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Found: The Story Behind the Song

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 23:01
This Able Veteran is a program that provides service dogs to our veterans in need. Primarily PTSD service dog training and then providing the dogs as needed. This Able Veteran program is the focus on the song "Found" by The Bankesters. In the video below, the band talks about the program and the song.

The new video called "Found - the story behind the song" is both a behind the scenes peak at The Bankesters' upcoming music video as well as the story behind it's writing and the organization This Able Veteran that the song was originally written for. Here's a link. If you want anymore background or anything, please let me know!

“This talented family band from Illinois has successfully navigated the most difficult hurdle facing groups of this kind: growing from a ‘cute kid’ act to a serious collection of young adult musicians,” says John Lawless of Bluegrass Today. In a short amount of time they have developed a unique sound that has drawn critical acclaim from across the bluegrass community. In 2012, Emily Bankester was also awarded the first International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Award for Vocalist of the Year.

Music has always been a family affair for the Bankesters and as the children grew and matured, so did the band. “As dad, I’d been leading the band, but I've been trying over the last 2 to 3 years to step back from running everything,” says Phil Bankester. “Everybody gives their input.” Love Has Wheels is all collaboration - from song selection to who sings each part on each track.

The family band has always possessed a genetic magic, gifting its members with a mysterious psychic connection and powerful vocal blend. A.P., Sarah and Maybelle Carter, the founding family of country music, had a profound impact in music through their tight mountain-gospel harmonies and signature sound, carried forward in the bluegrass-country-gospel music of the Marshall Family Band and later the Cox Family and continued more recently by The Whites who performed on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Love Has Wheels is an album infused with the same familial magic and appeal and places the Southern Illinois-based Bankesters next in line to carry on that family bluegrass band legacy. The new video called

Tags: The BankesterssingleFoundCharityThis Able VeteranVideo

Kickstart Carter Family Fold 40th Anniversary TV Special

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:57
On Monday July 28, 2014, a new Kickstarter crowdsource funding campaign will launch to fund the production of a half-hour television special celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Carter Fold located in Hiltons, VA - a rural non-profit music venue created to honor the musical heritage of the Carter Family - widely recognized as the First Family of Country Music. The campaign ends Tuesday August 26, 2014. The Kickstarter campaing needs fan support to get going.

Before he died in November 1960, A.P. Carter, the patriarch of the famous Carter Family, known for pioneering many of the musical styles popular in today's Country, Americana, Folk and even Rock music genres, asked granddaughter Janette Carter to do all she could to see that the Carter Family's music was never forgotten. In 1974, Janette created a festival dedicated to the groundbreaking music of A.P., Maybelle and Sara Carter. The stage for that first festival was the flatbed of an 18-wheel truck on loan from the National Guard. After the festival, Janette began presenting shows of acoustic-only old time and bluegrass music in the grocery her Dad ran in the '40s and '50s. The shows quickly outgrew the one­room structure. In 1976, Janette - along with her siblings Joe and Gladys - built the Carter Family Fold which has hosted locals and travelers from around the world every Saturday night for the past 40 years dancing to the music of popular old time and bluegrass bands.

"The Carter Fold is a national treasure that preserves the deep historical significance of the Carter Family and their monumental impact en multiple music genres still heard in the songs we enjoy teday,' says ­"40th Anniversary TV Special" Executive Producer Ken White. "Even with regular packed houses, running a non-profit and meeting the bills is a constant challenge. This television special will bring awareness to the venue to help ensure The Carter Fold sees another 40 years and beyond."

Kickstarter is a leading crowdsource funding platform source. Crowdsource funding is the collection of finances from backers-the "crowd"-to fund an initiative and usually occurs on Internet platforms. Kickstarter's projects range from films, games, and music to art,·design, and technology. Since its launch in 2009, 6.3 million people have pledged $1 billion, funding 62,000 creative projects on Kickstarter.

Those wishing to fund a project can do so at various levels, beginning as low as one dollar, and receive rewards for their financial contribution. Typical rewards include t-shirts, posters, and copies of the item produced by the project. For campaign details or to contribute to "The Carter Fold 40th Anniversary TV Special" project that will increase public awareness of the venue nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carterfold40th/the-carter-family-fo... for all the details.

In 1974, Janette Carter began to fulfill a promise she made to her father A.P. Carter. That year, Janette produced a music festival dedicated to her father’s work and the preservation of the music he pioneered. That first festival took place on an 18-wheel truck on loan from the National Guard.

This first festival gave birth to regular acoustic-only shows in the grocery store Janette’s father ran in the 40s and 50s. In 1976, Janette – with the help of her siblings Joe and Gladys – built the Carter Family Fold. Today, “The Fold” stands at the forefront of preserving Old-Time or “mountain music,” traditional Country and Bluegrass music. A.P., Sarah and Maybelle are widely recognized as the First-Family of Country Music thanks in part to the famous Bristol Sessions. Future generations have gone on to achieve admirable works.

Probably the best known Carter to modern audiences is June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash. Rita Forrester, granddaughter of A.P. Carter, tirelessly presides over The Carter Family Fold today as Executive Director. This proposed “Carter Family Fold 40th Anniversary” television special celebrates the family, the venue and the local community who keep "The Fold" running. The following videos provide more background into one of America’s most talented, inspiring families.

Tags: Carter Family Fold40th AnniversaryKickstarterBroadcastEvent

Who is in Charge of Your Band's PR?

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:54

We have a band, also referred to as the artist, their management, the record label and the press/media agent and maybe some others. All send Public Relations (PR) and promotional material to various organizations for publication or broadcast. It is great to have all these people working to promote the artist. But, what happens if they get out of sync? What happens if they don't communicate with each other? What happens when it all goes wrong?

is not unusual that I receive the exact same press release for a new release, festival lineup, charity role or tour from multiple press agencies all at the same time. This is totally acceptable and is certainly better than not receiving any. It is easy to scan them for the best photo or possibly links to additional information so multiple copies are always welcome. If they are all different, it is actually easier to create a unique story from them. Usually there are no more than three verbatim copies.

Another scenario is when the band, their label, their publicity agent and possibly their management all send significantly different releases relating to a single event. All of these are totally different and may contain links to multi-media, social media sites and other important yet differing content. As a user of this information, I try and integrate pieces from each of these into the article that gets published. Usually this isn't a problem but, with four different sources and each believing they are in control, problems do arise.

I frequently get a call from one of the four press release suppliers demanding that I remove content that another person in charge sent because they wanted it included. At this point, chaos breaks out. The four parties obviously never communicated as a team on what they wanted released. The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. In some cases, the left hand didn't even know there was a right hand! If one party sends something that another party doesn't like, it isn't the fault of the person who sent the undesired content, it instantly becomes the fault of the person who published it. Keep in mind that what was published is content which was sent for publication by an authorized member of the artist's team. It was not something conjured up by the publishing or broadcasting agency ultimately blamed for its public release.

How many times have I heard one of the four members tell me that the other three are not in charge only to get a call a few minutes later from another member telling me that they are and that the first person who called me was wrong. It happens at least once a month. It is not an isolated incident here or there. It is common practice. It is also never the fault of any of the four outlets that I receive bad information from. It is always the publisher's fault for receiving the information, failing to read the minds of the other three PR members and ultimately for publishing content that the publisher was requested to publish.

Awards, festivals and other events not related directly to new releases are always a challenge. We had a festival state that a top artist was a confirmed headliner for their event. They had posters printed, banners being run and a full on publicity campaign running. They issued multiple press releases about their event and their confirmed headline artist. We ran an article on the event as our headline article for the day. Within hours, the artist's management called and emailed us to inform us that their artist was NOT performing at the event. They demanded we retract the story. They claimed there were no booking contracts signed and the artist didn't even know about it. I contacted the producers of the event who informed me they had signed contracts through the booking agent -- not the same people as the artist's management. The artist's management adamantly denied any such document existed and, in fact, the artist would be performing at some other venue in a different state on the specified date.

We gambled and ran with the story because the date and venue were on the artist's website and the talent buyer had signed contracts. Two months later, we received a press release from the artist's management announcing the artist was going to be headlining the festival. I promptly returned that manager's lies and hate emails back to them and asked they why they lied to me? They never answered and, shortly after, the artist soon announced they were under new management.

We had a case where an artist announced they were joining a popular band. The artist sent out his own press release. The first commmunication to us was demanding to know how we knew this. The band was upset in that they wanted to be the source of the initial announcement. The problem was made worse because the artist had also announced his move via all the social network sites so, it wasn't really a secret or a major news flash. We ran with it. The band was upset. The management was at a loss what to do and requested we pull the story. While it all worked out in the end, the entire situation could have been avoided by prior communication throughout the band, management, press agent and the new artist.

Complaints always occur after publication because the party creating and releasing the questionable press release failed to send it to the other members of the team -- only to the publication and broadcast companies. Once the cat is out of the bag, it is difficult, if not impossible, to put it back in. Copies and virtual copies exist everywhere. Social Media links by others cannot be edited by us. RSS feed content, Internet archives, syndicated users, and other copies exist all over the world-wide-web. Then there are people who use our content and rewrite it for their own content further spreading the news.

All do this with good intentions. But, requesting us to pull something results in all of our competitors continuing to carry the information. We end up being penalized by publishing content from an authorized source and then having to retract it. Our competitors love this as they don't receive requests to pull content that they received from us. They win - we lose. While pulling it is the right thing to do, all of the agony and animosity could have easily been eliminated entirely by simple communication between the various PR members.

How does a publisher avoid being the target in a PR superiority contest? The best option would be if there was one and only one person in charge. While many artists have such a plan in place, the sad reality is that scenario isn't done by all. One way we could eliminate the problem is to contact all the team members prior to publication of any article to get their prior approval. Of course, doing so means all content would be published weeks late or possibly never at all. We could always wait to see what our competitors do and then be last to carry anything by being overly cautious. Or, we run our articles knowing that we are going to upset somebody at least once a month. In nearly 22 years and almost 100,000 articles written or posted, our batting average is pretty good. While we may do an edit here and there, we have had to pull less than a half dozen stories of which half of those were admittedly our own fault.

It is extremely rare that we yank an article once posted. If we received the information from an authorized source, they we feel comfortable with it and its intent is for publication, it may get published. In every case where a PR conflict happened, it was always a case of all the team players not communicating with each other prior to sending us a release for publication. We do not take ownership of their communication issues. I encourage the key stakeholders of the PR process to communicate better among themselves and agree on what message they desire to release prior to releasing anything.

Tags: EditorialOpinionBob CherryMediaPress ReleaseEducation

Australia's The Stetson Family Working on New Album

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:51

You may have noticed that The Stetson Family have been a bit thin on the ground around Melbourne-town these last couple of months. It’s not that they are finally sick of each other and hung up their boots after six years together – quite the opposite – the band has been busy writing and recording album number three so they can get back out there and hit the road again together with some new toons.

The band says, "Recording with Colin Wynne at Thirty Mill is such a delight, and we’re just waiting for our gallivanting banjo player, Swanny, to get back from his annual family jaunt to Croatia to get back in there and finish it off."

Their newsletter says, "In the meantime (don’t tell Swanny) but we’ve got the delightful Sydney banjo gal, Jenny Shimmin, coming up to play with us in northern New South Wales for the inaugural Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival (Sat 2 August). Bangalow is one of the most beautiful country towns you’ll ever see, where a few folk have got their heads together to put on a festival to raise some much-needed funds for local arts and education projects. We’ll also have another special guest that weekend, multi-instrumentalist, Nick O’Mara, (or Sparkle Pony, as we like to call him) joining us on mandolin while our wee Andy’s on the bench again."

Continuing, "Then we hightail it back to Beechworth, Victoria, just in time for the 16th annual Kelly Country Pick (Fri 15 - Sun 17 August). We’ve got shows every day (see program) and we’re also doing a harmony workshop, so if you want to come sing with us, all you’ve got to do is get out of bed on Saturday morning and bring your voices to the Old Priory and sing out loud and strong! Man-about-town Pete Fidler will be playing up a mando storm with us for these shows."

Last year was the band's formal introduction to the United States audiences. A year ago the family headed to Nashville for a whirlwind week to present O Winding River at the International Bluegrass Music Association songwriter showcase. They said, "We had an amazing time witnessing the 'tradition' of bluegrass in full flight, watching players who had grown up with the music coursing through their veins. We met great people and saw some of the most amazing pickers in the world! At the same time we got to observe the raging debate of 'what is bluegrass today?' This was interesting to us as we've never considered ourselves purely a bluegrass band. We just do what we do and respectfully tip our hats to the genre and hope people like our music."

O Winding River took flight and to the family's great surprise turned up at #5 on the Top 50 Bluegrass/Folk Albums on the Global Radio Indicator Chart. The family discovered it had made the Alternate Roots Chart, making it’s way to #14. Then to our further amazement, we realised it had crossed the Atlantic to the UK and Europe and we were contacted by many stations there including two BBC stations telling us we were on their playlists. Go you good thing!"

Visit the band's website for tour information and how to get your hands on one of their new albums.

Tags: The Stetson FamilyCD ReleaseO Winding RiverAustralia

Nathan Stanley Releases New CD Every Mile

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 22:35

Nashville, TN -- Nathan Stanley, the grandson to Dr. Ralph Stanley, is considered to be the "Prince Of Bluegrass" and releases his latest music endeavor Every Mile. His heart is golden, his voice is pure and his soul has deep roots in the lonesome sod of bluegrass music.

Nathan's latest project boasts a combination of Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, & Country styles and features several collaborations with guest artists. Released on Willow Creek Records, Nathan is joined by long-time friends Vince Gill on "Hand In Hand With Jesus," Jeff & Sheri Easter on "Heart That Will Never Break Again," Sonya Isaacs Yeary & Becky Isaacs Bowman on "I Know Jesus Will See Me Through," T. Graham Brown & Judy Marshall on "Baptism of Jesse Taylor," Jeff Bates & Judy Marshall on "Green Pastures," Wes Hampton on "Every Mile", & Lord You're The Best Thing," Adam Crabb on "Would You Be Ready," and Dr. Ralph Stanley on "You Can't Make Old Friends".

Nathan Stanley has recorded and released seven solo albums, including the 2011 release of "My Kind Of Country". Voted "Classic Country Album Of The Year" by the National Traditional Country Music Association, this project featured Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Stuart, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jim Lauderdale, among many others and released two music videos for "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Long Black Veil".

From his humble beginnings of playing spoons to becoming the lead singer for Dr. Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Nathan continues to showcase his distinctive good looks and charismatic personality while making the music he loves so much. Nathan hosts his own television show, The Nathan Stanley Ministry Show, which airs on Saturday nights on the Living Faith network. He has appeared on numerous television shows including, Bill Gaither's "Bluegrass Homecoming," and "The Late Show" with David Letterman.

Every Mile Track Listing:

  1. "Every Mile"
  2. "Baptism Of Jesse Taylor"
  3. "Heart That Will Never Break Again"
  4. "I Know Jesus Will See Me Through"
  5. "Let Me In Your Heart"
  6. "Green Pastures"
  7. "Piece Of Clay"
  8. "Where No One Stands Alone"
  9. "Hand In Hand With Jesus"
  10. "Where Will You Go"
  11. "Would You Be Ready"
  12. "Lord You're The Best Thing"
  13. "You Can't Make Old Friends"
Tags: Nathan StanleyCD ReleaseEvery Mile

FreshGrass Award Announces All-Star Jury for 2014

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 22:34

North Adams, MA -- Storied bluegrass and roots performers Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters, Leigh and Eric Gibson of The Gibson Brothers, and longtime FreshGrass co-conspirator Alison Brown select the best new acts in banjo, duo, and band competitions as the FreshGrass Award jury during the eponymous festival, September 19-21, 2014, at MASS MoCA.

A highlight of FreshGrass, the museum's fall bluegrass and roots music festival, the Award crowns up-and-coming musicians who offer a fresh take on the genre. The proceedings expand this year from one musical category to three - giving unsigned bands, duos, and banjo players a chance to compete for cash prizes totaling $15,000, recording time at Compass Records' studio in Nashville, and a main stage slot at FreshGrass 2015. The competition takes place during the festival, and contest performances are open to the festival audience.

The jury for the band contest is led by Alison Brown, multi-Grammy winning banjoist and founder of Compass Records, who has blended elements of bluegrass, jazz, and blues throughout her illustrious forty-year career. Presiding over the duo contest are International Bluegrass Music Awards favorites The Gibson Brothers, who are today's foremost torchbearers of the old-time duo, a medium that the FreshGrass Award is honored to usher into the future with them. At the helm for the banjo contest is the shape-shifting Chris Pandolfi, best known as the banjoist in The Infamous Stringdusters but also as an avid collaborator and electronic music experimenter.

"We are thrilled to have this wonderful group representing the mission of the Award and helping FreshGrass handpick the next generation of bluegrass greats," says festival producer Chris Wadsworth. "We've watched the career trajectory of last year's Award winner, Cricket Tell the Weather, and know similar success is in store for more great musicians out there."

FreshGrass is three days of concerts and pop-up performances in the museum's galleries, on its stages, exterior courtyards and its urban concert meadow; music clinics organized by instrument, and insider presentations by players in the bluegrass music trade, as well as a bounty of fresh Berkshire food and spirits, are planned for the weekend festival. The contest, workshops, and camping expand this year, as do luthier demonstrations and children's programming. Admission to MASS MoCA's galleries - where festival-goers find concerts set amidst dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art such as Darren Waterston's Uncertain Beauty - is included in the price of festival admission.

Festival passes are available for $92 for adults, $82 for students, and $48 for kids 7-16, and are free for children 6 and under, making FreshGrass one of the best values on the festival circuit. Early-bird tickets are available until mid-June before increasing to full price. Museum members receive a 10% discount on full-price tickets. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website, FreshGrass.com, and on Facebook at FreshGrass Festival. FreshGrass tickets are general admission, and the festival will be held rain or shine.

MASS MoCA is one of the world's liveliest (and largest!) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time, across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art and shared learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative. MASS MoCA is the home of Solid Sound, Wilco's music and arts festival; the FreshGrass festival of bluegrass and roots music; and the Bang on a Can Festival of contemporary music.

Tags: FreshGrassMASS MoCAJuryChris PandolfiAlison BrownLeigh and Eric Gibson

MTSU Center for Popular Music Acquires Spring Fed Records

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 22:32

The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University has acquired the renowned Spring Fed Records from the Arts Center of Cannon County. The Arts Center has donated the Grammy-winning label’s name and rights and sold its existing inventory to MTSU, said Dr. Greg Reish, the Center for Popular Music’s new director. Founded in 2002, Spring Fed Records is devoted to issuing unique and historically significant recordings of traditional Southern music, including old-time country, blues and gospel. Among its featured titles are music by Uncle Dave Macon, Sam and Kirk McGee, The Fairfield Four, Frazier Moss and Mississippi John Hurt.

Spring Fed’s compilation of field recordings by pioneering African-American folklorist John Work III won a Grammy in 2008 for its liner notes by former CPM staffer Bruce Nemerov. The label established a strong partnership with MTSU and the Center for Popular Music from its inception with contributions from Nemerov, former CPM director Paul Wells and the late Dr. Charles Wolfe, a venerated scholar of traditional music. “Spring Fed’s regional emphasis on traditional music fits well with the CPM’s mission and will allow us to explore even further the vast repository of historically and culturally significant recordings in the CPM archive,” Reish said.

The Center for Popular Music is affiliated with MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and is housed in the Bragg Mass Communication Building on campus. Production and marketing of new Spring Fed releases will also work in cooperation with the College of Mass Communication’s highly regarded Department of Recording Industry program, giving students the opportunity to work in a specialized sector of the business.

Beverly Keel, recording industry department chair, said the acquisition is “a wonderful opportunity both for the music of Spring Fed Records and for MTSU, which has one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious music business programs and the highly esteemed Center for Popular Music. “Our students will get a chance to gain real-world experience by promoting this music and scholars everywhere will have the opportunity to study the history of Spring Fed at MTSU.”

Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, added that the addition of “Spring Fed Records gives MTSU an extraordinary opportunity to use the recordings of the past to enhance the college’s future. The label adds a new dimension to our educational opportunities and underscores the pivotal role the Center for Popular Music plays in the College of Mass Communication.”

Spring Fed will be housed in the Center for Popular Music, and CPM staffer John Fabke will manage its day-to-day operations. A new marketing and sales structure, including a new website, will roll out soon. The Spring Fed catalog is distributed by City Hall Records of San Rafael, California. Selected titles are also available as digital downloads from Amazon.com, iTunes and CD Baby.

The Center for Popular Music at MTSU is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, MTSU’s CPM maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu.

Tags: MTSUMiddle Tennessee State UniversitySpring Fed Records

Jason Burleson Recovering Well in France

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 22:15

Le Puy, France -- Powerhouse Bluegrass group Blue Highway is currently in France for a two-week tour with stops at the Country Rendezvous Festival in Craponne and the La Roche Bluegrass Festival in La Roche. Following a high octane first night's performance by the band, reflecting their energized current #1 album "The Game," Blue Highway's heralded banjo player and vocalist Jason Burleson awoke ill this morning with what has been diagnosed by physicians in Le Puy as a stomach ulcer.

Blue Highway's Rob Ickes writes this update from France:

"We just got back from visiting Jason, and he is doing much better! The doctors think he had a stomach ulcer after being on an anti-inflammatory medication from an elbow issue he's been dealing with for a week or so. Jason woke up violently ill early this morning and was taken to the hospital, thankfully right around the corner form our hotel. They quickly stopped the bleeding, and he appears to be mending quickly! Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers! Jason and his family -- and everyone in our Blue Highway family -- truly appreciate your support!"

Rob additionally relayed that Jason should just need a few days to get his strength back, but in the meantime, concerts continue in France for Blue Highway featuring the remainder of the award-winning band members including Rob Ickes, Tim Stafford, Wayne Taylor and Shawn Lane.

Blue Highway appeared this weekend at the Country Rendezvous Festival in Craponne, and will appear at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival in La Roche on August 1-2, 2014.

For more information on the festivals at which Blue Highway will appear in France, please visit: http://festivaldecraponne.com/ and http://www.larochebluegrass.fr/

For more info on Blue Highway, please go to: www.BlueHighwayBand.com.

For daily news and photos of Blue Highway, please visit the band on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/BlueHighway.

Tags: Jason BurlesonBlue HighwayHealthMedicalTour

Corbin Hayslett Wins Orthophonic Joy Music Contest

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 22:13

Bristol, VA/TN -- Birthplace of Country Music surprised a student on the campus of Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, VA Thursday when, in front of an auditorium filled with people, they announced the winner of the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest was seated among them. Corbin Hayslett, a student at the University of Virginia's College at Wise and an instructor at MECC's Mountain Music School, was attending the summer program's Master Musician's concert in the Goodloe Auditorium when BCM executive director Leah Ross called him to the stage. As Hayslett accepted his award, the room burst into applause.

For the past several weeks Birthplace of Country Music's Facebook page has been buzzing with activity. Musicians from all over the country have been posting dozens of music videos, all entries for the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest.

The contest was a search to find one artist or band to join Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, a reimagining of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions, the groundbreaking recordings that continue to inspire artists around the world.

Set for release in October, Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited features entertainment legend Dolly Parton, as well as country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and Ashley Monroe. The recording project includes 16 of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions. As Grand Prize winner of the contest, Hayslett, will travel to Nashville to record with the project's Grammy Award-winning Nashville producer, Carl Jackson (Mark Twain: Words & Music) to record the final track on the CD.

Part of the Grand Prize package also includes performance slots at the Grand Opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Aug. 2) and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (Sept. 19-21), and an appearance on Nashville's famed live music variety show Music City Roots.

"Picking the finalists and the eventual winner of the contest was one of the most difficult things I've every been involved with," said Jackson. "There were so many wonderful entries and there is no doubt that legitimate arguments can be made for 'winners' well beyond the five finalists. However, when the other judges and I were narrowing things down, we just kept coming back to Corbin Hayslett and his version of 'Darlin' Cora.' He is just the real deal and if you can listen to him without a smile on your face, you are much stronger than I am!"

Jackson wasn't the only one smiling. A team of expert singer/songwriters including Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Salley and Larry Cordle-who just happens to be one of Hayslett's long-time heroes, judged the contest with Jackson and the album's executive producer Rusty Morrell, who is a Grammy-nominated songwriter in his own right.

A prodigious musician and instructor of banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and upright bass at Juste Music in Norton, VA, Corbin Hayslett is also no stranger to Bristol. For the past two years he has performed at Bristol Rhythym & Roots Reunion as part of the trio Mis'ry Creek, a progressive acoustic trio he formed with fellow music instructor Chris Rose and Mountain Music School student, J.P. Stallard. His Grand Prize-winning rendition of "Darlin' Cora," and the video of his reaction to achieving the award, can be viewed on Birthplace of Country Music's Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/BirthplaceofCountryMusic.

When asked what track Hayslett would record for Orthophonic Joy, Jackson stated, "I plan on recording 'Darlin' Cora' on Corbin for the project because it has not already been recorded by another artist, it's a classic song that I wanted to include anyway, and the sheer 'Orthophonic Joy' of his performance cannot be denied!"

Earlier this week BCM announced singer/songwriter and Pound, VA native Reagan Boggs had been voted fan favorite, garnering the most "likes" from the online community.

"Though our organization played no part in the judging process," stated BCM executive director Leah Ross, "we are very pleased that two of our locals took home the Grand Prize and Facebook Fan Favorite. It's truly a testament to the amount of talent that flourishes in this region."

Mountain Music School is a unique summer camp located on the campus of MECC and is designed to offer students age 10 or older to experience traditional Appalachian old-time music.

The Orthophonic Joy Music Contest and CD project is made possible through a partnership with Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol TN/VA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and Virginia Tourism Corporation.

For a complete list of contest rules and more information on the Birthplace of Country Music, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.

Tags: Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions RevisitedOrthophonic JoyContestCorbin Hayslett

Banjo Tribute Kicks Off 5th Annual Rhythm & Roots Run

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 22:10

Banjo player? Musician? Runner? Join us for another great 5K Walk/Run and 10K Run as we celebrate our 5th year for this event and the grand opening of the Earl Scruggs Center. Runner’s World Says This is a Run NOT to Miss! Runner’s World listed the Rhythm & Roots Run as one of 18 5Ks that are “awesomely unique”. Join us to find out why!

Musical heritage and a banjo tribute at the start. Race participants enjoy even more live music along the route, free admission to the Earl Scruggs Center, and really neat prizes! Wiregrass band and any banjo players that want to join in play "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" as the runner's take off across the start line.

Want to play? Banjo players should arrive by 8:00 a.m. and sign in. Race begins at 8:30 a.m. Banjo players that are signed in will receive a complimentary admission to the Earl Scruggs Center. Walk, run, play banjo and bring a friend!

Want to Run? Register on our website. Early registration discounts available.

Tags: Rhythm & Roots RunEarl Scruggs CenterEventBenefit

"Standing Tall and Tough" by Crowe, Lawson & Williams Available

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 23:13

A great new album is out from three top bluegrass artists - J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams. These friends have put together another album following their Old Friends Get Together release from four years ago.

Standing Tall and Tough the newest CD from these three great artists is now available. You can get it on the Doyle Lawson website, Doyle/lawson.com. The album contains 12 tracks of great bluegrass music. The album has an official release date of August 19, 2014.

Doyle commented saying, "It really is hard to believe that it's 35 years later and I'm running full steam as DL&Q. I had no idea how long it would last or if it would even get off the ground at all. I remember telling Jimmy, Lou and Terry that I wanted a group that could do more than one thing in music. If we wanted to do contemporary bluegrass, good. If we wanted to do smack down hard driving traditional bluegrass, YES!! And I wanted to have a quartet similar to what my dad sang in when I was growing up."

He continues with "I believe that was the key to longevity for DL&Q and I still feel that is the way for me to present music. I want to give a huge thank you to Jimmy Haley, Lou Reid and Terry Baucom because they understood where I was coming from and hopped aboard and away we went full speed."

Doyle says, "So many great musicians have passed through and I thank each one one for their contribution and interpretation of what I heard in my head regarding the music. Folks ask me all the time how I've managed to keep the DL&Q sound pretty much intact. The folks that come in to fill the position have to change and adapt for me. My first boss said it best, " If I let everyone who comes to work play whatever, pretty soon I'd be just a guitar picker up there with a bunch of guys and no direction". I am quick to tell anyone who comes here that I wouldn't ask him to sing or play something if I didn't think they could."

Doyles closes with, "Thank you friends, fans, promoters and record companies for allowing me to continue to follow my dream.
Blessings,
Doyle"

Standing Tall and Tough Track List:

  1. "My Walking Shoes"
  2. "Blue Memories"
  3. "Do You Live What You Preach"
  4. "The Hills Of Roane County"
  5. "Don't Laugh"
  6. "Little Angel In Heaven"
  7. "Standing Tall & Tough"
  8. "Insured Beyond The Grave"
  9. "Fraulein"
  10. "Pretending I Don't Care"
  11. "Once A Day"
  12. "Those Gone and Left Me Blues"

With nearly 40 albums to their credit, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA Award nominations, and are 7-time winners of IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year. Lawson is reigning SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are the reigning Inspirational Country Music Association (ICM) Vocal Group of the Year, crowned in October 2012 at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, on the heels of Lawson’s induction into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

He continues with

Tags: J.D. CroweDoyle LawsonPaul WilliamsCD ReleaseStanding Tall and Tough

Mike Barnett to Release Solo Album ‘One Song Romance’

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 23:09

Nashville, TN -- From a young age, Mike Barnett has made his mark on the bluegrass world as an extremely talented fiddler. He has toured as a member of Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, the David Grisman Sextet and the progressive bluegrass quintet, The Deadly Gentleman, which he co-founded. With the release of his debut solo project, One Song Romance, Barnett is poised to establish himself as a solo artist with a broad and engaging musical vision that reaches from bluegrass into acoustic jazz and beyond.

Barnett penned all of the music on the twelve-track album which showcases his vocal abilities as well as his virtuosic fiddle technique. The tracks moves from slick bluegrass fiddling ("More Strangs") through Celtic ("Change Her Mind"), swing ("Dig, Dig, Dig") and neo-grass on the album's opener "It'll Be All Right." Special guests and collaborators include Aoife O'Donovan, Tim O'Brien, Noam Pikelny, David Grier, Dominick Leslie, Chris Eldridge and more.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Barnett began studying the fiddle at age 10 and by age 15 was touring with the legendary "Mr. Mandolin" Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, playing regular weekend performances on the Grand Ole Opry. That same year, at age 15, he became the youngest instructor ever to teach at the fiddle school at Vanderbilt University.

Barnett later relocated to the Northeast where he has built his profile touring and recording with Jonathan Edwards, Tony Trishcka and Gordon Stone. In 2010 Barnett and banjoist Greg Liszt co-founded The Deadly Gentlemen, a progressive bluegrass outfit that allowed Mike the space to push the limits of traditional fiddle playing and incorporate new influences into his constantly evolving style. After four years with the group, Barnett will now focus on exploring his solo career path.

Compass Records has been described by Billboard Magazine as "one of the leading independent labels." The label group is home to more than 500 releases across the Compass Records, Green Linnet and Mulligan Records imprints with a roster that boasts a variety of artists including Mike Farris, John Cowan, The Duhks, Justin Currie, David Mayfield, Luka Bloom, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Colin Hay, A.J. Croce, Victor Wooten, Claire Lynch, The Farewell Drifters, Darden Smith, BeauSoleil, Jim Oblon, Special Consensus and label co-founder Alison Brown. For more information, visit www.compassrecords.com

Tags: Mike BarnettCD ReleaseOne Song RomanceFiddle

The Duhks Join FreshGrass Lineup, Daily Lineups Announced

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 23:07

North Adams, MA -- FreshGrass, MASS MoCA's annual bluegrass and roots festival, is famous for its lineup, its workshop programs in conjunction with The Berklee College of Music, its urban setting nestled in the bucolic Berkshire mountains - and infamous for its late-night, moonshine slushies-fueled parties that close out the first two nights of music. This year, Canadian fusion-folk stars The Duhks plan to raise the roof when they play the late show on opening night. The festival just released its day-by-day lineup for September 19-21, 2014.

One of the most musically adventurous bands in the bluegrass scene, The Duhks draw on musical traditions ranging from northern roots to southern gospel to Cajun zydeco. No less than bluegrass legend (and FreshGrass 2014 performer) Béla Fleck produced the Duhks' Juno award-winning album. The band's modern bluegrass sound is reminiscent of Nickel Creek and Yonder Mountain String Band - though utterly their own. The Boston Globe says of The Duhks,"Canada's premier neo-tradsters romp from world-beat to blues, urban-pop to old-timey, with wild-eyed invention, haunting traditionalism, and spine-rattling groove."

FreshGrass gates open at 6pm on Friday, September 19, with Cricket Tell the Weather, Aoife O'Donovan, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Duhks on the evening's bill.

On Saturday, September 20, gates open at 10:30am. The Novel Ideas, Valerie June, Claire Lynch, Rodney Crowell, Alison Brown, Haas Kowert Tice, The Gibson Brothers, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Darol Anger, Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, and The Infamous Stringdusters are slated to play.

It's another full day of music when gates open at 10:30am on Sunday, September 21, for The Salvation Alley String Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Sam Amidon, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Liam Ó Maonlaí, The David Grisman Sextet, Martha Redbone Roots Project, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and Emmylou Harris.

The FreshGrass Award, a competition for musical discoveries in three categories - Best Band, Best Duo, and Best Banjo - takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Any unsigned acts are welcome to submit to the contest before its August 5 deadline. Contest performances, judged by an all-star panel of Eric and Leigh Gibson of The Gibson Brothers, Chris Pandolfi, and Alison Brown, are open to the festival audience.

Three days of concerts and pop-up performances in the museum's indoor galleries, stages, and outdoor concert courtyards; music clinics organized by instrument; and insider presentations by players in the bluegrass music trade, as well as a bounty of Berkshire fresh food and spirits, are planned for the weekend festival. The contest, workshops, and camping expand this year, as do luthier demonstrations and children's programming. Admission to MASS MoCA's galleries - where festival-goers find concerts set amidst dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art such as Darren Waterston's Uncertain Beauty - is included in the price of festival admission.

Festival passes are $92 for adults, $82 for students, $48 for kids 7-16, and free for children 6 and under, making FreshGrass one of the best values on the festival circuit. Museum members receive a 10% discount on full-price tickets. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website, FreshGrass.com, and on Facebook at FreshGrass Festival. FreshGrass tickets are general admission, and the festival will be held rain or shine.

Tags: FreshGrassLineupThe DuhksBluegrass FestivalEvent

Ralph Stanley Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 22:23

Nashville -- Trailblazing musician Ralph Stanley has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in a class that also includes actor and director Al Pacino, novelists John Irving and Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and oceanographer and discoverer of the Titanic, Robert Ballard, among others.

In May, Stanley was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Yale University. It was his second such distinction, the first having been conferred in 1976 by Lincoln Memorial University.

Stanley will be inducted formally into the Academy at its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Oct. 11. The Academy was founded in 1780 to recognize America’s foremost “thinkers and doers.” Among its past members are George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Martin Luther King Jr. Current members include more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize-winners.

Recognized as the leading exponent of traditional Appalachian music and a founding father of bluegrass, Stanley has spread his sound around the world during his 68 years of touring and recording. He began his career in 1946 as the younger half of the Stanley Brothers, a group then headed by singer-songwriter Carter Stanley. The Stanley Brothers performed, recorded and appeared on television together until Carter’s death in 1966.

In the years following, Stanley built and led a band that at various times featured such rising talents as Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks and Charlie Sizemore. So significant was the Stanley sound in the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? that Ralph rocketed from icon to superstar. He was profiled by novelist David Gates in The New Yorker and went on to earn a Grammy as top male country music vocalist, edging out Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Lyle Lovett. To date, he has won three Grammys.

Stanley’s high, forlorn vocals are featured in the seven-million-selling O Brother soundtrack album. In addition, he was the first performer to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in the 21st Century. He is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

Tags: Ralph StanleyDr. Ralph StanleyAwardAmerican Academy of Arts & Sciences

Final Nominees For IBMA Awards to be Announced at Aug 13

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 22:21

Nashville, TN -- Bluegrass fans all over the globe can watch live as the final nominees for the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards are announced on Wednesday, August 13 at 4:45 pm Central/5:45 pm Eastern; for the fourth year in a row, Music City Roots (MCR) will broadcast the nomination press conference live at www.MusicCityRoots.com, from Liberty Hall in The Factory at Franklin (230 Franklin Road) in Franklin, Tennessee.

Celebrated bluegrass artists/songwriters Sam Bush and Jim Lauderdale will host the Aug. 13 nominations press conference, which is free and open to the public. Separate admission is required for Music City Roots’ Wednesday show, which will feature Sam Bush, Balsam Range, Detour, and Becky Buller. The regularly scheduled Music City Roots show will take place after the press conference at 7:00 pm Central. For ticket information, visit the MCR’s website.

Like last year, bluegrass supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina – host city for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, Sept. 30 – October 4 – have the opportunity to watch the live August 13 nominations broadcast with fellow music fans at a “viewing party” at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 West Jones Street) in downtown Raleigh. The viewing party is free and open to the public, but free tickets are required – visit pinecone.org for details. North Carolina bluegrass band Diamond Creek will perform in the Daily Planet Café after the final nominees are announced.

Subscribers to SiriusXM can also listen to the August 13 press conference live on the Bluegrass Junction channel, with coverage starting at 4:45 pm Central/5:45 pm Eastern.

The International Bluegrass Music Awards will take place in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium (in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts) at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, October 2. Grammy-winning country vocalistLee Ann Womack and Grammy-winning musician Jerry Douglas have been tapped to host the Awards show.

The IBMA Awards is part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming. The event consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2; the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2; Wide Open Bluegrass, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Tickets for the Award Show, as well as for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservations – along with additional details and pricing information – are available through IBMA’s website, ibma.org.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

Tags: IBMA Awards ShowNominationInternational Bluegrass Music AwardsInternational Bluegrass Music AssociationAwards

James Reams & The Barnstormers Release Full Length Video

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 22:19
James Reams & The Barnstormers just released their first full length music video featuring the song “Almost Hear the Blues” which charted nationally. The video is a collaborative effort between James Reams and filmmaker, Rick Bowman of Backyard Green Films. According to James, “Stonewall Jackson wrote this song and sang it to me over the telephone. It conjured up such vivid pictures in my head that I knew one day I’d have to make it into a video.”

The video tells the story of a man who sought perfection in love and ended up alone. As James plaintively sings this emotional song, we see him remembering happier times dancing with his sweetheart to this same tune as kids. He returns to the holler where they once lived and finds their cabin locked up, just like his heart. It isn’t until she’s actually gone that he’s able to let go of the idea of the perfect woman and go after her.

“Almost Hear the Blues” is included on James Reams & The Barnstormers’ 8th CD entitled One Foot in the Honky Tonk released in 2011. This CD made two Top Ten CDs of 2011 lists. Here’s what one reviewer had to say: “A wonderful bluegrass album that is just waiting for more of us to discover. As he has consistently done, within this new volume James Reams’ life experiences and those of his ancestors permeate the songs — whether he wrote them or not — not just lending them authenticity but ensuring they are authentic.

There are few bluegrass singers who match the lithe and masculine timbre Reams brings to the songs he is called to perform. With One Foot in the Honky Tonk, James Reams further defines his bluegrass, blending the varied elements of the roadhouse with sounds from the hills of Kentucky and her neighbors. One foot in the honky-tonk indeed, but the rest of the Barnstormers’ bodies and their souls are deep in the bluegrass.”

James Reams & The Barnstormers is abluegrass band that was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002 as Emerging Artist of the Year, James Reams & The Barnstormers provide a contemporary take on traditional bluegrass; blending it with innovation and vitality to create their own branch on the “roots” tree. In a review of an early album by James Reams, fRoots (an international magazine that specializes in world music) declared, “Traditional music kept alive by a stylish performer… Powerful, emotional music that needs to be heard.”

Raised in eastern Kentucky but now living in Phoenix, James Reams puts a layer of desert grit over a solid base of traditional bluegrass music. His band treads the terrain where bluegrass, old-time, classic country and rockabilly meet in the night to swap stories. These are the sounds of the hills and hollers combined with the sounds of factories, railroad yards and honky tonks.

The band celebrated 20 years of playing bluegrass music in 2013 with a coast-to-coast tour from New York to California. The much anticipated DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass Music hosted by James Reams was released in July of 2013. Known as an unofficial “Ambassador of Bluegrass,” James is devoted to promoting bluegrass music worldwide.

For further information about James Reams & The Barnstormers visit their website. Additional videos are available on YouTube.

Tags: James Reams & The BarnstormersVideoAlmost Hear the Blues

Town Mountain To Release a New Live Album

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 22:08

Asheville, NC -- Town Mountain’s hard drivin’ bluegrass sound, tight harmonies, and stellar in-house songwriting have become the band’s trademark. They light up the stage with their honky tonk edge and barroom swagger, featuring a Jimmy Martin-style bounce and confidence that is countered at times by a laid-back John Hartford-esque groove. Town Mountain includes Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Nick DiSebastian on bass.

They are set to release their first official live album, Town Mountain: Live At The Isis, on August 19th, 2014.The concert was recorded in their hometown of Asheville, NC at Isis Music Hall. The album features live versions of previously released studio material including crowd favorites “Lawdog,” “Tarheel Boys” and the fiddle tune “Four Miles.” Amidst the original songs are a couple of lively Town Mountain-tweaked covers such as “The Race Is On” and “Orange Blossom Special.” The audio was mixed by Scott Vestal, acclaimed banjoist with the Sam Bush Band, who also mixed their 2012 release, Leave The Bottle. As for the future, stay tuned for a new upcoming studio album due next spring filled with more original Town Mountain songs.

Town Mountain was honored to learn that they made the 2nd ballot for the IBMA Awards in the categories of Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, and Emerging Artist of the Year. Lead singer Robert Greer also made the 2nd ballot for Male Vocalist of the Year and Bobby Britt is staking a well-deserved claim for Fiddle Player of the Year! After this 2nd voting period is over, the final ballot will be announced in mid-August, which the IBMA voters will send in by early September.

Riding on the momentum of Leave the Bottle, Town Mountain came away from the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) World of Bluegrass convention with a couple of IBMA Momentum Awards in hand for “Band of the Year” and lead singer Robert Greer for “Vocalist of the Year.”

“Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record a treat for any bluegrass fan,” said Juli Thanki of Engine 145. David Morris of Bluegrass Today adds, “The songs [on Leave The Bottle] are new and mostly written by band members, but they sound like they could have come from the exciting early days of bluegrass…..The band sounds the part – tight picking and comfortable harmonies that aren’t overdubbed to soulless perfection. And the songs sound the part, too – murder ballads, endless highways, a nod to bluegrass’ Celtic roots and even a tip of the hat to a moonshiner.”

This summer they perform at Rockygrass and Targhee Bluegrass Festival, along with several shows in the Northwest before a plethora of dates in northeast, the southern appalachian region, and the midwest. In the fall the band will be appearing at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Watermelon Park Festival, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Festival, 34th Annual Georgia MarbleFest and a host of other shows.

The band has been having an exciting year so far and have traveled far and wide including some notable appearances in 2014 at Wintergrass, Suwannee Springfest, Durango Bluegrass MeltDown, Music City Roots, MerleFest, Lake Eden Arts Festival, Graves Mountain Festival, Best of Bluegrass, California Bluegrass Association Father's Day Festival, Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, The Grey Fox Music Festival as well as a recent show at City Winery in Chicago supporting Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys.

Town Mountain is in it for the long haul... check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to this year and keep an eye on TownMountain.net for further dates and updates from the road at facebook.com/TownMountain and twitter.com/TownMountain.

Town Mountain on Tour 2014:
7/25 Fri - The Walnut Room - Denver, CO *w/ Whetherman
7/26 Sat - 42nd RockyGrass Festival - Lyons, CO
8/01 Fri - Pickin' In Parsons Bluegrass Festival - Parsons, WV
8/02 Sat - Mt Vernon Nights- Workhouse Arts Center at Lorton - Lorton, VA
8/08 Fri - The 27th Annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival - Alta, WY
8/09-10 Sat-Sun - Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival - Spokane, WA
8/12 Tue - Republic Brewing Company - Republic, WA
8/13 Wed - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
8/15 Fri - The Nelson Odeon - Cazenovia, NY
8/16 Sat - Riverlink Park Summer Concert Series 2014- Amsterdam, NY
8/17 Sun - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA
8/21 Thu - Cosmic Charlie’s - Lexington, KY
8/22 Fri - Isis Music Hall - Asheville, NC
8/29 Fri - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
8/30 Sat - Red, White and Bluegrass At Holiday World - Santa Claus, IN
9/04 Thu - 8 x 10 - Baltimore, MD
9/05 Fri - Historic Blairstown Theater - Blairstown, NJ
9/12-13 Fri-Sat - Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival - Flagstaff, AZ
9/20 Sat - Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Bristol, TN
9/26 Fri - Watermelon Park Festival- Berryville, VA
9/27 Sat - Music Box Supper Club - Cleveland, OH
9/28 Sun - Rinky Dinks Roadhouse - Amity, PA
10/03 Fri - IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass - Raleigh, NC
10/04 Sat - 34th Annual Georgia MarbleFest - Marble, CO
10/15 Wed - Station Inn- Nashville, TN
10/16 Thu - The Southgate House Revival - Revival Room - Newport KY
10/17 Fri - Stoney Point Jamboree - Paris, KY
10/18 Sat - Historic Cowee School Concert Series - Franklin NC
10/23 Thu - Ashland Coffee and Tea - Ashland, VA
10/24 Fri - Gypsy Sally's - Washington DC
11/6-7 Thu-Fri - Riverhawk Music Festival - Brooksville, FL
11/14 Fri - Randy Wood Guitars - Bloomingdale, GA

Tags: Town MountainCD ReleaseTown Mountain: Live At The IsisLive

Which Way Did They Go? Bluegrass at the Crossroads

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 22:14

By Guest Columnist James Reams
It’s hard to watch the Country Music Awards and not wonder why the IBMA Awards are largely ignored by the music industry. What has country got that we haven’t? Our songs feature longing, lost love, hard work, history, and yes, even crying in your beer. Our musicians are just as talented, perhaps more so as I think of the lightning speed associated with fiddle, mandolin and banjo picking. I dare any country band to keep up with us! Our voices pitch into that high lonesome sound made popular by Bill Monroe, but that’s not all we can do. Bluegrass music is just as well rounded as country. So why aren’t we as popular?

I bet I can count on two hands the number of bluegrass bands that are full-time. Even with a record deal, our artists are struggling as the recording industry isn’t funding artist development and promotion for bluegrassers. Most of us have to have a “real” job to pay the bills or at least a retirement income that helps plug the gaps between music gigs, festivals and album sales. While the top names in bluegrass travel around in beat up station wagons, converted school buses, and fly coach class; top artists in rock, country and rap are traveling in style in private jets and Provost buses.

There’s just such a small slice of the bluegrass pie available, that it’s not enough to feed more than a few bands on a full-time basis. Those of us scratching and clawing to get bookings can sometimes contribute to the perception that bluegrass music is cheap and inexpensive as we agree to perform for next to nothing, even showcase events, just so we can play this music we love. My friend and colleague Walter Hensley used to say, “The less meat on the bone, the harder the dogs fight.” By undercutting each other, we’re undermining the entire bluegrass music industry.

Today’s economic crisis doesn’t help either but folks still mob Country Thunder and other predominantly country music outdoor concerts. With 80,000 to 100,000 fans from all over the US in attendance, Country Thunder makes the top bluegrass festivals look withered in comparison. I recently had a promoter in Texas tell me that he had to drop his bluegrass festival because people were complaining about the cost of tickets. Without ticket sales to encourage sponsorships, he was unable to bring in the bigger names in bluegrass and it was just a slippery slide downhill from there. Now he promotes a country swing festival that folks flock to in droves and he hasn’t had a single complaint about the ticket prices. What’s up with that?!?

I believe bluegrass music is at a crossroads. We can continue on as we have since we got started and ride off into the sunset or we can deviate just a bit and take directions from other successful music genres. Change doesn’t mean that we forget where we came from, our bluegrass roots will continue to be the foundation that gives our music its’ identity. But, it’s my contention that we need to change the misconception that bluegrass is just for old-timers on pensions and bring our music into the 21st century. So how do we do that without losing our “bluegrassiness”?

A major factor is embracing technology. If you look at the music styles that are hugely successful these days, it’s easy to see what sets them apart — the MEDIA. Radio channels are clogged 24/7 with stations devoted to rock, rap/hip hop, country, Christian and even classical music. Yet live bluegrass radio programs are largely relegated to Sundays. Except for DC-based WAMU 105.5FM, I can’t turn my radio dial and find one single station devoted solely to bluegrass music. But I can listen to bluegrass music online or even create my own digital bluegrass station using apps like Pandora. And adding your own music is simple enough that even I could figure it out. Yeah, it’s not the same as radio plays and I miss all the depth and news that DJs provide, but it does reach those listeners that have earbuds permanently embedded in their heads.

I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that the current generation is on visual overload. Let’s face it, MTV and CMTV are here to stay. You just can’t deny that this is the age of the music video. So where are all the bluegrass videos? I firmly believe that TV/Internet speaks to the masses, bluegrass radio preaches to the choir. We’ve got to get more professional looking bluegrass videos in front of folks.

“Quality” is the keyword when it comes to videos. YouTube is clogged with unedited videos of dubious sound quality featuring bands at bluegrass festivals shot using Uncle Billy’s iPhone (I’ve certainly contributed my fair share!). But a static shot of your favorite band performing on a festival stage is not the kind of music video that’s going to grab the attention of the music world. As performers there’s a limit to the emotion we can incorporate into a song while we’re on stage. Most bluegrass songs tell a story, creating a video takes it a step further by providing images that convey the feeling behind the words and actually complement the singing. If we’re going to claw our way out of the poverty class of music, we have to find a way to emotionally connect viewers of all ages to our music. I think feeding the visual addiction of today’s music lovers is critical.

I can just hear you saying, “Hold on there, James! Where are we going to get the money to make these videos? We’re barely making ends meet now!” And you’re right, making a video can drain a bank account faster than an ex-wife. But thanks to the Internet, there are numerous crowd funding sources available. I used Kickstarter to help fund the final production push for my film documentary, “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass.” Other popular options for funding creative projects include Indiegogo and RocketHub. And don’t forget that making music videos is how many well-known film directors got their start. Collaborate with a talented film student at a local university or purchase film editing software for your computer whiz kid for Christmas. Who knows, you may discover a future Stephen Spielberg!

What I’m saying is, there are options out there to fit most budgets. Once you have a couple of videos going viral, you can start approaching sponsors to help fund the next one. Country music moved into the spotlight, literally, when they embraced music videos. Bluegrass can do the same. It’s a sleeping giant just waiting to be awakened. BGTV anyone?

I’d like to hear what you have to say. Send your email to james@jamesreams.com and let your voice be heard!

James Reams is an international bluegrass touring and recording artist coming from a family of traditional singers in southeastern Kentucky, James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was just a little sprout. James is known as an “Ambassador of Bluegrass” for his dedication to and deep involvement in the thriving bluegrass and Americana music community. To date, he has released 8 CDs including a special DVD documentary of his band: James Reams & The Barnstormers. Celebrating 20 years as a bandleader in 2013, he released the DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass, the culmination of over 10 years of filming and interviews. James is also the organizer of the Park Slope Bluegrass Oldtime Music Jamboree, an annual music festival he started in 1998 that attracts musicians and fans of traditional music to its workshops, jamming and concerts — the only event of its kind in or around New York City. Read More About James!

Tags: James ReamsEditorialOpinionGuest ColumnistBusiness

Martina McBride & Doyle Lawson Join Mountain Stage Lineup

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 22:12

Bristol, TN/VA -- Birthplace of Country Music and Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is proud to announce country music superstar Martina McBride will join the esteemed line-up of performers scheduled to appear Sunday, August 3, 2014, 7:00 p.m., at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Historic Downtown Bristol as part of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum's Grand Opening Weekend of Events. McBride joins Carlene Carter, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and "Hello Stranger" featuring Dale Jett for this must-see concert celebrating Bristol's heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music.

"The addition of Martina McBride is very exciting because she will be part of Bristol's history as we open the Birthplace of Country Music Museum," states BCM executive director Leah Ross. "Seeing her perform at the Paramount with Carlene Carter, Dale Jett, and Doyle Lawson will be legendary."

The artist, herself, is considered a legend due to her powerhouse vocals and a catalogue of inspiring, socially conscious music. "Independence Day," "Concrete Angel," and "A Broken Wing" are just a few of the hits that made McBride a household name. With a string of number ones and numerous CMA and ACM Female Vocalist Awards, McBride has sold nearly 10 million albums and counting. Her latest release, Everlasting, is a homage to classic R&B recordings.

Birthplace of Country Music has enjoyed a long friendship with the folks at Mountain Stage and has hosted the program in the Tri-Cities for a number of years. Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is broadcast internationally on NPR (National Public Radio).

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on show night; tickets to Mountain Stage are on sale now at theparamouncenter.com for $30.

Tags: Doyle LawsonMountain StageBirthplace of Country Music MuseumGrand OpeningEvent

Orthophonic "Fan Favorite" is Reagan Boggs

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 22:10

Bristol, VA/TN (July 23, 2014) – Birthplace of Country Music is proud to announce beloved singer/songwriter and Pound, VA native Reagan Boggs has been selected Facebook "Fan Favorite" as part of the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest!

Musicians from across the country were encouraged to upload videos to BCM's Facebook page for a chance to win a recording session with legendary Nashville producer Carl Jackson for the Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited CD project, currently in production. Submissions with the most Facebook "likes" would receive Facebook Fan Favorite honors, and secure a performance at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (September 19 - 21, 2014), among other prizes. The Facebook Fan Favorite will also be considered among finalists for the Orthophonic Joy CD project. The Grand Prize winner will be announced Friday, July 25, 2014.

A popular mainstay of Bristol's music scene, Reagan Boggs has three solo albums under her belt and is among the region's most accomplished artists. For her latest album, Quicksand, Boggs teams once again with producer and engineer Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller) of Eastwood Studios in Nashville, TN. The recording includes an array of talented musicians including Fritsch playing multiple parts. Dave Coleman (The Coal Men) sings and plays steel guitar on the duet “You Deserve Better.” Paul Griffith (John Prine, Chris Knight), Steve Bowman (Counting Crows), and Matt Crouse (Billy Dean, Savannah Jack) play drums on the record. Park Chisolm (Kevin Costner, Jo Dee Messina) and Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil, Elizabeth Cook) are featured on electric and upright bass. David Duffy (Elvis Perkins) plays the violin and Eric Brace (Last Train Home) also helps tell the story of the track “Better Man.”

The first place prize winner in the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest will secure a spot on the CD, performances at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Grand Opening concert, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Nashville's acclaimed roots and Americana variety show, Music City Roots, Live From The Factory, broadcast live weekly on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. CT, 8:00 p.m. EST.

Set to be released in October, Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited features entertainment legend Dolly Parton, as well as country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, and Ashley Monroe. The recording project includes 16 of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions.

“The 1927 Bristol Sessions have often been honored for their impact on the world’s music,” said Leah Ross, executive director, Birthplace of Country Music. “With the opening of the Museum, the release of Orthophonic Joy, and the nationwide search for new talent, BCM and the team of irreplaceable partners who are part of these endeavors are ensuring the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions lives on for generations to come.”

Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited is made possible through a partnership with Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol TN/VA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and Virginia Tourism Corporation. For more information, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.

Tags: Reagan BoggsOrthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions RevisitedContestBirthplace of Country Music Museum

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