn Gold, Gold Heart, Hamilton, Virginia
  • Katherine Hanson, FDA Leadership Development, Ijamsville, Maryland
  • Kelsi Harrigill, Flatt Lonesome, Trinity, Alabama
  • Lisa Husted, Greyfox Bluegrass Festival, Whitesboro, New York
  • Leah James, International Bluegrass Music Association, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Chris Joslin, International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Tony Kamel, Wood & Wire, Austin, Texas
  • Brad Kolodner, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Devon Leger, Hearth Music, Shoreline, Washington
  • Marian Leighton Levy, Rounder Records, Newburyport, Massachusetts
  • Kimber Ludiker, Della Mae, Hendersonville, Tennessee
  • David Morris, Bluegrass Today/Paddle Faster Publishing, Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Laurie Okun, City of Raleigh/Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Patrice O’Neill, Acoustic Sound/Wintergrass, Milton, Washington
  • James Reams, James Reams & the Barnstormers, Litchfield, Arizona
  • Salvatore Sauco, Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance, East, Rhode Island
  • Annie Savage, Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, Lafayette, Colorado
  • Lee Stivers, The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, Washington, Pennsylvania
  • Lucas White, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Dianee Wyland, Independent Artist & Teacher, Silver Spring, Maryland

And of course those who are selected will make a lot of new friends, and maybe even get to jam! They will get to know a lot of new people over your three days at Leadership Bluegrass experience, and many of those people will become new friends and professional contacts. An expanded network is one of the most important things gained from the Leadership Bluegrass experience.

Please contact Shannon Turner at the IBMA office for more information on this or future Leadership Bluegrass programs: (615) 256-3222,

IBMA is the trade association that connects and educates bluegrass professionals, empowers the bluegrass community, and encourages worldwide appreciation of bluegrass music of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music AssociationIBMALeadership BluegrassEducation

Mountain Faith Band Lineup Changes for 2016

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 21:36

Mountain Faith, a band that jumped to national recognition with their performances on America's Got Talent last year, is starting the new year with some big changes to the band's lineup. Earlier this month, Luke Dotson, the band's guitarist announcedthat he was leaving the band to spend more time with his wife. Since their sudden rise in popularity, their performance schedule exploded and the rising band was spending a considerable amount of time on the road and away from home. For now anyway, fiddler David Meyer will take over the guitar for the band.

Jimmy Meyer, David's brother, will join the band. He will also play guitar for the group. The family band will continue a family tradition with members of two families, also friends, performing together. The new band lineup will consist of lead vocalist and fiddler Summer McMahon, banjo by Brayden and Sam will continue playing bass. Cory Piatt joined earlier and will continue in the mandolin position. For drums, Chris Wright has joined the group in the percussion role.

Mountain Faith commented on their social media site, "We are so excited for this upcoming "I Live" Tour 2016 with these wonderful people!! God has been incredibly good to us, and we look forward to serving Him with everything in us this year!!"

The Mountain Faith Band "I Live" Tour 2016 in Palmetto, FL at the Manatee County Fair January 21 and will go into full tour mode following the SPBGMA convention in February. The band is very excited for this upcoming tour!! They have been working hard at rehearsals and with the new band lineup. Last month, Mountain Faith hooked up with APA for their booking representation.

Mountain Faith, who still practice in their family tire shop in rustic Sylva, North Carolina, has become a road circuit favorite, playing everywhere from arenas and auditoriums to churches. They had a successful series of stops last year including performing for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf. With the 2016 "I Live" tour just now unfolding, expect to see and hear even more from this highly entertaining group.

Mountain Faith has become well known through their television appearances on the Daystar Television Network, as well as their recent stint on season ten of America’s Got Talent. Their performance of One Republic’s “Counting Stars” earned them four “Yes” votes from the celebrity judging panel, which led to performances with some of the major stars in the format, including Alison Krauss & Union Station. They also have been featured in the pages of many of the top magazines, newspapers, and websites in music – including Cybergrass, Bluegrass Today and The exposure on the show also helped to send their social numbers into the stratosphere.

Last year marked a watershed year for the group, who earned a staggering fifteen nominations from the SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) Bluegrass Music Awards – including nods for each member in their respective categories, as well as Entertaining Group of the Year and Album of the Year for their Feelin’ Blue album, released on Mountain Fever Records. Their most recent project is entitled That Which Matters, which includes their most recent single, “Emily (It’s Love),” which was released in October 2015.

Tags: Mountain FaithBand AnnouncementLuke DotsonDavid Meyer

Swift Creek Completing Sophmore Album "Magnolia"

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 21:31
Swift Creek is completing our second album, Magnolia, featuring original songs by Kevin Brown, guitarist and vocalist for Swift Creek. The band is excited about showcasing some of Kevin's newest and best material and so far, and they love what they are hearing. Swift Creek is recording at The Rubber Room in Chapel Hill and Magnolia is being produced by Jerry Brown, acclaimed music producer and musician. The album has an expected street date of March 4th. A sample of what to expect with "Rattle Them Bones" is further down in this article.

Swift Creek recently announced a new addition to the band. Stephen Fraleigh has joined Swift Creek on fiddle, banjo and vocals. Stephen holds the distinction of winning the Champion Bluegrass Fiddler honor at the Galax Old Time Fiddlers' Convention in Virginia not once, but twice. His most recent win was in 2013. Originally from Ohio, Stephen has been a presence on Triangle stages for many years as a member of several bands and has been a session player on more albums than we can mention. He also plays a mean banjo and will be helping us out on both lead and harmony vocals.

Swift Creek’s name pays tribute to the origins of this Americana band, formed six years ago in Central NC. Their highly original songs feature strong traditional and progressive bluegrass influences, a touch of country and a healthy dose of folk. Fine playing supports the band’s signature three-part harmony singing, punctuated with jaw-dropping instrumental solos.

The lineup is Kevin Brown, whose strong tenor leads, rhythm guitar and songwriting frame the band’s sound; Casey Elder, expertly playing the mandolin and dobro as well as adding vocals; bassist Dennis Hoyle setting the beat; Stephen Fraleigh, prize-winning fiddler, also singing and playing banjo; and vocalist Ann Searcy, adding bluesy leads and spot-on harmony singing.

Swift Creek’s debut CD Winner Winner Chicken Dinner was produced at The Rubber Room in Chapel Hill, NC and released in August 2012.

Tags: Swift CreekCD ReleaseMagnoliaSingleVideoRattle Them Bones

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Joins Webster PR Roster

Sun, 01/24/2016 - 21:54

Nashville, TN -- The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country, rock and American roots music, joins Webster Public Relations for publicity representation as the band marks its 50th birthday of nonstop touring and recording vital music. 2016 marks the 50 year anniversary for Grammy and CMA Award-Winning Group.

“It’s an honor to work with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and celebrate their milestone anniversary of five spectacular decades,” said Kirt Webster, President/CEO. “They’re one of very few musical acts to achieve such longevity and this level of success – a testament to their talent and authenticity.”

Formed in California in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band consists of founding members Jeff Hanna (guitars/vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums/harmonica/vocals), John McEuen (banjo/fiddle/guitar/mandolin), and Bob Carpenter (keyboards/accordion/vocals), “The New Guy” since 1977.

The group has lasted longer than virtually any other country-based group of their era with multi-platinum and gold records, including legendary hits “Mr. Bojangles” and "Fishin’ in the Dark” (certified platinum for digital downloads in 2014 and the longest recurrent country radio song of all time). Their groundbreaking 1972 Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, which assembled the living legends of country, bluegrass and mountain music to record what many critics have hailed as "an American treasure,” has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress and the Grammy Hall of Fame, paving the way for generations of what’s now known as today’s “cross genre movement." "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. Most recently the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, class of 2015.

As part of their 50th anniversary, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hosted a star-studded PBS televised special to air in March that was filmed at the historic Ryman Auditorium during a sold-out performance, which was also the unofficial kick off to the 2015 Americana Awards and Music Festival. The special also stars fellow guest artists, including John Prine, Sam Bush, Vince Gill, Jerry Jeff Walker, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell and Jerry Douglas as well as former members, Jimmy Ibbotson (a founder and member for decades) and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and original member Jackson Browne. The special is made possible with support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism. There will be an accompanying CD and DVD as PBS premiums with extra songs and performances available exclusively through PBS Pledge, Check your local listings.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band continue non-stop touring in celebration of their Golden 50th anniversary planned to run through the end of 2017, with many additional dates to be announced. Plans are to be extensive with select shows featuring special guests in select markets as well as many new exciting show elements. This will be a tour not to be missed.


  • Feb 12 Shooting Star Casino - Mahnomen, MN
  • March 11 The Palladium at Center for the Performing Arts - Carmel, IN
  • March 18 French Lick Resort - French Lick, IN
  • April 08 Riverside Casino - Riverside, IA
  • April 29 Las Cruces Downtown - Las Cruces, NM
  • July 07 Country Concert at Hickory Hill - Fort Loramie, OH
  • July 08 Country Concert at Hickory Hill - Rhinelander, WI
  • Aug 05 Manitoulin Country Fest - Little Current, ON, Canada

For more information, visit

Tags: Nitty Gritty Dirt BandWebster Public RelationsPromotionBusiness50th Anniversary

Blue Ridge Music Center Concert Attendance Increased in 2015

Sun, 01/24/2016 - 21:51

Galax, VA -- With the help of the National Park Service, donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Blue Ridge Music Center experienced another fantastic season in 2015. More than 35,000 patrons visited the Blue Ridge Music Center to explore the Roots of American Music exhibit, listen to Midday Mountain Music, and plan their Parkway journey at the Visitor Center during the May through October season.

Total concert attendance was 6,130, an increase of 10 percent from the 2014 concert season. The Music Center presented 18 major concerts, including performances by National Folk Heritage Award winners Wayne Henderson and Sherman Holmes (Sherman Holmes Project with Phil Wiggins); Grammy Award winners The Steep Canyon Rangers, Marty Raybon, and Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer; renowned folklorists/musicians Paul Brown and Alice Gerrard; and up-and-coming roots artists, including Della Mae, The Steel Wheels, The Barefoot Movement, The Lee Boys, Redhead Express, and The Buck Stops Here.

Over the summer, the Music Center also welcomed the touring exhibit Banjos: From Africa to the New World, which traces the development of the instrument from its continent of origin to the Americas. The exhibit showcased 24 historical replica and reproduction banjos crafted by hand. Approximately 2,900 patrons visited the exhibit from June 18 to July 14.

The venue also hosted:

  • two free Community Days: Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) & Family Day on May 23 & the Midday Mountain Music Showcase on September 12
  • Memorial Celebration for Music Center and Blue Ridge mountain music proponent Joe Wilson on June 25
  • a Centennial Kick-off Celebration in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in August
  • 41 Midday Mountain Musicians, who volunteered more than 2,500 hours to entertain and inform Music Center patrons about the history and heritage of mountain music

This year, the Music Center published its first season program guide for concert goers and Parkway visitors. Look for the 2016 concert guide in April.

The Blue Ridge Music Center, milepost 213, is one of the major attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway and includes a state-of-the-art performance facility built to preserve and promote the historical music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Music Center is operated by the National Park Service (May through October), and the programming is coordinated through a partnership with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The Music Center is a major venue of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and a partner venue of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.

Tags: Blue Ridge Music CenterBusiness

Rural Rhythm Records Releases More of their Catalog to Radio Via AirPlay Direct

Sat, 01/23/2016 - 22:26

Rural Rhythm Records has been releasing their catalog and collections to radio exclusively via AirPlay Direct for some time now. They have been releasing some of the old with some of the new. Their releases have included selections from their Heritage Collection and their Sound Traditions catalogs. Recently, they have released Blue Moon Rising's Strange New World to the AirPlay Direct offerings to radio.

Strange New World is Blue Moon Rising’s fifth career album and their first recording on Rural Rhythm Records. The project combines a very eclectic mix of new original material with West contributing 7 of the 13 tracks. Other writers include: Mike Dekle, Kevin Denney, Becky Buller, Jon Weisberger/Jeremy Garrett and Clint Wilson.

The songs on Strange New World certainly showcase Blue Moon Rising’s range, versatility and maturity as it continually shifts between hard-core traditional bluegrass, blues, gospel, country and singer-songwriter influenced music. If one could paint a picture that captures the subjects and themes from songs like the peppy honky-tonk influenced kick-off track, “Time for Me to Be Moving On,” the soulful blues influenced, “He’s All Around Us” and the haunting and beautiful Kevin Denney original, “My Sitting Window” the painting would represent a Strange New World indeed!

Another selection available to DJs is the outstanding Dogwood Winter by two of our favorite artists, Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford. Gulley explains the origin of Dogwood Winter saying, “This recording project is, quite simply, two good friends and writing partners recording some of their songs in the way they heard them when they were originally written. It was truly a great experience to record and create a collection of music that was all original. Tim has been my primary writing partner for years - as well as a one of my best friends. Besides being a good friend and collaborator, Tim is one of best musicians on the planet, so it was really cool to finally get to work with him in the studio on our own project. I think this a singer-songwriter record in every sense of the word. There’s traditional bluegrass, country-flavored tunes, middle-of-the road ballads and stripped down arrangements with just guitar and vocal. It’s a wide variety of styles but has one underlying theme or focus – the songs themselves.”

Cybergrass has covered other releases to AirPlay Direct by Rural Rhythm over the years. Each of the previous releases has also opened a door into the history of bluegrass music and to the Rural Rhythm Records label. Rural Rhythm Records released a long line of Old-Time Country; Bluegrass & Gospel albums during the label's first two decades after Uncle Jim O'Neal started the label in 1955. Many of these vintage classic albums are still in Rural Rhythm's active catalog available on CD and digital formats. Many songs are still available in the various artist collection titles found in the Sound Traditions series. Various tracks which were previously released only on vinyl records and are coming back to life through the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series.

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

Tags: Rural RhythmAirPlay DirectBlue Moon RisingSound TraditionsHeritage CollectionRadio

Wernick Method Celebrates 400th Bluegrass Jam Class in the Czech Republic

Fri, 01/22/2016 - 21:14

On January 22nd, Petr Brandejs is hosting a weekend bluegrass jam class in Nový Jičín, Czech Republic. His class marks a milestone: the 400th Wernick Method class since the first one in October 2010. Brandejs is one of 80 teachers certified to teach bluegrass jamming using the method developed by Pete Wernick, “Dr. Banjo,” over years of teaching. To date, over 4300 students worldwide have taken Wernick Method classes.

In the mid-1990s, Wernick started offering three-hour Sunday jam classes to musicians at H.B. Woodsongs Music Store in Boulder, Colorado. “People with all different instruments showed up, and I would lead them as one big group and then break them up into jam groups. I'd start with the basics of jamming and following chords, then on to improvising simple solos and basic harmony singing. It went really well.”

Pete began offering multi-day jam camps in locations around the country, and created popular instructional DVDs that teach jamming skills. Always the goal: to motivate people to bring their instruments into group situations, emphasizing that bluegrass music is a team sport that requires more than just taking lessons and practicing alone at home.

In 2010 he further expanded his reach by creating the Wernick Method, certifying and training teachers to convey and cultivate the jam skills needed to play easily with others. Certified Wernick Method instructors in 40 states and 11 countries now offer classes in their own communities.

Petr Brandejs is one of the foremost bluegrass banjo players in the Czech Republic, and his classes in his hometown call on his experience teaching American folk music to Czech and Slovak students. He has taught for over 20 years on his own, but decided to give the Wernick Method a try a few years ago. Brandejs says, “I believed the Wernick Method could work after I read the teacher's manual, but my assistant (my brother Pavel) was actually shocked after the first jam class - It Worked! Teaching somebody to jam is a very complex task and we are thankful that Pete created the method and made it so widely available.”

Finding good teachers around the globe and working with them to teach the Wernick Method is no easy task either. Pete says, “For a teacher, a critical skill is understanding where to set the bar for the student—the right amount of challenge. If we assume or expect too much,” he adds, “a student can get mighty uncomfortable, and the learning situation can break down. But students who feel understood and encouraged tend to work hard and get great results.” 

Pete is fastidious about the guidance and training of Wernick Method teachers. All of the international teachers need to be fluent in English to be certified by and stay in touch with Pete, while classes are presented in the local tongue, with student materials now available in French, Czech, and German.

Pete shares a key to the success of his operation: after each class, detailed surveys are completed online anonymously by about 2/3 of the students and automatically compiled into reports shared with Pete and the teacher. “We have learned untold lessons, just by listening to our students’ suggestions. The overwhelming majority rates our classes 5 on a scale from 1 to 5 on ‘fun,’ ‘learning experience,’ and ‘value.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Wernick’s website, forthrightly displays the satisfaction statistics compiled from his 400 classes. Yes, for each question there are a handful of 1s, but also about 2000 5s!

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers Welcome Banjoist Gina Clowes

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 22:25

Nashville, TN -- Chris Jones & The Night Drivers welcome the band’s newest member, banjo player Gina Clowes, who will make her debut alongside current members Jones, Mark Stoffel (mandolin) and Jon Weisberger (bass) at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville, TN, on February 19th. She will fill the spot held by Ned Luberecki who announced his amicable departure from the band on January 15th.

“We’re having a great time on our final set of dates with Ned Luberecki,” says Chris, “but at the same time, we’re excited to be sharing this news. We met Gina shortly before last year’s World of Bluegrass when we appeared with Bud’s Collective in West Virginia, and were really impressed by her playing. Not long after that, she had indicated to Jon that she was interested in pursuing other opportunities, so when Ned gave his notice, she came immediately to mind.”

A Virginia native, Clowes started on piano before switching to the banjo at the age of 11. She studied with IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award winner Murphy Henry, and with 2013 Banjo Player of the Year Mike Munford (Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen), and was a frequent finalist in the bluegrass banjo competition at the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention. Her professional experience began in a family band that included sister Malia Furtado, now with Circa Blue. More recently, she spent four years with Bud’s Collective, recording three albums, including 2015’s holiday-themed Naughty List (National Media Services), which included her original “thoughtful meditation” (Bluegrass Today), “Joseph’s Song.” Gina lives in Winchester with her husband, Paul, and their children.

"Having enjoyed Chris Jones' music for years, I am very excited to be taking on the role of Night Driver's banjo player,” Clowes says. “The elegance and tastefulness of their music has always struck a chord with me, so I am grateful to them for welcoming me into the group. The boys in Bud's Collective are family to me, so it is a bittersweet departure. I wish them the best in everything and look forward to what they have in store."

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2015 by releasing their 9th album and first project for Mountain Home Music Company, Run Away Tonight. Founded by guitarist and lead singer Jones, its members are known not just for the group’s distinctive contemporary bluegrass, but for contributions to the community in multiple realms; both Jones and bassist Jon Weisberger have earned IBMA awards in both musical and industry categories ranging from Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year to Broadcaster of the Year and Print Media Person of the Year. Run Away Tonight’s first single, “Laurie,” written by Jones and Weisberger, spent six weeks at #1 on Bluegrass Today’s weekly airplay chart, and though it was released well into the second half of the year, appeared in the top 5 for all of 2015. The group’s current single, another Jones-Weisberger composition, is “One Night In Paducah.”

"Gina has the technical mastery, stylistic breadth and inventiveness that are essential to the Night Drivers sound, and since a number of our recordings have featured a female voice guesting on harmonies, it will be great to have that as part of the band, too," Jones says. "We look forward to introducing her to our fans—I know they’re going to appreciate her talents as much as we do."

Tags: Gina ClowesChris Jones & The Night DriversBand AnnouncementNed Luberecki

IBMA Opens Bluegrass Ramble Showcase Applications to Artists

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 22:22

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that applications are now open for bluegrass and bluegrass-related artists to apply to be an Official Showcase Selection performer at the IBMA's annual Bluegrass Ramble during World of Bluegrass week. The 2016 Bluegrass Ramble, scheduled for September 27-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the premier platform for introducing talent to the bluegrass community. All emerging bluegrass bands, as well as established bands with new music or new personnel, are encouraged to apply.

Once selected, each showcase band will perform at least twice during World of Bluegrass Week—once on a convention center stage and once at a local Bluegrass Ramble venue. In addition to the two performance opportunities, the IBMA showcase package includes:

  • Complimentary booth space during business conference (value $600+)
  • Full conference registration package for performing members of group (value $1000+)
  • One organizational membership for group (value $205)
  • Featured profile in conference program and on the WOB smart phone app
  • Inclusion of one mp3 on the 2016 Noisetrade/IBMA Bluegrass Ramble compilation. Download the compilations from previous years for free.
  • Inclusion in the Bluegrass Ramble Spotify playlist, promoted on social media by IBMA
  • Priority access to “Gig Fair” appointments
  • Scheduled consultation in advance of events on maximizing showcase opportunities
Application Process

Showcase applications can be made online.* Applicant does not have to be an IBMA member. In addition to general application information, the following materials will be needed to complete the application:

  • Name, email, and role (i.e. banjo, fiddle) of each member of the applying act
  • One studio recording (mp3 format only)
  • One Hi-Res artist photo
  • An artist bio with artist location, names/roles of band members (if known at time of application), description of the artist's sound, and note of any recently released recordings
  • A stage plot (PDF or JPEG) indicating locations of instruments, instrument mics, vocal mics, and any other equipment (i.e. amp, pre-amp)

Up to 30 showcase artists will be invited in 2016, based on the number of qualified applicants. IBMA showcase artists are chosen in a juried selection process that takes into consideration every applicant’s entertainment value, level of professionalism, potential appeal and quality of work. There are generally more than 150 acts who apply every year. Official IBMA showcase acts from the 2015 Bluegrass Ramble are NOT eligible for 2016.

Application Deadlines & Fees

Online application for IBMA showcases must be submitted by February 28, 2016. All applicants are required to submit a $25 fee to defray selection process costs. If invited to participate as an official showcase artist, there is an additional fee of $500 to offset costs of services and showcase production.

*If online application creates a hardship for the applicant, or if any assistance is needed, contact Eddie Huffman, 888-438-4262

Cheat Tweet: Applications for @Intlbluegrass now open for #BluegrassRamble at #WorldofBluegrass in Raleigh!

For the latest news and content, follow the IBMA conversation on social: Facebook: Twitter: @intlbluegrass

Tags: IBMABluegrass RambleShowcaseWorld of BluegrassEvent

Jane Kramer Releases Mountain-made Solo Album Feb 26th

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 22:19

Asheville, NC -- Vocalist and songwriter Jane Kramer is set to independently release her gutsy and ambrosial second solo album entitled Carnival of Hopes on Friday, February 26, 2016. Carnival of Hopes feels both celebratory and frank. It is filled with songs of regret and insight found after deep and gritty self-reflection. At its core, the album tells the story of facing down dark inner demons while still clinging to “that tiny chirping of light in your bones that somehow keeps you tethered to keeping on,” Kramer says.

Throughout the album, it is Kramer’s unvarnished honesty and searching, powerfully sweet and heartrending voice that carry the well-crafted and arranged songs and tie both elements of loss and healing cohesively together. “I'm not great at making stuff up,” she says, “so I sing what I lived and what I know, without any sugar or fluff.”

“Anyone who has stared down the barrel of themselves and their failures and fears and shipwrecked loves has scraped up against the bottom of their own capacity for hoping,” says Kramer, a social worker and musician by trade. “My Carnival of Hopes is busted and hideous and rusty and somehow still brave and sparkly,” she says, “like the image of the forgotten Ferris wheel printed on the disc – half taken over by trees and time, but still standing.”

With deep ties to the area, Carnival of Hopes, boasts a sparkling cast of Ashevillian producers and players. It was recorded at the award-winning Sound Temple Studios in Asheville in February of 2015, while she still lived on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon. A few months later, after a four-year run spent writing and reflecting on the West Coast, Jane Kramer pulled up stakes and returned to Western North Carolina with a renewed energy to share her new music with the world.

Carnival of Hopes aches and soars with her connections to Appalachian balladry, a force she first encountered at Warren Wilson College and honed while performing with the Asheville-based all-female trio, the Barrel House Mamas, who helped reintroduce Americana music to the Blue Ridge Mountains a decade ago. However, it is as a solo artist where the power of Kramer’s songwriting and world-class vocals truly shine.

Kramer’s longtime friend Adam Johnson of Sound Lab Studios, whose portfolio of clients includes such names as Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma, produced and engineered the album. Kramer is backed by Chris Rosser on piano and harmonium, Eliot Wadopian on upright bass and River Guerguerian on drums and percussion, the virtuoso trio that comprises Free Planet Radio, and by master Georgia-based bluegrass musicians/ multi-instrumentalists, Pace Conner (steel string, high string and baritone guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and backing vocals) and Michael Evers (Dobro, banjo, mandolin, and backing vocals) who arranged the songs for recording and perform and tour with Kramer regularly.

Carnival of Hopes as an album is full of sometimes-searing flourishes on the complexities of Kramer’s modern life. The title track clearly encompasses that, she says.

“In the song ‘Carnival of Hopes’ and on the record as a whole, I talk about letting things die and being honest about it: the notion that I am a good woman, ideas for my future and success, a big love, and even parts of myself dying and being reborn in the letting go” she says. “I talk about laying down my hammer but leaving the light on in the window. While these are heavy concepts, I feel the take-away feeling of the album is one of hope.”

On this deeply personal album, Kramer’s favorite track is the ballad, “Good Woman.” While she says she’s not one who fits that description, listeners might disagree after hearing the lilting but earnest passion and regret in her voice.

“Good Woman” is the song you write when your lover kicks you out of the house and you're half drunk on cheap box wine in a crappy motel room staring at yourself in the mirror under the fluorescent bathroom light,” Jane says. “You can't help but be honest then.”

“Aside from the sentiment, the contributions of virtuoso players, Nicky Sanders of Steep Canyon Rangers and Franklin Keel of Sirius B, also help make the song a favorite,” Kramer adds. They play orchestral fiddle and cello, respectively, on “Good Woman”.

Other songs on the album offer clear hints to Kramer’s unflinching self-examination and ability to convey heavy subject matter through utterly palatable and even catchy song-crafting. The New Orleans jazz-influenced “Why’d I Do That Blues,” (which features a horn section comprised of JP Furnas on trombone and Ben Hovey on trumpet), the classic country honky tonking sass of the opening track “Half Way Gone,” and the banjo-driven, uptempo modern-day spiritual “My Dusty Wings” all speak to a talented songwriter laying herself bare. She credits her songwriting hero and mentor, Mary Gauthier, with helping her reach for, and express, everything she hoped to communicate with the album.

The songs on the album were all penned by Kramer with the exception of one cover, “Down South,” written by Tom Petty. “This tune just sounds like the mountains.” Kramer says,”I'm a huge Petty fan and love the poignant simplicity of his writing. Additionally, and probably what was most important to me was the message of the song thematically, about returning home to the south and it's little idiosyncrasies.” Three Chords and the Truth (UK) says of the Petty cover, “The fit is seamless as either side of this pivotal number are songs brimming with emotions and forever exploring a variety of musical directions.”

The sense of homecoming that rings through was a conscious effort, Kramer says. “I did that because Asheville is my dirt. It’s my home and my culture, musically and otherwise. I missed it and knew somewhere in my bones I would be coming back to stay soon,” she says.

“I didn’t want to make an album that didn’t sound like home,” Kramer adds. “I wanted Asheville musicians and Appalachian instrumentation – that wistful, southern dobro sound that hurts your heart a little.” Carnival of Hopes is indeed a homecoming album, and will take listeners through the enchanting and accessible emotional landscape of a woman who has climbed the mountain of her own failures and fears and learned how to be at home with herself.

Tags: Jane KramerCD ReleaseCarnival of Hope

Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive Release "I Think I'll Let You Drive" Video

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 22:41
Nashville, TN -- Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive have released a lyric video for their second single, "I Think I'll Let You Drive." Produced by Sammy3 Productions of the Passamano Brothers, the video is a complementary companion of Robinette's second single (distributed to radio last week), and the follow-up single to “To Be a Kid Again,” which reached #6 on Bluegrass Today’s Weekly Airplay Chart/Top-20 on the monthly chart, from the 12-track, self-titled album Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive on Rural Rhythm Records.

Written by Steve Gulley, the mid-tempo song features the commanding alto of Robinette, with Gulley and Grammy-nominee Dale Ann Bradley on backing vocals. It also features a heavy fiddle intro and outro by Aubrey Haynie, as well as the mandolin-stylings of Sam Bush and resonator work of Grammy-nominee Rob Ickes. The single is available for download on iTunes, Amazon and in stores where fine Bluegrass and Gospel music is sold. Radio programmers can download the song on AirPlay Direct. The lyric video for the song will be available next week. For more information of Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive, please visit

While Tammy Jones Robinette may be a new name to many bluegrass fans, she is not new to the world of music, having already built a strong following and reputation as one of the top artists and songwriters in the Southern Gospel arena. Despite her success, Tammy felt compelled to honor her Kentucky roots and hopes that her fan base will follow and develop a mutual love for the music of her upbringing.

Tammy Jones Robinette brings a refreshing new sound to the Bluegrass domain. There is great emotion in her voice. You can tell she isn't just standing in front of a studio mic and singing (so many artists fall into that trap). Instead, she is really projecting the emotion behind 'I Think I'll Let You Drive,' written by Steve Gulley. I think Tammy does a tremendous job and through it isn't what I would call a traditional sound, it isn't supposed to be. Instead, it's a sweet departure with great appeal.”
—Bob Cherry, Cybergrass

Tammy's new single, 'I Think I"ll Just Let You Drive' is turbocharged in every category: musicianship, arrangement, vocals. Love it! She knows how to get us there with her inspired tune. Let 'The Drive' be an enjoyable one. It definitely is with Tammy at your wheel!! Weeee!!”
—Gracie Muldoon, WorldWide Bluegrass

Tammy’s Bluegrass and Southern Gospel roots are evident in a spirited rendition of 'I Think I’ll Let You Drive.' It’ll get your toes tapping.”
—Bob Mitchell, Best of Bluegrass

I'm not always sure whether a bluegrass gospel song is sung out of actual religious conviction--as listener all I care about is whether the band manages to carry the song--but in Robinette's case, there is no question. She is possessed of an alto voice used to sterling effect. Much of the charm of this album is in its natural, unapologetic honesty, its willingness to evoke raw feelings, and its ability to find beauty and hope even in the hardest of circumstances. You don't hear that much anymore. Let's hope we hear a whole lot more of the bluegrass Tammy Jones Robinette.”
—Jerome Clark,

Tags: Tammy Jones Robinette & The DriveSteve GulleyVideoI Think I'll Let You DriveCD Release

Hillbilly Gypsies Announce Evolutionary Band Change

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 22:37

Wednesday, January 20th, Trae Buckner of the Hillbilly Gypsies announced a major band shakeup. The band has been together for over a decade playing their own homegrown style of Appalachian old time music, mixed with a hard drivin’ bluegrass sound. The band has announced that three members, Dave Asti, Ty Jaquay and Ryan Cramer have all decided that it is their time to step down and retire from the touring life with the band.

The Hillbilly Gypsies are a West Virginia native string band who specialize in playing their own In addition to their original material, the Hillbilly Gypsies play a mix of traditional bluegrass and catchy old fiddle tunes. They are best appreciated at a live show. The Gypsies perform in the old fashioned style, around a single microphone. Their show has the feel of a barn dance, and it transports you back in time. One thing’s for sure – you’ll want to get up and dance. They’ve been a group for over ten years, and they have played at many national festivals, concert halls, and theaters.

In the announcement, Buckner noted, "This kind of a lifestyle isn't for everyone and they have all decided to focus their time close to home and on family. We want to thank all of these guys for all of the hard work and for their musical contributions. We love each and every person who has come along with us on this musical journey. We couldn't have done it without their help!"

He continued stating, "Jamie Lynn and I want to assure all of our fans and promoters that the Hillbilly Gypsies aren't going anywhere! We have already hired a wonderful backing band and will continue to deliver that hard driving Appalachian and bluegrass thing that we have always been known for! As long as Jamie Lynn and I are breathing and physically able, we well keep on making our music!"

Buckner explained, "Many don't know this but, in the fifteen years that The Hillbilly Gypsies have been a band, we've seen nearly twenty people come and go. It is just a part of the business that we call show. We will deeply miss running the roads with Dave, Ty and Ryan, just as we miss doing that with the others who have been along the journey. But, just remember, once a Gypsy, always a Gypsy!! Stay tuned for some fresh new and very exciting news and music!! We know that you'll be pleasantly surprised and thrilled with what is to come. I know that we sure are!"

Formed from a chance meeting in 2001 in Morgantown, West Virginia, they have been pickin’ and grinnin’ ever since. Trae Buckner and Jamie Lynn Buckner, Jason Teel, Ty Jaquay, and Dave Asti are the members of the group. Trae is featured on guitar and vocals. Jamie Lynn does both lead and harmony vocals. Jason does the bass fiddling for the group. Dave Asti plays banjo, and Ty does the fiddling. The Hillbilly Gypsies truly are a close knit family, mindful of tradition but boldly exploring new styles of acoustic music.

The new lineup of the band should offer a new and fresh sound that this band is known for. Expect some exciting new entertainment for 2016.

Tags: Hillbilly GypsiesBand Announcement

Ronnie Reno to Be Inducted into SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 22:10

Nashville, TN -- The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) has announced that “Bluegrass Music’s Youngest Old Timer,” Ronnie Reno, will be inducted into the Preservation Hall of Greats at the upcoming 42nd Annual Bluegrass Music Awards to be held February 7 at 6:30 P.M. at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. The award is the highest honor presented by SPBGMA, a trade organization formed over 40 years ago to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music.

Reno’s name will be added to an incredible list of Bluegrass legends and seminal performers who have been inducted since 1984, beginning with Bill Monroe and including such notables as Hylo Brown, Mac Wiseman, Larry Sparks, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, The Osborne Brothers, Doc Watson, Carl Story, Rhonda Vincent, Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Harrell. Reno’s name will also join his father’s, Don Reno, who was inducted into the Preservation Hall of Greats in 1985 along with Red Smiley.

“I am so incredibly humbled to be listed among artists who have inspired me throughout my entire career. While I’ve known a lot of them personally, I have also studied their licks, admired their music and respected their craftsmanship to the point that I’ve dedicated a great deal of my career getting their performances archived on film and in audio files so that others can benefit from their work,” said Reno. “To find myself listed among them is just mind-blowing! I just don’t even know what to say.”

Ronnie Reno has been blessed with one of the most colorful, diverse and distinguished careers in the music industry, one that spans over 60 years, alongside some of the most legendary entertainers in Bluegrass and Country music, including Reno & Smiley, Reno & Harrell, The Osborne Brothers, Merle Haggard, The Reno Brothers and Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition. Throughout the years, he has penned many hit songs, including Conway Twitty’s 1978 hit "Boogie Grass Band" and produced successful albums for Merle Haggard, Mac Wiseman and his own recently released album Lessons Learned.

Just a half a generation removed from the birth of Bluegrass, Ronnie is one of the few remaining performers who can remember with lucidity many the milestones that have shaped both Country and Bluegrass genres—including performances at Carter’s Fold and the Barn Dance era of radio, which led to the initial rise in Country and Bluegrass music’s popularity. Reno performed at the very first Bluegrass Festival, was entrenched in the Classic Country scene and Bluegrass Explosion in the 70’s, and now, serves as “Ambassador of Old-Time Music” for up-and-coming artists through his longstanding, award-winning television show, “Reno’s Old Time Music,” which can now be seen in over 50 million homes in prime time on RFD-TV. For more information on Ronnie Reno, please visit

The Bluegrass Awards Ceremony is the culmination of the SPBGMA’s 33rd National Convention & Band Championship to be held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, February 4-7. (For tickets or information, please visit Sam Passamano, Jr. (aka Sam II), President of the powerhouse Bluegrass label Rural Rhythm Records, Ronnie’s current label, will make the induction presentation to Reno.

“Ronnie Reno is so deserving of the 2016 SPBGMA induction into the Preservation Hall of Greats,” says Passamano. “He has an appreciation for acoustic music and Appalachian harmony like no other. During his over 60-year career, Ronnie’s contributions to Bluegrass and Country music have been numerous,” he explains. “Just as important is his work in preserving the performances of our legendary artists, which he often shares with a global audience through his television show. This work is not only ensuring his own legacy, but he is ensuring the legacy of that those who preceded and those that will follow him, so that all will be remembered. For this, we will all be forever grateful.”

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

Tags: Ronnie RenoSPBGMASociety for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of AmericaPreservation Hall of Greats

Nancy Cardwell to Represent Valerie Smith, Jesse McReynolds and Ray Cardwell

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 22:06

Working in conjunction with BuckleDown Productions owned by J. Gregory Heinike and Valerie Smith, Nancy Cardwell of Nashville, TN announced this week that she will be booking dates for 2016 and 2017 for Bluegrass Hall of Fame member and Grand Ole Opry star Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys; the most entertaining woman in bluegrass music, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike; and an exciting talent who has recently returned to Nashville, Ray Cardwell & Tennessee Moon. Cardwell may be reached at (615) 260-4807 or The home office for BuckleDown Productions is in Bell Buckle, TN, at (931) 389-0222.

Cardwell brings years of music industry experience to BuckleDown Productions. She has written for entertainment and trade publications about bluegrass and country music since 1981, and her book, The Words and Music of Dolly Parton, Country Music’s Iron Butterfly, was published by Praeger (ABC-Clio) in 2011. Nancy was honored with the Charlie Lamb Excellence in Country Music Journalism Award at the International Academic Conference on Country Music in 2006.

A graduate of both Leadership Bluegrass (2000) and Leadership Music (2009), Cardwell served as Special Projects Director at the International Bluegrass Music Association from 1994-2012, where she managed professional development and leadership events, developed the Bluegrass in the Schools program and edited publications, plus more.

During her 2 ½ year term as executive director (2012-2015), public perception of IBMA in the bluegrass world and wider entertainment business community improved with increased youth involvement; new programs, events and services; an updated online presence; and mainstream media attention. Finances improved, membership increased 40%, and the IBMA team collaborated with leaders in Raleigh, NC to orchestrate a successful move of World of Bluegrass events from Nashville to Raleigh. More than 180,000 attended the weeklong events in 2014 with a $10.8 million local economic impact, and sponsorship increased 49% from 2012 to 2014. Both Bluegrass Fan Fest 2012 and the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Awards aired on PBS television for the first time.

Nancy grew up in a family bluegrass band in southwest Missouri and has performed as a singer and musician in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and on national and international tours. She and co-writer Becky Buller won 2nd place in the DC Bluegrass Union’s first annual Hazel Dickens Song Contest in 2015. During the past year she served on the “Remembering Miss Dixie Committee,” created to honor the songwriting and philanthropic legacy of Dixie Hall.

“I’m thrilled to represent a diverse trio of bluegrass artists who have some important things in common: an innate talent for entertaining and capturing an audience’s heart, along with and original, creative streak a mile wide,” Cardwell said.

“Mr. Mandolin” Jesse McReynolds is a living legend and elder statesman of bluegrass music, but the years haven’t slowed him down at all when it comes to his music. With his late brother Jim, Jesse received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1997 for their contributions to American music. Members of the Grand Ole Opry since 1964, Jim & Jesse were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993. Jesse has received four Grammy nominations and recorded more than 50 albums. A soulful lead singer and stylist who has influenced several generations of musicians, Jesse is known in particular for a unique mandolin style he created and popularized called “cross-picking” that involves intricate split string patterns. Jesse is currently in the studio working on a new instrumental album that spotlights the fiddle and banjo his grandfather played on the original Bristol sessions, as a follow up to his appearance on Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, produced by Carl Jackson. McReynolds is also re-mastering two syndicated Jim & Jesse television series, the first filmed in Nashville, TN and Lexington, KY in the early 1970s, and also Country Music Carousel hosted by Slim Wilson, which was produced in Springfield, MO in the 1980s.

“Valerie Smith can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering—sometimes in the same song!” according to Bluegrass Breakdown public radio show host, Dave Higgs. A popular national and international touring artist for the past 20 years, Valerie Smith is based in Bell Buckle, TN. Smith’s break-out hit, “Red Clay Halo,” written by Gillian Welch, charted in the bluegrass, folk and country music worlds and was voted one of the Top 60 Songs of the Decade in the 1990s.

An international touring and Grammy-nominated artist, Smith released a critically acclaimed album in 2014, The Human Condition, which received extensive airplay on Americana and roots music radio stations. Val’s current line-up of Liberty Pike includes two-time Bluegrass Hall of Famer Tom Gray, along with Lisa Kay and Wally Hughes, and Joe Zauner. The band is currently in the studio working on a new bluegrass album which will be titled Hometown Heroes. The band also presents fun-filled educational bluegrass programs for schools, and Smith and Gray are both sought after presenters at vocal and bass workshops, respectively.

The third artist on Nancy’s roster is her brother, Ray Cardwell, who recently moved from Missouri to Nashville to return to a career in bluegrass music. He was previously based in Music City from 1994-96 when he played bass and sang lead with Brentwood recording artists, the New Tradition.

Ray has been in the studio this winter with New Grass Revival alum Pat Flynn in the producer’s chair, recording original music that honors his bluegrass roots, but with a completely unique and contemporary, blues-tinged twist. “One of the most interesting things about Ray is his range,” Flynn says. “He has a very diverse musical background. We have a bluegrass foundation on these recordings, but we’re doing everything from blues and gospel a cappella to straight-up bluegrass. I like the fact that Ray is able to embrace a lot of different styles…and pull them all off. His vocals are very distinctive, as well as his bass playing; that sets the stage for us to do a lot of things acoustically with modern bluegrass as a base.” Ray Cardwell & Tennessee Moon demos will be available soon to interested event producers, with more details and an expanded social media presence to launch by February.

Tags: Nancy CardwellValerie SmithJesse McReynoldsRay CardwellBuckleDown ProductionsBusinessArtist Management

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle Songs Reach #1 With Multiple Songs

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 23:30

Nashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Records group Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle have been very busy since the launch of their self-titled debut album almost a year ago. The Bluegrass Situation called the debut album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle “one of the most highly anticipated bluegrass albums for 2015” soon after the release of the first single “Leaving Crazytown” , written by Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford, was released in the Fall of 2014. “Leaving Crazytown” went on to reach #1 six times on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart, “which is very rare occurrence and incredible achievement for a new group”, noted Terry Herd from Bluegrass Today. The single also reached #3 on SiriusXM radio – Bluegrass Junction’s Most-Played Tracks Chart and Top 10 on the Bluegrass Unlimited – National Bluegrass Survey Top 30 Chart. Bob Cherry of Cybergrass reviewed the album last year giving it high marks noting, "...every song I've heard by him was a 'keeper'."

“Leaving Crazytown” and “She’s A Taker”, written by Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford, placed #3 and #6 on Bluegrass Today’s 2015 Year End Airplay Chart. In addition, “You’re Gone”, written by Steve Gulley & Adam Haynes, reached #1 on SiriusXM radio – Bluegrass junction’s Most Played Tracks Chart in November and currently “She’s A Taker” is moving up the Bluegrass Unlimited – National Bluegrass Survey Top 30 Chart at #19 in the January 2016 magazine. Also in the same Bluegrass Unlimited issue, after 7 months on the chart, the album is currently moving up the chart at #5 on the Top 15 Bluegrass Album Chart.

David Morris from Bluegrass Today posted Dave’s Dozen: Best Of 2015 and included the debut album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle on this prestigious list. Morris commented, “Gulley took a chance last year, leaving a successful gig with Dale Ann Bradley to step out on his own with a young band. But the band’s first single hit the charts right out of the gate, and he hasn’t looked back since.” This is a thought that is also shared by Freddy Smith from WDVX in Knoxville TN, “Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle's debut CD is the best project to hit music airways in my opinion…The personalities of this band are that of humble, hardworking, and good hearted people. Steve Gulley has never received the credit he deserves and I am a firm believer that this CD will change that!...”

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle was awarded with a 2015 IBMA Official Showcase Band performances during the convention in Raleigh last Fall. These showcase performances gave fans and promoters the opportunity to see Steve Gulley (vocals, guitar) perform live with his impressive New Pinnacle group consisting of; Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals). The group has now been awarded by SPBGMA to perform on the main stage during the upcoming 2016 SPBGMA convention in February. More details regarding the mainstage performance and other showcase performances during the upcoming SPBGMA convention will be forthcoming.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is available on AirPlay Direct for DJ downloads and the album is available on Amazon, ITunes and wherever Bluegrass music is sold. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is now touring the US in support of their debut album. Go to the band’s web site at for a complete listing of tour dates.

The Gulley family name enjoys a rich musical heritage that reaches across generations with strong roots in Bluegrass and Mountain Gospel music. It starts with long time radio personality Don Gulley who was a founding member of the Bluegrass group the Pinnacle Mountain Boys. Don’s son, Steve Gulley, has carried on the family tradition performing for many years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, as a founding member of Bluegrass super groups Mountain Heart and Grasstowne,as a regular featured performer at Renfro Valley and with Steve’s longtime friend and colleague Dale Ann Bradley.

Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes; Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals),Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals).Steve Gulley certainly does not need any introduction to the Bluegrass community with accomplishments that include 16 years as a featured performer, staff musician, music director, studio manager and producer at Renfro Valley, KY. From 1994-96 Steve was a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and a founding member of Mountain Heart ('98 - '06), Grasstowne ('06 - '11) and with longtime friend Dale Ann Bradleythrough 2014. Steve is a winner of 4 IBMA Awards including Co-writer of the 2008 Song Of The Year, "Through The Window Of A Train", by Blue Highway and SPBGMA Multi award winnerincluding 2008 Album Of The Year, "The Road Headin' Home”, by Grasstowne.

In addition, Steve has produced many albums at his Curve Recording studio in Cumberland Gap, TN, including the Dove nominated album “Healed” for Locust Ridge, the critically acclaimed Civil War album project “God Didn’t Choose Sides”,and the Christmas CD/DVD and broadcast of “Christmas The Mountain Way”, which aired on RFD-TV’s FamilyNet and BlueHighways TV networks.

Steve has put together an impressive group of musicians to form New Pinnacle pulling some of the top talent in his Tennessee / Kentucky / Virginia border state community that he has called his home all his life.

Tags: Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle#1Charts

Nominees for 42nd SPBGMA Awards Announced

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 23:15

The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Bluegrass Music Awards nominees have been announced. The 42nd Annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards will take place during the society's 33rd National Convention. The convention takes place February 4-7, 2016 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The awards show is definitely the highlight of the annual event and bluegrass music's biggest starts will be there participating in performances as well as collecting their respective trophies.

SPBGMA serves to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music. The organization also offers a management service for any community desiring to hold a Bluegrass festival and/or to organize and conduct Bluegrass Band competitions. In all SPBGMA sponsored events, instruments must be traditional acoustic instruments, no electrified instruments permitted. SPBGMA encourages professionalism in appearance and showmanship by the performers at SPBGMA events as well as encouraging the support of various Bluegrass publications and associations.

This event is always a favorite and includes the Showcase of Bands, Workshops, opportunities for promoters and talent buyers to view new and existing artists to see what's new. There are trade exhibits, record companies and more available for the artists and the fans. Of course, this is also an exciting time in bluegrass music where the fans and their favorite artists get to mingle and socialize as well. It is definitely and friendly, up close and personal experience for all involved.

The big awards night will take place next month where the attending members will cast their ballots to see who takes home the 2016 honors. Here are the nominations for the honors to be awarded in Nashville, Tennessee next month.

Listed by Category, the 2014 nominees are:

  1. Bluegrass Promoter of the Year
    • Homer Boyd
    • Norman Adams
    • D.A. Callaway
    • Ryan Frankhouser
    • Dwight Dillman
    • Bertie Sullivan
  2. Bluegrass Radio Station of the Year
    • WPAQ-Mt. Airy, NC
    • WQDR-Raleigh, NC
    • WKXR-Asheboro, NC
    • Sirius XM 61-Bluegrass Junction
    • WBRF-Galax, VA
    • WSM-Nashville, TN
  3. Bluegrass DJ of the Year
    • Kyle Cantrell-Sirius XM 61
    • Larry Nixon-WQDR-Raleigh, NC
    • Freddy Smith-WDVX-Knoxville, TN
    • Tim Frye-WPAQ-Mt. Airy, NC
    • Judith Burnette-WBRF-Galax, VA
    • Bobby Franklin-WKXR-Asheboro, NC
  4. Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year
    • Junior Sisk
    • Tim Jamison
    • Becky Buller
    • Daryl Mosley
    • Louisa Branscomb
    • Donna Ulisse
  5. Bluegrass Album of the Year
    • It’s About Tyme – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out on Break A String
    • Another Day From Life – Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers on Rebel Records
    • Runaway Train – Flatt Lonesome on Mountain Home Music Company
    • Turn on a Dime – Lonesome River Band on Mountain Home Music Company
    • Country Livin’ – Big Country Bluegrass on Rebel Records
    • Country Grass – Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road on Pinecastle Records
  6. Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year
    • Tony King
    • Matt Wright
    • Barry Bales
    • Barry Reed
    • Tim Surrett
    • Mickey Harris
  7. Dobro Performer of the Year
    • Gaven Largent
    • Tim Graves
    • Jerry Douglas
    • Phil Leadbetter
    • Rob Ickes
    • Brent Burke
  8. Guitar Performer of the Year
    • Keith Tew
    • Marty Raybon
    • Bryan Sutton
    • Junior Sisk
    • Josh Williams
    • Eddie Gill
  9. Mandolin Performer of the Year
    • Johnathan Dillon
    • Tommy Sells
    • Larry Stephenson
    • Danny Roberts
    • Jesse Brock
    • Lorraine Jordan
  10. Banjo Performer of the Year
    • Lynwood Lunsford
    • Kenny Ingram
    • Ben Greene
    • Jason Davis
    • Bennie Boling
    • Morris Herbert
  11. Fiddle Performer of the Year
    • Greg Moore
    • Jason Barie
    • Michael Cleveland
    • Jamie Harper
    • Tim Laughlin
    • Hunter Berry
  12. Female Vocalist of the Year (Overall)
    • Rhonda Vincent
    • Teresa Sells
    • Sonya Isaacs
    • Michelle Nixon
    • Lorraine Jordan
    • Jeanette Williams
  13. Male Vocalist of the Year (Overall)
    • Johnny Williams
    • Marty Raybon
    • Russell Moore
    • Junior Sisk
    • Eddie Gill
    • Daryl Mosley
  14. Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year
    • Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice
    • Mountain Faith
    • Big Country Bluegrass
    • The Farm Hands
    • Larry Stephenson Band
    • Fret High
  15. Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year
    • Remington Ryde
    • Larry Stephenson Band
    • Balsam Range
    • Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice
    • Big Country Bluegrass
    • The Farm Hands
  16. Bluegrass Instrumental Group of the Year
    • Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
    • Larry Stephenson Band
    • Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
    • The Farm Hands
    • Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road
    • Big Country Bluegrass
  17. Bluegrass Band of the Year (Overall)
    • Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice
    • Big Country Bluegrass
    • The Farm Hands
    • Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
    • Flatt Lonesome
    • Larry Stephenson Band
  18. Entertainer(s) of the Year
    • Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice
    • Rhonda Vincent
    • Big Country Bluegrass
    • Lil’ Roy Lewis
    • Nothin’ Fancy
    • The Farm Hands
  19. Song of the Year
    • "You’re the One" by Flatt Lonesome on Mountain Home Music Company
    • "Turn on a Dime" by Lonesome River Band on Mountain Home Music Company
    • "I Got Mexico" by Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road on Pinecastle Records
    • "The Bluefield West" Virgina Blues by Big Country Bluegrass on Rebel Records
    • "Moon Over Memphis" by Balsam Range on Mountain Home Music Company
    • "The Last Parade" by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers on Rebel Records

Congratulations to all the nominees and our gratitude for all the fine bluegrass music during the past year.

Tags: SPBGMASociety for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of AmericaNominationAwards

“Change Her Mind” from Dave Adkins Available on iTunes

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 22:39

Willis, VA -- The first single from the upcoming Dave Adkins album on Mountain Fever Records is available on iTunes today! "Change Her Mind" has already proven to be a hit with radio programmers and is just a sampling of what's to come on the self-titled album due for release February 26th.

“Not only does Dave Adkins have a voice that is instantly recognizable, he knows how to sing a song. With the release of his latest single, ‘Change Her Mind,’ Dave expands his singer-songwriter arsenal with a well-penned tune revolving around the hope of saving a love that is ready to die. With Dave’s unmistakable hard-driving vocals, and an outstanding line-up of musicians, ‘Change Her Mind’ is putting the bluegrass world on notice that Dave Adkins is ready for his time in the spotlight.”
Rita Small and Tim Strong, Bluegrass In The Valley, WOBO 88.7fm, Batavia, Ohio

"The new single by David Adkins is rock solid with great harmony, great pickin' and David's lead sounds good as ever. I'm really looking forward to the release of his new project."
Charlie Hall, The Bluegrass Express. 100.7fm WCYO

“Like a breath of fresh air on a cool mountain morning ‘Change Her Mind’ the latest single from Dave Adkins is clear, crisp and new. In a world where music often becomes formulaic, this is totally Dave Adkins!”
Judith Burnette, The Blue Ridge Backroads Show; WBRF; Galax, VA

“Kentucky singer/songwriter, Dave Adkins, has a hit on his hands with the first release from his upcoming self-titled solo project. ‘Change Her Mind’ is a great uptempo song that will keep listeners from changing their radio station or forwarding their cd player. In fact, it is a song you will want to hit the repeat button...several times. Looking forward to seeing what other gems the Elkhorn City native has in store for us. Great job, Dave!”
Mike Kelly, 96.7 Merle fm. WMYL

"David Adkins has done it again; He has written an instant classic. ‘Change Her Mind’ is a great song that will be a lead for another great album from this fresh singer-songwriter and friend of bluegrass."
Ken Cartwright, Program Director of KYAC FM and Host of Ken Till Ten.

"Since the first time I heard ‘Pike County Jail,’ I've been hooked! The brand new single, ‘Change Her Mind,’ is everything I expected and it's been on repeat all evening! From his powerful vocals and original material to his high energy live shows, Dave Adkins is the real deal! I can't wait to see what's next!"
Ira Crawford Twin Oaks Park, Hoboken Ga.

"Change Her Mind" is now available for purchase via iTunes and the new album, Dave Adkins, is available for preview. For more about Dave Adkins, visit For more about Mountain Fever Records, visit

Tags: Dave AdkinsSingleChange Her MindCD Release

Fast Train Making Steam for Carter Fold Sat, Jan 23rd

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 23:02

Fast Train was organized over twelve years ago. Teddy Helton plays bass. He plays with the Appalachian Celtic Band Fire in the Kitchen as well. Howard Burchett plays guitar. Howard is from Washington County, Virginia. He played for many years with local musical favorite Bill McCall and has jammed with Conway Twitty. Randy Singleton is featured on vocals and plays the banjo and dobro. A musician for 40 years, Randy has played in several area bands including Crosscut and the Cumberland Mountain Boys. Glenn Harlow plays the mandolin and does vocals. Playing and singing since early childhood, he learned to sing gospel music from his mother and father. He is a studio musician and a veteran of many Mountain Empire bluegrass and acoustic groups. Kevin Jackson does the fiddling for the group. From Bristol, Kevin is well known to Carter Fold audiences. One of the area’s finest fiddlers, Kevin knows how to keep the audience on the dance floor. He’ll also be helping out on vocals.

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Fast Train. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. Fast Train has performed on the Pickin’ Porch, Song of the Mountains, at the Renaissance Center, the Carter Fold, and at many other bluegrass venues. For an unforgettable evening of good bluegrass, don’t miss Fast Train at the Carter Family Fold!

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

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

Tags: Fast TrainCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

MerleFest Adds More Artists to 2016 Lineup

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 22:49

Wilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 28-May 1, 2016, is proud to announce four more additions to the 2016 lineup: Brandi Carlile, Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush Band and Jim Lauderdale. These artists join over 100 other artists already announced, including John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dave Rawlings Machine, The Wood Brothers, Alison Brown, Peter Rowan, Doug Seegers, Steep Canyon Rangers and more! The four-day event, the largest roots and Americana music festival in the nation, takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the heart of Appalachia. MerleFest continues the legacy of Doc Watson and is a benefit for the college. This homecoming of roots music artists and fans draws nearly 80,000 participants every year.

Brandi Carlile – She may come from tiny Ravensdale, Washington, but 2015 has shown that singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile is one of the biggest stars of Americana today. Her new album, “The Firewatcher’s Daughter,” was a hit on radio, ranking No. 3 on the Americana Music Association’s Top 10 albums of the year by airplay. The album was a critical hit as well, picking up Carlile’s first Grammy award nomination. Carlile toured hard in 2015, selling out shows at historic venues like Red Rocks and Radio City Music Hall and performing on one of David Letterman’s last shows with The Avett Brothers. For Letterman, she sang the Carter Family’s “Keep on the Sunny Side,” and in her many interviews she has spoken to the influence that early country music and Patsy Cline had on her. An Americana star that stays true to her roots, this will be Brandi Carlile’s first appearance at MerleFest.

Tim O’Brien - It has been four years since bluegrass and Americana icon Tim O’Brien’s last solo recording. Between collaborations with Darrell Scott, Hot Rize and recent Grammy winners The Earls of Leicester, he has barely had time for a shower. Still, somewhere in O'Brien's vivid imagination, the seeds of his new album "Pompadour" began to sprout. "Pompadour" swirls together bits of bluegrass, deep-roots Appalachian music, field hollers, old-school rock 'n' roll and even James Brownian funk. MerleFest is proud to welcome back longtime MerleFest performer Tim O’Brien.

Sam Bush Band - Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush does not seem old enough to be a musical legend. And he is not. But he is. He has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association. “It’s overwhelming and humbling,” Bush says of his lifetime achievement award from the AMA. “I love to play and the older I get the more I love it. And I love new things.” Bush has helped to expand the horizons of bluegrass music, fusing it with jazz, rock, blues, funk and other styles. A MerleFest fan favorite, Sam Bush will return to the festival in 2016.

Jim Lauderdale - A two-time Grammy Award-winning musician, Jim Lauderdale is one of the most respected artists in the bluegrass, country and Americana music communities. He is considered one of Nashville’s “A” list of songwriters, with songs recorded by artists like Patty Loveless, Shelby Lynne, The Dixie Chicks and George Strait. Lauderdale has always stayed true to his North Carolina roots and has helped pave the way for the current Americana movement, writing and recording songs that cross genres at will. Jim Lauderdale is a key part of the MerleFest experience.

As well as additions to the lineup, MerleFest is proud to announce that acclaimed Americana singer Nicki Bluhm will join The Waybacks as lead singer for the Hillside Album Hour performance at MerleFest 2016. Each year, roots rockers The Waybacks choose a seminal album to cover in full at the Hillside Album Hour, inviting a special guest to the be the “voice” of the album. Three years of new experiences and nearly non-stop roadwork has had a powerful effect on Nicki Bluhm, spurring creative growth and personal reflection. With her new album, “Loved Wild Lost,” Bluhm affirms her place in the long winding continuum of the California sound, born of folk, rock, country, psychedelia, blues and pop, as ageless, adventurous and ever-adaptive as the Golden State itself.

MerleFest has announced over 100 artists so far, and there are additional performers to be announced in the coming months. The 2016 lineup so far is available online at

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. A three-tiered pricing structure is offered for MerleFest 2016. The Early Bird Tier 1 ticket discount is available through February 15, 2016. An Early Bird Tier 2 ticket discount will run from February 16, 2016, through April 27, 2016. The third price tier will be gate pricing.

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.

“We keep Doc Watson’s ‘traditional plus’ spirit alive each year at MerleFest by inviting artists who will showcase a wide variety of music from multiple genres,” said Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “As in years past, the lineup will continue to develop in the coming months. MerleFest fans have grown accustomed to the special ‘moments’ that organizers plan each year. And the possibility for ‘spontaneous special moments’ is highly likely given the combination of artists that are known to pull together onstage jams at MerleFest.”

“As MerleFest fans have learned, we release up-to-the-minute lineup additions and other festival news through our social media platforms; so staying in touch with us via our electronic newsletter, website (, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is crucial,” Johnson adds.

"We take pride in always presenting a lineup that is dynamic and diverse,” says Ted Hagaman, festival director. “It’s the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the four days of the festival that, in turn, creates another important element of MerleFest’s success: people truly feel that the festival is a great value. So many music fans and families return year after year, making MerleFest a regular spring tradition. We will always work to make that tradition continue.”

Tags: MerlefestMusic FestivalLineupEventSam Bush BandTim O'BrienJim Lauderdale