Latest Headlines from Cybergrass

Subscribe to Latest Headlines from Cybergrass feed
Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Updated: 19 min 37 sec ago

Legendary Banjo Picker J.D. Crowe on Song of the Mountains

26 min 9 sec ago

Marion, VA- J.D. Crowe will headline the September 6th concert taping of Song of the Mountains at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia. This concert will be taped for national broadcast across America for public television.

Crowe began playing the banjo early on and was offered a job with Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys in mid-1950s. He cut his first recordings with Jimmy Martin on December 1, 1956, and his last on August 17, 1960, recording a total of 33 songs on Decca Records. In the late 1960s, Crowe formed the Kentucky Mountain Boys, principally performing in the Lexington, Kentucky region. By the early 1970s, Crowe changed the band's name to The New South and included material from rock and country music sources. Crowe's New South band is widely considered one of the most influential bluegrass groups since the 1970s. Many influential musicians have been a part of the band over the years, including Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Doyle Lawson, and Bobby Slone.

J.D. Crowe will perform with the band Wildfire on the September 6th concert.

Wildfire was formed in 2000 and quickly became one of the most talked about groups in the bluegrass music industry. The band has many years of musical and performance experience, with Robert Hale on lead vocals and guitar, Curt Chapman on bass and Johnny Lewis on banjo. Most recently to join the band, accomplished mandolin player and vocalist, Chris Davis and well known musician,

Greg Luck, accomplished fiddle player, song writer and vocalist.

The band definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to pouring their heart and soul into their music. By mixing their original songs and telling ballads, their complete dedication and love for their music, and their artistic spontaneity, Wildfire takes listeners on a journey that will spur emotion and excitement.

Wayne Henderson and Jeff Little will also perform on the concert taping. Wayne Henderson is the Appalachian guitarist the Nashville pickers all talk about, the one who lives in a very remote area of the Blue Ridge and makes those acoustic guitars with the amazing tone, the ones that are so hard to get. Sometimes Wayne's playing is mistaken for flatpicking but actually he uses a thumbpick and fingerpicks to achieve amazing speed and fluidity, transforming fiddle and banjo pieces and even the occasional jazz standard into stunning guitar solos. Wayne was awarded the country’s highest honor for a traditional artist, the National Heritage Fellowship in 1995 in honor of both his fine playing and his exquisitely fashioned steel-string guitars. Henderson was born, raised and still lives in tiny Rugby, Virginia, in the White Top Mountain area of Grayson County near the North Carolina border. An accomplished guitarist, Wayne has won over 300 ribbons at various fiddlers' conventions including first place at the venerable Galax (VA) event 12 times. He has toured internationally with the United States Information Agency and performed at Carnegie Hall

With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian or Americana music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Jeff Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.

Little’s involvement with fiddle tunes, old time country, and traditional blues dates to his growing up in Boone, North Carolina, where his family, owned a music shop. The shop was a regular gathering place for musicians who would just stop by to pick a few tunes.

Appalachian-Celtic Music will be featured on the concert by Fire in the Kitchen. Performing together since 2002. The trio of Fire in the Kitchen is an outstanding acoustic group that plays Appalachian/Old-time and Celtic music. Based in Washington County, VA, Fire in the Kitchen’s unique sound is created by skillful bass, guitar and banjo playing of Teddy Helton, the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the penny & low whistle playing of Debbie Shrewsbury and the beautiful hammered dulcimer playing of Tammy Martin.

Fire in The Kitchen has played at a variety of venues locally and regionally including 30 performances at Dollywood’s Festival of Nations, The Carter Family Fold, Bristol Rhythm ‘N Roots, The Floyd Country Store, The Virginia Highlands’ Festival, Winston-Salem Celtic Festival and many, many more. They have been honored to play for such greats as Doc Watson and Tom T. Hall and have been featured on Public radio programming.

Jerry Butler and the BluJs will also be on Song of the Mountains September 6th. Veteran bluegrass singer/guitarist Jerry Butler has brought his skills to a number of high profile bands during his career. Jerry Butler & the Blu-J's, now in their fifth year, are maturing into an entertaining and skillful group. This current configuration with Jerry, Derek Vaden, Lee Chapman and Barron Rogers, unchanged for two years now, work well together, offer an entertaining show, with four musicians who each add distinctive and quality work. The Blu-Js, whose music has been described as energetic, fresh and smooth, play a repertoire consisting of original and traditional bluegrass songs, familiar classic country songs and heartfelt gospel. Based in Knoxville, TN, The Blu-Js have taken their music throughout the United States, Canada and the finest and largest cruise ships in the world.

Jackson Dale will also perform on the show. Jackson Dale is a native of Russell County in Southwest Virginia. His musical journey began at age 5. By age 10 Jackson was taking piano lessons and playing in church. Recognizing potential talent, 4-H leaders entered him in a youth talent contest in which Jackson won county and region, thus competing at the state level at VPI in Blacksburg. There he was awarded 2nd place in piano for the entire State of Virginia.

The Song of the Mountains concert and taping on September 6th will begin at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Tickets and information is available at www.songofthemountains.org or by calling 276-783-6093. Tickets are $ 25 reserved seating.

The concert series is underwritten by the Town of Marion, VA, the Ellis Family Foundation including the General Francis Marion Hotel, Bank of Marion, Morehead State University, Emory and Henry College and Blue Ridge Country 98.1 WBRF Radio.

Song of the Mountain/Lincoln Theatre is a non-profit organization.

Tags: J.D. CroweSong of the MountainsBroadcast PBSConcertEvent

The Big Push for Bluegrass at Burning Man

27 min 55 sec ago

Our bluegrass artist and friend, Andy Owens is on a quest to introduce Bluegrass Music to the Burning Man Arts Festival. Time is short and so is their funding. The Bluegrass Invasion to Burning Man Kickstarter Campaign is still short about $900 and needs to catch up quickly or they can lose all funding collected so far. This is a marvelous concept to introduce the crowd to bluegrass music in a unique way.

Andy writes, "Well the Bluegrass Invasion Of Burning Man is on the way, we are in Salt Lake City, five blown tires, one blown patellar tendon but we are pushing on!! Please share this link - Www.1800bluegrass.com We are at $2,600 out of $3,500. If we dont make $3,500 we lose all!!\

He notes, 'In order to get our band to Burning Man we need to raise money. The costs are quite high, $400 just for a ticket, camp dues to cover camping for a week in the middle of the desert and of course travel, it’s 2500 miles from us. So that we have the highest impact I am building a portable stage that is a giant banjo pulled by an approved Burning Man Mutant Vehicle. We will have five musicians, two support persons and at a cost of about $1000 per person, you see why we are on kickstarter!"

Here is an arts festival held in the middle of the desert and is a camping venue but, there's no bluegrass. There's no jamming. It's all sort of electronica. Andy wants to change all that.

Burning Man is a huge arts festival in the desert in Northern Nevada which happens every year the week before Labor Day. This year there will be over 70,000 people at Burning Man, and there are hundreds of camps playing all kinds of electronic music, but guess what’s missing? Bluegrass Music, I want to change that.

Andy has put together a giant flaming banjo portable stage which will be towed to Burning Man which is a stage for performing artists and other bluegrass activities.

Tags: Andy OwensBurning ManBluegrass MusicArts FestivalKickstarter

Blue Moon Rising Reunion Concert Dates Announced

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:14

Knoxville, TN -- Blue Moon Rising has announced they will perform select tour dates with original band members Chris West (Guitar), Tim Tipton (Bass), Keith Garrett (Mandolin), Randall Massengill (Guitar), Justin Jenkins (Banjo), plus current member Brandon Bostic (Dobro). Three Blue Moon Rising Reunion concert dates have been booked so far, including the kick-off on September 28 at the National Muscadine Festival in Sweetwater, TN.

Fans can ring in the New Year with the Blue Moon Rising Reunion Tour when they return to Bismarck State College in Bismarck, North Dakota for the 10th Annual Blizzard Bluegrass Weekend January 2-3, 2015. Festival Promoter Jill Wiese recalls how she met the band. “Ten years ago, I got a phone call from Tim Tipton asking if Blue Moon Rising could play somewhere in around the Bismarck area in the winter time. I had never put on an event before, so I called Bismarck State College and the rest is history. We are thrilled beyond belief the BMR band is coming back as these guys played the first three years of this winter event. We are going to sell this one out for sure - blizzard or no blizzard,” said Wiese.

Blue Moon Rising had two self-released albums, Raised on Pain and Where Wood Meets Steel, prior to their successful On The Rise (Lonesome Day Records) album that garnered the national spotlight for this band configuration in 2005. The album certainly proved to be a symbolic title for them when it made its debut on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Album Chart and received many “Best Albums of the Year” honors by numerous publications including CMT.com. It also received significant Radio chart success spending 10 months on the Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Top 15 Album Chart and the single, This Old Martin Box spending the entire 2006 calendar year in the Top 30 Singles. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) members honored the band with a 2006 Nomination as Emerging Artist of the Year.

Blue Moon Rising has released three other albums since then including: One Lonely Shadow (Lonesome Day Records), Strange New World (Rural Rhythm Records), and their current self-released Blue Side of the Moon.

All of the original members contributed their songwriting talents to the group’s recordings over the years, but none more so than band leader, guitarist and lead vocalist, Chris West. His songs are part of the group’s signature sound with fan favorites such as: The Crime I’m Guilty Of, The Hanging Tree, The Old Time Preacher Man, Good Time for Going Home, Revival, He Arose, and so many more. Chris is the only remaining original member of the group.

Tim Tipton not only played Bass with the band, but also contributed original songs to their recordings. He wrote Papaw Taught Me that appeared on the album, On The Rise. The song was also featured on the Lonesome Day Records’ compilation project, “The Very Things You Treasure – 24 Bluegrass Songs of Faith & Family.” Tim’s outgoing personality was certainly an asset in getting this group off the ground, and he was an integral part of the band’s success.

Keith Garrett is now with The Boxcars who lead the Nominations for 2014 IBMA Awards with ten nominations for the band and their individual members. Keith received his first IBMA Song of the Year Nomination for his original It’s Just a Road. He contributed numerous songs to Blue Moon Rising over the years including Jeffrey’s Hell, Far Away From Home, Angeline, Moonshine Hard Times, and the instrumental Sling Blade he co-wrote with Justin Jenkins.

Banjo player, Justin Jenkins, now with Grasstowne, landed his first professional gig at age 12 when he was asked to become a regular member of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. He then made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2003 as a guest of Mike Snider. After high school, Justin hit the road with Mountain Heart to sell merchandise. Soon after, he joined Blue Moon Rising and appears on One Lonely Shadow and On The Rise.

Randall Massengill toured nine years with the bluegrass gospel group, New Road, before joining Blue Moon Rising in 2005. He appears on the On The Rise album performing guitar, tenor vocalist and taking the lead vocals on Modern Day Outlaw. After Blue Moon Rising, Randall formed the band, Brand New Strings who recorded two albums together.

Current member, Brandon Bostic has been an essential member of Blue Moon Rising for the past five years. His strong and soulful lead vocals, combined with his stellar musicianship on Guitar, Mandolin, and Dobro, are a true asset to the group. He has played professionally in the past with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike and now runs his own recording and production studio, Root Note Studio.

For more information including upcoming announcements for the Blue Moon Rising Reunion Tour and Blue Moon Rising’s tour, please visit BlueMoonRisingBand.com.

Tags: Blue Moon RisingReunionConcertEvent

Leftover Salmon Celebrates 25 Years – New Year’s in Chicago

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:12

This New Year’s Eve, marks 25 years for Leftover Salmon! We are thrilled to announce we will be celebrating it with Keller Williams in Chicago, IL on December 30th and 31st! Leftover Salmon will kick off the two night celebration on the 30th and we’ll be ringing in the New Year with 2 sets on New Year’s Eve! Bill Payne of Little Feat will be joining us both nights! Keller Williams will perform with his band “More Than a Little” for a closing set on December 30th and Solo on the 31st, to get the night started. LoS Fan Club tickets went on sale Wednesday August, 20th.

It all started 25 years ago in the mountain town of Crested Butte, CO at The Eldorado Cafe. We are grateful and deeply honored to reach this milestone and we look forward to sharing it with all of you this New Year’s in Chicago! Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder, CO in 1989 the group was one of the first bluegrass bands to add drums and tour rock & roll bars, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jam grass genre.

Though the band members are reticent to accept the weight of their influence, Leftover Salmon co-founder, singer, guitarist, fiddle and mandolin player Drew Emmitt does reflect fondly on the band’s early days. “We knew we were doing something special” he says. “At that point in the early-90's, it was the birth of the jam band movement, Phish was starting out, Widespread Panic was starting out, and they were a little ahead of us, obviously, but we were one of the first bands to get out there with bluegrass and just get on the road and try to make something happen without a record deal. We were just following in the footsteps of New Grass Revival, Hot Rize and Little Feat, but by doing that I think we inspired some other bands too.”

Ticketing Info:

  • December 30th Tickets - HERE
  • December 31st Tickets - HERE
  • New Year's Eve VIP - 2 Day Pass (12/30 & 12/31) - HERE

VIP - 2 Day Passes Includes:

  • Tickets to both 12/30 & 12/31 Shows
  • Commemorative Event Laminate
  • Early Entry Into Venue
  • VIP Seating in Front Of Balcony
  • Signed Commemorative Event Poster
  • Ticket to Leftover Salmon’s Private 25th Anniversary Party
Tags: Leftover Salmon25th AnniversaryNew Year's EveEventConcert

Locust Ridge a Dove Nominee for Emerging Bluegrass Gospel Group

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:09

Nashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Christian recording group Locust Ridge has been nominated for “Bluegrass Album of the Year” at the 45th Annual (GMA) Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Deep in the mountains of East Tennessee, you will find the small rural community of Locust Ridge. You will also find a very popular mountain gospel group in this area appropriately named after the community Locust Ridge.

If you were to visit this area, there is a good chance if you stopped to talk with anyone, their last name would be Allen. The center of the community is a small church, Evan’s Chapel Baptist Church. It is more than just a white building on top of a hill; it is the place where the lives of Russell, Josh, Larry and Andy were molded and their desire to serve the Lord was fostered. Russell, Josh and Larry are all brothers and Andy is a longtime friend that is as close as family who make up Locust Ridge.

"When we began work on the "Healed" project, our only goal was to make music that would bring honor to the Lord, encourage our fellow Christians, and tell the lost of the wondrous love of our Lord. We feel that we accomplished that. Now, for it to be recognized as a nominee for a DOVE award is such an honor, and we are so very grateful." - Russell Allen, Locust Ridge

Acclaimed artist and producer Steve Gulley discovered the group Locust Ridge and produced “Healed” their debut album for Rural Rhythm Christian.

"When the fine men who make up Locust Ridge first came to my studio a few years back to discuss the possibility of us working together, I instantly knew that they were the kind of folks with whom I would be happy to help create music. They were warm, Christian guys with a lot of talent. However, and much more importantly, I felt the presence of The Lord when they walked into the room. They couldn't help but let their light shine in everything they did. That light shines brighter than ever today in their music and ministry. I am so humbled by the nomination of the album, "Healed", for Bluegrass Album Of The Year.

Locust Ridge and their album “Healed” have certainly caught the attention of many important industry people. Country Legend Dolly Parton who commented, "I am so very proud of my Locust Ridge neighbors. They are so talented and such wonderful people. I am very excited about their project "Healed"... Go Gang!"

“Locust Ridge ('dem Allen boys) were meticulous in their song search, vocal preparation and musical presentation. That meticulous effort has manifested itself in this stellar Bluegrass Gospel release! "HEALED..." - Les Butler, Publisher Singing News Magazine, Solid Gospel and Front Porch Fellowship: Radio Host

“These guys are going to be a big force in Bluegrass Gospel Music” – Dennis Jones, WNCW - The Gospel Truth TM

"With a gospel song like, "Silver And Gold", the lyrics are well crafted and the spirit and inspiration are guiding this up and coming gospel group, Locust Ridge...". – Gary Henderson, WAMU-FM's BluegrassCountry, Washington, D. C.

The awards show will take place on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN at 6:30pm CT. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will air the awards show on the network’s global stage reaching over 100 million homes in the U.S.

"Healed" is available now on AirPlay Direct for radio programmers and DJ’s. Locust Ridge is currently on tour in support of "Healed". Visit their web site at Locustridge.org for a list of their tour dates.

Tags: Locust RidgeDove AwardsNominationHealed

Larry Stephenson Band Announces New Members and Upcoming New Album

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:07

The award-winning Larry Stephenson Band is proud to announce new members, bass player Matt Wright and guitarist Kevin Richardson. They will join Larry Stephenson and Kenny Ingram in celebrating the band’s 25th Anniversary this year and their upcoming new album release, PULL YOUR SAVIOR IN. The first single is set for release later this month and will include special guests Jimmy Fortune, David Parmley, and Dale Perry.

Matt Wright’s first show with The Larry Stephenson Band was during this year’s Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Indiana. Matt is currently a senior at ETSU in the music program and lives in Waynesville, N.C. Matt said, “I'm very honored to be playing alongside of such legends, and such great people. And I hope to continue musical endeavors with the LSB for years to come.

Kevin Richardson, from Asheboro, N.C., previously toured with Larry for four years. He will rejoin the band beginning August 29 at the Petal Civic Center in Petal, MS. Kevin was part of The Larry Stephenson Band’s 20th Anniversary album on Whysper Dream Music that received the IBMA Recorded Event of the Year Award in 2010, and also part of the band’s latest album, WHAT REALLY MATTERS on Compass Records. "I am pleased to return to Larry and the group. I have many memories with Larry and look forward to making many more with his great band - and making some good music," said Kevin.

Larry Stephenson is highly regarded as one of bluegrass music's finest high lead and tenor vocalist and has been headlining concerts and festivals for 25 years. He has received numerous awards and recognitions during his impressive career including the 2010 IBMA Recorded Event of the Year Award for his album, GIVE THIS MESSAGE TO YOUR HEART – 20TH ANNIVERSARY. Larry is a 5-time winner of the Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year Award from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music. He can also be heard singing baritone on Donna Ulisee’s 2014 IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year Award Nominated song, “Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus.”

Current member, Kenny Ingram has been with The Larry Stephenson Band since 2009. His first professional job was with James Monroe and The Midnight Ramblers, before joining Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys in 1972. Kenny later joined Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass which gained him world acclaim from their appearances each week day morning on The Martha White Show broadcast on WSM radio. Later, Kenny rejoined Jimmy Martin, before touring with Curly Seckler and also Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.

For more information on The Larry Stephenson Band and to view their entire schedule, please visit their website and join them on Facebook.

Tags: Larry Stephenson BandMatt WrightKevin RichardsonBand AnnouncementCD Release

Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White to Release First Studio Album

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 22:28

Nashville, TN -- On August 4, country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White (of country music's The Whites) celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. Over the course of more than three decades of marriage, Skaggs and White have savored every moment of their lifelong commitment to one another. With both of their respected careers cemented into the country music history books, one might find it hard to believe that the couple has never recorded an album together. That all changes on September 30, 2014 when Skaggs and White release their first-ever studio album, Hearts Like Ours.

In 1987, the pair won a CMA Vocal Duo of the Year award for "Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This," but White was touring with her family band and Skaggs was on fire with his solo career, so releasing a full project wasn't possible at the time. Skaggs and White are beyond thrilled to finally release their first full project.

"Hearts Like Ours is a dream come true for Sharon and I," says Skaggs. "Being married for 33 years, you really get to know someone's heart. I know hers and she knows mine, and you can hear that on this CD. I loved getting to work with her. She knows what she wants."

hite notes, "I am so happy that Ricky and I have finally done a duet CD, which we have wanted to do for years and I think our hearts are in the right place to do this now. It was great to pick songs together and share ideas about how we wanted to do them. I have always enjoyed making music with Ricky so this album is the fulfillment of a dream of my heart."

The 13-track album, releasing on Skaggs Family Records, is produced by Skaggs and White and features the couple dueting on handpicked country love songs. The album includes songs written by some of the industry's top songwriters including Connie Smith and Marty Stuart-penned tunes, "Hearts Like Ours" and "I Run To You," Bob DiPiero and Keith Sewell's "Forever's Not Long Enough," Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz's "Hold On Tight (Let It Go)," Leslie Satcher and Buddy Jewell's "When I'm Good And Gone" and the late Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You," among others.

Hearts Like Ours will be available in-stores and digitally on release day. Album pre-sales are available now at www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com.

With 12 #1 hit singles, 14 GRAMMY® Awards, eleven IBMA Awards, eight ACM Awards and eight CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), Ricky Skaggs is truly a pioneer of Bluegrass and Country music. Since he began playing music more than 50 years ago, Skaggs has released more than 30 albums and has performed thousands of live shows. Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, continue to keep the tour trail red hot, performing more than 80 live dates each year. He started his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive GRAMMY®-nominated albums. Last year, the Grand Ole Opry member released his first-ever autobiography, "Kentucky Traveler." The book details the life and times of Skaggs and provides a descriptive history of Country and Bluegrass music, as told by the master himself.

Sharon White is a member of beloved country-gospel family band, The Whites, and has been making music alongside her father Buck and sister Cheryl for more than four decades. They originally began as a Bluegrass group, but the family trio became well known for their string of Country hits in the 1980s, including "Hangin’ Around," "Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling," and "Pins and Needles." The Whites are Grand Ole Opry members and combine a respect for – and mastery of – traditional country and bluegrass with a refreshing style in each of their performances. They were involved in the 2001 hit movie and soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and have gone on to win multiple awards, including GRAMMY®, CMA and Dove Awards, among others.

Hearts Like Ours Track Listing:

  1. "I Run To You"
  2. "Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This"
  3. "When I'm Good And Gone"
  4. "Forever's Not Long Enough"
  5. "If I Needed You"
  6. "I Was Meant To Love You"
  7. "It Takes Three"
  8. "Reasons To Hang On"
  9. "Hold On Tight (Let It Go)"
  10. "No Doubt About It"
  11. "Home Is Wherever You Are"
  12. "Hearts Like Ours"
  13. "Be Kind"
Tags: Ricky SkaggsSharon WhiteCD ReleaseHearts Like Ours

Three Bluegrass Icons are Standing Tall & Tough

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 22:25
The new collaboration from J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams is now available. Standing Tall and Tough is available from Mountain Home Music and captures the traditional drive and emotion of 1950's and 60's Bluegrass, on songs these artists helped to make classics, including "Fraulein" and "Hills of Roane County." Both tunes are Bluegrass standards due in part to the high, lonesome sound of Paul Williams.

Innovative mandolin player, Doyle Lawson, takes up the guitar on "My Walking Shoes," "Little Angel in Heaven," and "Pretending I Don't Care," reminding us of the powerful Jimmy Martin style.

J.D. Crowe comes out of retirement for Standing Tall and Tough, reminding us just why he is considered the most influential banjo player since Earl Scruggs.

Crowe, Lawson and Williams tip their hats to Gospel tradition with "Do You Like What You Preach," "Don't Laugh," and "Insured Beyond the Grave."

In a world where everyone is searching for the next new thing, it's significant for three artists who have been on the forefront of this music for decades to continue to deliver with excellence and innovation.

Standing Tall and Tough may appear to some as boisterous or even belligerent, but it's not! To J.D., Paul, and me, it means that after all the years of being involved in music, the love we have for it hasn't diminished at all. The joy of being onstage or in the recording studio is a feeling beyond words for us” comments Doyle Lawson.

If you are looking for todays bluegrass sound of yesterdays pure bluegrass, you will find it on Standing Tall & Tough. These three were actively performing yesterday and are certainly standing tall with this release. This is some of the finest bluegrass music performed by the masters and legends. Bluegrass fans will enjoy this album. It's tough to beat.

Tags: Doyle LawsonJ.D. CrowePaul WilliamsCD ReleaseStanding Tall and ToughVideo

FreshGrass Festival Kicks Off with a Great Duo

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 22:17

Kicking off the FreshGrass festivities on Friday, September 19, will be an extra-special collaboration between two all-time favorite bluegrass artists, flatpicker Michael Daves and banjoist Tony Trischka. It will be the first time at the festival for both of them, and this pairing sets the stage for the first annual FreshGrass Duo Award the following morning. Daves and Trischka are both renowned teachers and formidable players. We are eager to hear their spin on the classic duo form.

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.

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. 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. Get your tickets here: http://FreshGrass.com/get-tickets/

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: FreshGrassTony TrischkaMichael DavesBluegrass FestivalEvent

Nathan Stanley Nominated for GMA Dove Award

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 23:03

Nathan Stanley, who is being called the "Prince of Bluegrass," has been turning heads in multiple genres, and most recently bluegrass, as he picks up a nomination for "Bluegrass Album of the Year" at the 45th Annual GMA Dove Awards for his album Every Mile. Incorporating styles from his Grandfather, the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley, Nathan delivers quality music that has kept fans coming back for more.

By borrowing some of his Grandfather's signature flare, the protégé carries on Dr. Stanley's traditional style, which is still in high demand. The 2014 release of Every Mile, takes listeners on a journey with many different twists and turns. Stanley's Southern Gospel meets Traditional Country meets Bluegrass has been positively embraced by music fans.

"This is my first Dove nomination, and I am blessed and honored to be nominated with so many great artists, who I am a fan of" exclaimed an excited Nathan Stanley.

The critically acclaimed album Every Mile produced by Terry Thompson, sees Nathan Stanley collaborating with some of the top artists in the industry. Country legend Vince Gill lends his vocals on the track "Hand in Hand With Jesus," which is an inspirational tune that is sure to be stuck in listeners heads for days.

That's only the beginning, as gospel greats Sonya Isaacs Yeary & Becky Issacs Bowman join Nathan on the track "I Know Jesus Will See Me Through." Another key highlight of the album is a duet with his Grandfather, Dr. Ralph Stanley, on the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers track "You Can't Make Old Friends." The album also sees vocal contributions by Jeff & Sheri Easter, T. Graham Brown & Judy Marshall, Jeff Bates, Wes Hampton, and Adam Crabb.

The 45th Annual GMA Dove Awards will take place Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN at 6:30pm CT. Log on to www.doveawards.com for a complete list of nominees and to purchase tickets. To learn more about Nathan Stanley visit: www.nathanstanleymusic.com/

5th Annual Bluegrass Battles Hunger Benefit Event Sep 26-27

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 22:57

Once again, bluegrass music comes to aid other as Freudenthal Home Health is excited to announce Bluegrass Battles Hunger 2014, a 2-day concert event to support Second Harvest Community Food Bank. The event will be held Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27, 2014, in Coleman Hawkins Park at Felix Street Square in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. The event is being sponsored by several business organizations in the St. Joseph community, including the event’s Presenting Sponsor, Freudenthal Home Health.

Bluegrass Battles Hunger is free and open to the public. Patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and cash donations for Second Harvest Community Food Bank, which supports hunger relief agencies in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas. The food bank, a member of Feeding America, is the area’s link between an abundant food supply and people in need.

This is the fifth year for the event. Last year’s event raised over $2,500 and 1,145 pounds of food in support of the food bank’s efforts.

Food and concessions will be available to patrons of the event. Mark your calendars now for what is sure to be a tremendous concert, all for a great cause.

On Friday, Hubcap Bandits, Dr. Cotton, and Old Salt Union will take the stage. On Saturday, Brett Hodges & No Mountain String Band, Under the Big Oak Tree, Old Sound, Konza Swamp Band, The John Brown Boys, Whiskey for the Lady, and Loaded Goat will perform. To wrap the night up, performers will get together for one last Jubilee.

Coming from Belleville, Illinois, Friday night’s headliner Old Salt Union brings a new twist to bluegrass music. Some call it “newgrass.” Some call it “popgrass.” In one year they have won two Indie Music Channel Awards, released an album, played at Wakarusa Music Festival, toured to over 11 states, and opened for Sam Bush and The Del McCoury Band.

Saturday night’s headliner, Loaded Goat, is a mad mash of bluegrass, old-time, honky-tonk music. To activate: Flick a little moonshine in its face and get ready for some banjo for your ear-holes. Playing a predominantly original catalog of heartbreak and headache, Loaded Goat will occasionally surprise with a cover song.

Visit Bluegrass Battles Hunger for more information.

Tags: Bluegrass Battles HungerBenefitConcertEvent

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen's "Cold Spell" Released

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 22:42

Nashville, TN -- With the release of Cold Spell, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen prove that they've got it all – including momentum.
Some critics have called the band "the new NewGrass Revival" and that comparison is no exaggeration. This foursome has vocal prowess and instrumental chops in spades. Cold Spell is a testament to the power and versatility of traditional bluegrass instrumentation, and the album's 10 tracks move effortlessly through Solivan and crew's virtuosic, electrifying and broad–minded brand of bluegrass music.

From the evocative opening track "Say It Isn't So" through the bluesy "No Life in the this Town" to the hard hitting "She Said She Will" and the grassy instrumental "Yeah Man," penned by reigning IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Mike Munford, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen prove that bluegrass can rock and groove.

The album’s ten tracks show just how far the traditional bluegrass instrumentation of banjo, mandolin, guitar and acoustic bass can go in the right hands. From the evocative opening track “Say It Isn’t So,” through the bluesy “No Life in this Town,” to the future jam grass anthem “She Said She Will” (featuring Solivan’s bluesy tenor vocals and a jaw dropping banjo performance from Mike Munford, International Bluegrass Music Association’s reigning Banjo Player of the Year), Frank Solivan and his bandmates (Munford on banjo, Danny Booth on bass and Chris Luquette on guitar) take their brand of bluegrass through the paces proving track after track that bluegrass can rock and groove. With special guests Leon Alexander, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Rob Ickes and Megan McCormick.

Fronted by mandolinist, singer and songwriter Frank Solivan, his bandmates comprise , the band has been nominated for multiple IBMA awards including Instrumental Group of the Year and Emerging Artist of the year, and their current tour schedule includes some of the most important tastemaker festivals in the roots music world. Their new album Cold Spell will solidify their position as torchbearers for the new generation of progressive bands taking bluegrass from its traditional roots to a younger and broader audience.

New album features guests Leon Alexander, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Rob Ickes and Megan McCormick

Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he’s built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Solivan and banjoist Mike Munford (2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year), guitarist Chris Luquette (IBMA Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award winner) and doghouse bassist Dan Booth simmer a bluegrass/newgrass stew from instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, they also earned 2012 and 2013 Best Bluegrass Band honors from the Washington Area Music Association.

Tags: Frank Solivan & Dirty KitchenCD ReleaseCold Spell

RTE 23 Music Festival Debuts in Wise, VA Aug 30th

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 22:39

Wise, VA -- A crooked road runs through Route 23 from southwest Virginia and over the state line into Kentucky, a region steeped in the music tradition of the Appalachias. On Saturday, August 30, Birthplace of Country Music brings an added roadside attraction for music lovers - the RTE 23 Music Festival - and the admission is free. This one-day music event will replace the Concert Series at Big Glades organized by Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and coinciding with Bristol's Border Bash concert series, which runs from May through August on the first and third Fridays.

Held on the campus of the University of Virginia's College at Wise, RTE 23 Music Festival brings a diverse mix of artists together for a full day of live music that's off the beaten path and features fun activities for the kids. The David Mayfield Parade, Sol Driven Train, Jarekus Singleton, and Derek Hoke, all alumni of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (September 19-21) are slated to perform.

"We really wanted some sonic diversity," says RTE 23 Festival Director David Stallard. "We were excited to confirm Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion alumni David Mayfield and Sol Driven Train very quickly. Then the job became rounding out the bill. Singleton is an amazing guitar player, in the vein of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Muddy Waters. Derek Hoke is another festival alum – the real deal when it comes to vintage rockabilly."\

The festival begins at 3:00 p.m. with a bouncy house and magic show for the kids; food and craft vendors will also set up. The schedule for events is as follows:

  • 3:00 p.m. - Children's activities begin
  • 4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Derek Hoke
  • 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Jarekus Singleton
  • 7:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.: Sol Driven Train
  • 8:45 p.m. - 10:15 p.m.: The David Mayfield Parade
The David Mayfield Parade
If you've seen David Mayfield perform with The Avett Brothers or Mumford & Sons at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion or Bonnaroo, then you've caught his charisma, heart, and comedy, and you're likely to come back for more. Conscious of being not just a musician, but also an entertainer, Mayfield certainly makes an impression live. The strength of his songwriting and musicianship, combined with his charm and personality, keep audiences coming back again and again.
Sol Driven Train
Sol Driven Train's music weaves through genres like images in a Tom Robbins paragraph. The band’s sonic schizophrenia reflects songwriting influences like John Prine and Paul Simon, Afro Caribbean rhythmic explorations and funky New Orleans-style brass into earnest songs of life, love, loss and long johns. The versatile five-piece band, based in Charleston, S.C., features rotating lead vocalists, and multi-instrumental talent spread across horns, strings and percussion. Combining rich varieties of American pop and folk music into their own port-town sound, Sol Driven Train has carved out a unique musical identity within the burgeoning roots music scene.
Jarekus Singleton
29-year-old Jackson, Miss., award-winning guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jarekus Singleton is one of the brightest, most exciting young stars on the blues scene today. His cutting-edge, streetwise music – melding contemporary and traditional blues with rock energy and hip-hop wordplay – turns audiences of all ages into devoted fans. With his blazing guitar licks and strong, soulful voice, Singleton brings his up-to-the-minute take on the blues to every song he writes and performs.
Derek Hoke
Born in Brunswick, Ga., Derek Hoke is a self-taught guitarist, composer, singer and loner. Hoke's first love was the theatrics of KISS, but when his grandfather showed him country music’s roots, Hoke started down a different path. Hoke's music is not your dad's country or your granddad's country, but the REAL country. Touring for three years with Ricky Skaggs, Hoke is a musician whose experiences unfold in his music and come alive on the stage.

"The role of Birthplace of Country Music is to promote Bristol's heritage through outreach and programming like the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion," says BCM executive director Leah Ross. "RTE 23 Music Festival is another way we're presenting our message to surrounding communities."

Tags: RTE 23 Music FestivalMusic FestivalEventBirthplace of Country MusicThe Crooked Road

Carter Fold to Present Kody Norris & the Watauga Mountain Boys

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 22:34

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of traditional bluegrass music by Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain Boys. Kody Norris is young, confident, and bluegrass proud. He’s been fronting his own band now for over nine years, but he’s been playing bluegrass music for much longer. Kody grew up in Mountain City, Tennessee. According to Norris, playing bluegrass in the traditional style is the only way he knows how to play it – or wants to play it.

His bright colored suits are reminiscent of Jimmy Martin, and his sound carries you back to the early days of bluegrass. Although he respects and appreciates other music styles, his first love is bluegrass. Despite his young age, Norris’s stage presence and musical ability place him in the ranks of seasoned, veteran performers. Kody has played with various bands and also performed with his idol, Dr. Ralph Stanley. Adult admission to the concert is $10, $1 for children 6 to 11, and under age 6 free.

Serious and focused on their music, the Watauga Mountain Boys exemplify the pride they have in their musical heritage. Always performing in suits and hats, they are reminiscent of Flatt and Scruggs and the Clinch Mountain Boys. They have performed at the Wisconsin State Fair, the Pickin’ Porch, Bean Blossom, the High Country Jam, on RFD TV with the Cumberland Highlanders Show, and at many festivals across the U.S. In fact, they’ve played in nearly every state. They’ve performed at the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center, and their work has been featured in the New York Times. Often playing old tunes that are nearly forgotten, they try to keep their music as original as possible. For more information, check out Kody & the Watauga Mountain Boys on Facebook.

If you like hard-driving, old-style bluegrass, don’t miss Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain Boys at the Carter Fold. Bring along your friends, and don’t forget your dancing shoes. Dance away your cares while enjoying some of the finest traditional music the region has to offer. For more info, go to MySpace and You Tube on the net.

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

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

Tags: Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain BoysCarter Family FoldEventAspen Colorado Concert Series

6th Bluegrass for Hospice Features The Seldom Scene Oct 25

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 22:41

The Bluegrass for Hospice-2014, now in its 6th year, will be held on Saturday October 25 and will feature The Seldom Scene. The event will be held at the Flat Iron Farm in Great Mills, Maryland. It is located on Flat Iron Road just 1.5 miles from MD Route 5. The event begins at Noon with gates opening at 11:00 am. All proceeds for the day go to support the Hospice House of St. Mary’s County.

Throughout the day, Bluegrass Music can be heard by local favorites: Charlie Thompson & Bottom County Bluegrass, Bubby Abell & Spoon Creek, Bluegrass Gospel Express, and David Norris. Added this year for the first time will be Recycled Bluegrass and the Smoke Creek Rounder’s. As always, Troy Jones will provide the sound for the day.

The Seldom Scene is an American bluegrass band formed in 1971 in Bethesda, Maryland. The band formed out of a fun weekly jam session that was held in the basement of banjo player Ben Eldridge. These sessions included John Starling on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Auldridge on Dobro and baritone vocals, and Tom Gray on bass. Then mandolinist John Duffey, who had previously played with the Country Gentlemen, was invited to the jam sessions at the time when Auldridge arranged for the group to play as a performing band.

It’s been over 40 years since they began playing together and The Seldom Scene have become one of the single greatest contributors to the progression of bluegrass while setting a new standard and attracting new audiences to Bluegrass music. Their legendary weekly DC-area residencies included bluegrass versions of country music, rock, and even classical pop. The band's popularity soon forced them to play more than once a week—but they continued to maintain their image as being seldom seen, and on several of their early album covers were photographed with the stage lights on only their feet, or with their backs to the camera. The Seldom Scene has performed at the White House many times, and continues to tour year-round. The current lineup of Seldom Scene are founding member Ben Eldridge (banjo), Lou Reid (mandolin/vocals), Dudley Connell (guitar/vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (bass/vocals), and Fred Travers (dobro/vocals).

So what does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For the Seldom Scene, it's taken not only talented musicians, a signature sound, and a solid repertoire, but also a sheer sense of fun.

The longtime pillars of the bluegrass world are back with their latest titled CD, Long Time...Seldom Scene. This is The Seldom Scene's first ever release with Smithsonian Folkways, and captures the identity and playfulness that have endeared the group to audiences around the world for so long. The newly recorded collection features fresh interpretations of the 16 most requested tunes and is the band's first studio album since the GRAMMY nominated album Scenechronized in 2007. It's a family reunion in all the best ways, featuring the current-and longest running- lineup, joined by founding members Tom Gray and John Starling and guests Chris Eldridge, Emmylou Harris, and Rickie Simpkins. They will have this CD available with them at the Bluegrass for Hospice.

Throughout the day on October 25, there will be many vendors with an array of merchandise to sell 50/50 raffles throughout the day, a $500.00 money raffle, door prizes, and a silent auction with many fantastic items donated by the local community. There will be fine seafood and other specialty’s available for sale provided by the 3rd District Optimist Kruzin’ Kafe and alcohol is BYOB. The event is held inside at the closed and covered arena which is handicap accessible and portable bathroom facilities are located outside. Non-perishable food items will also be collected for the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Hollywood, MD.

Sponsors for Bluegrass for Hospice-2014 are: Ms. Christine R. Wray & Mr. John E. Felicitas; Hearing Professionals; Jan Barnes-Century 21 New Millennium; and many, many more. Cybergrass has been promoted Bluegrass for Hospice for many years.

Tickets are $25.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door. To purchase tickets in advance send a check or money order payable to “Hospice of St. Mary’s” along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box 741, California, MD 20619. The deadline for advanced tickets to be mailed is October 15, 2013. You can also get them instantly online through Brown Paper Tickets by going to www.bluegrassforhospice.com/4. Children under 12 are admitted for free with a paying adult. For more information on this year’s Bluegrass for Hospice-2014, call 301-737-3004 or go online at www.bluegrassforhospice.com.

Since the beginning 5 years ago, Bluegrass for Hospice has turned over $97,000.00 to the Hospice of St. Mary’s, Hospice House.

Tags: Bluegrass for HospiceThe Seldom SceneSeldom SceneBenefit ConcertEvent

Blue Highway's "The Game" Sits 3 Months at #1

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 22:39

Blue Highway's album, The Game has now been sitting happily in the #1 spot on the charts for three months!! The album has also been nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) Album of the Year and Song of the Year inthe upcoming annual IBMA Awards program.

“The Game,” the title cut of Blue Highway’s new album, is the tale of a rollicking gambler, stylistically kin to songs like the venerable “Wild Bill Jones,” and other bad man ballads. It is rife with recklessness, immoral behavior, and gunplay. It is the kind of stuff that abounds in the earliest bluegrass, yet is a new original song. It was written by Blue Highway’s Shawn Lane and Alison Krauss’ bass player Barry Bales, and sung by Lane with all the fierceness in his wild tenor voice.

Thanks to our awesome fans, all the fantastic DJ's who continue to play The Game, Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, and our amazing record label Rounder!!! We appreciate each of you .. THANK YOU for making The Game one of the Top Albums of the Year!!
  - Blue Highway

During their twenty years together, Blue Highway has maintained an unusually high level of excellence in their music, consistently turning out bluegrass that’s characteristically true to the principles of the genre while remaining both memorable and original. Amazingly, the original personnel from the band (which formed in 1994) remains intact, a remarkable achievement in itself, given the frequent mixing and matching of personnel that is more the norm (banjo player Jason Burleson did leave for a short period early on, but soon returned to the band.)

Tags: Blue HighwayThe GameCharts

Special Carter Fold Presentation with Barter Theatre - "Ring Of Fire"

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 22:38

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will partner with Barter Theatre to present Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Admission to the show is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors over 65, and $12 for children under 16. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Barter Theatre or at the door the night of the show. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Created by Richard Maltby, Jr., conceived by William Meade, and adapted from the Broadway Production by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Jason Edwards, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash brings to life one of the greatest musical legends of all time. As music historians know, the life and music of Johnny Cash is forever linked to the Carter Family of Scott County, Virginia, through his marriage to June Carter. June’s mother was Maybelle Carter – one of the Original Carter Family. After the Original Carter Family disbanded, Maybelle Carter went on to forge a career with her daughters as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. After June’s marriage to Johnny Cash, the act became part of the Johnny Cash Show. Thus the music of Johnny Cash and the Carter Family traveled the world and is known worldwide.

Barter Theatre and the Carter Family Fold first partnered in 2002 to present Keep on the Sunny Side – a beautiful play written by Dr. Doug Pote of Chilhowie, Virginia. The play ran many times at Barter, was presented multiple times at the Carter Fold, and toured the U.S. It has been presented since that time at various theaters throughout the U.S. Barter’s most-requested play, it forged a connection between the Carter Family Fold and Barter as well as the Carter Fold and Barter Theatre “families” that continues to this day.

Virginia’s State Theatre, Barter was created due to one man’s idea to have patrons pay with produce. From that humble beginning, Barter has grown today into a year-round theatre with more than 160,000 visitors each year. During the Depression, Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor, returned to his native southwest Virginia with an extraordinary proposition – bartering produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play. So on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre opened its doors, proclaiming With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh. The price of admission was 40 cents or the equivalent amount of produce. Four out of five attending in the Depression-era paid their way with vegetables, dairy products, and livestock.

The actors performing at the building were distracted not only by the occasional squealing pig or clucking hen, but noise from the town jail, which was located directly beneath the stage. Later used as a holding area for dogs suspected of rabies, it was eventually converted into dressing rooms for Barter actors. To the surprise of many, all the seats for the first show were filled. The concept of trading “ham for Hamlet” caught on quickly. At the end of the first season, the Barter Company cleared $4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly, and a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds. Today, at least one performance a year celebrates the Barter heritage by accepting donations for an area food bank as the price of admission.

See part of Carter Fold’s history come to life by joining us for the presentation of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Johnny’s last performances were on the stage of the Carter Family Fold – and that’s just how he and the Fold wanted it. Johnny was one of the Fold’s biggest advocates – performing many benefit concerts to help establish the venue and later to sustain it. He and June, along with all the Carter Family, helped create the Carter Family Museum and later relocate and rebuild the A.P. Carter birthplace cabin. Johnny Cash embraced the Carter Family with arms wide open – and an entire family did the same for him. Johnny’s career is unparalleled in terms of the types of music he’s known for – country, rock, folk, and gospel. His career spanned his entire lifetime, and he never stopped recording or creating. Undoubtedly, his version of Hurt will go down in history as one of the greatest recordings of all time. With a heart as big as Clinch Mountain itself, he touched the lives of everyone who ever heard him or knew him. The Fold is honored and humbled to present Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.

You can contact Barter Theatre by phone at 276-628-3991 or visit them on the web at http://www.bartertheatre.com/.

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

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

Tags: Carter Family FoldJohnny CashRing of FireBarter TheaterEvent

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn Collaborate on Debut Album

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 22:47

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, “the unofficial First Family of the Banjo” (NPR), will release their eponymous debut album October 7th on Rounder Records. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn is a front porch banjo and vocal album of new music, Appalachian murder ballads, gospel, chamber and blues; the culmination of a year-long tour as a duo in 2013, following the birth of their son, Juno.

Both widely credited for revitalizing and revolutionizing the banjo, Fleck and Washburn decided they were ready to collaborate. “We didn’t want any other instruments on there, because we’re into this idea that we’re banjo players, and that should be enough,” says Béla. “Sometimes when you add other instruments, you take away from the ability of the banjo to show all its colors, which are actually quite beautiful.”

The opening song “Railroad,” Abigail’s favorite as a little girl, was something her mother would sing to her. “Béla heard me singing this trippy version to Juno and said ‘you’re on to something there,’” says Washburn. The duo learned “Pretty Polly” from the recordings of another husband and wife team in music, EC and Orna Ball. The Victorian murder ballad is answer by Washburn’s heavy, driving “Shotgun Blues,” played on the cello banjo. She adds, “In almost all murder ballads in Appalachian music, it’s the woman that dies at the hands of some nasty misguided male. I take the reins in this song and seek retribution for all the ladies.”

In 2012, after attending Doc Watson’s funeral, Abigail began performing “And Am I Born to Die,” a sacred harp piece recorded by Watson. “Doc is one of the main reasons I play the banjo and sing American old-time music,” says Washburn.

A fifteen-time Grammy winner, Béla has devoted time away from his genre-busting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones to a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments, from writing a concerto for the Nashville Symphony to exploring the banjo’s African roots to jazz duos with Chick Corea, while Washburn has drawn critical acclaim for her solo albums, done fascinating work in folk musical diplomacy in China, presented an original theatrical production, contributed to singular side groups Uncle Earl and The Wu-Force and become quite a live draw in her own right.

“I’m a big fan of Abby’s playing,” adds Fleck. “I do a lot of heady music. When I play with Abby, there’s an opportunity for me to make music that hits you in a different place emotionally. That’s one of her gifts, is a pure connection to the listener, taking simpler ideas and imbuing them with a lot of personality and a point of view.”

“I come from the old-time world,” says Abigail, “which is more about communally trancing-out on old fiddle and banjo tunes. It has very little to do with soloing or anything technical or virtuosic. So for me to try to learn Béla’s music has been a big challenge, but a wonderful one. Although I'm a very different type of player, I feel very lucky that he’s a musical mentor to me. It’s a beautiful part of our connection.”

Track list:

  1. “Railroad”
  2. “Ride to You”
  3. “What’cha Gonna Do”
  4. “Little Birdie”
  5. “New South Africa”
  6. “Pretty Polly”
  7. “Shotgun Blues”
  8. “For Children: No. 3 Quasi adagio, No 10 Allegro Molto - Children’s Dance”
  9. “And Am I Born to Die”
  10. “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?”
  11. “Banjo Banjo”
  12. “Bye Bye Baby Blues”
Tags: Bela FleckAbigail WashburnCD Release

Emerging Artist Nominee, Town Mountain, Releasing New Album

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 22:43

Ashville, NC -- IBMA Emerging Artist Nominee, Town Mountain, set to release their first official live album, Town Mountain: Live At The Isis, on Tuesday, August 19th. 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 fourth studio album Leave The Bottle [Pinecastle Records 2012].

Leave the Bottle, which was produced by Mike Bub, garnered the band much positive praise. Bluegrass Today’s David Morris says, “I’m not sure what the definition of bluegrass would be in words alone, but if that definition was set to music, it would probably sound something like Town Mountain’s Leave the Bottle... I could go on… There are no duds, and no filler songs on this project. But you get the point. This, my friends, is how bluegrass is supposed to sound.” The Bluegrass Situation’s Devon Leger repeats this reflection saying, “They play bluegrass. Period. They play it hard, they play it fast, and they play it like their fingers are bleeding and their picks are breaking.”

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.

This nomination follows last year’s honor of receiving IBMA Momentum Awards for “Band of the Year” and lead singer Robert Greer for “Vocalist of the Year.” The members of Town Mountain have thought long and hard about their cultivated roots music groove with strong focus on crafting original material. “Without doubt, this band has fine writing chops,” writes Donald Teplyske in the Lonesome Road Review.
The past two years have pushed Town Mountain into the upper tier of acoustic bands and they have found themselves along the side of some of the best artists today at some of the most prestigious festivals in the country such as MerleFest, Grey Fox, Rockygrass, Suwannee Springfest and the Targhee Bluegrass Festival just to mention a few.

“It’s a proud moment in Town Mountain’s history, for sure,” said banjoist Jesse Langlais to acclaimed journalist Derek Halsey after last years awards show. “We’re out there doing what we do because we love to play the music… it is really nice to be recognized by the IBMA and we have experienced some good things to come from it already. When you look at it as this big wheel that is spinning, the music industry wheel, it’s great and hopefully we can live up to those momentous expectations and I think we will. We will do what we can to help to carry the legacy of the music on and make the IBMA and all who believe in Town Mountain proud of what we do.”

The group has focused on the goal of creating a unique sound and brand while still giving a nod and a wink to the traditional side of the bluegrass genre. Juli Thanki of Engine 145 says, “Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record [Leave the Bottle] a treat for any bluegrass fan.”

Town Mountain has been busy writing new songs for their next studio effort which will be out in early 2015. For a sneak peak at what to expect for their future recording, watch the band perform some of their new original songs in this wonderful session filmed by Boulder’s Second Story Garage while the were in the area to perform at this year’s Rockygrass:

Tags: Town MountainTown Mountain: Live At The IsisCD ReleaseIBMA Awards

The Roys Sign Booking Agreement With Buddy Lee Attractions

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 22:40

Nashville, TN -- The Roys have signed an exclusive booking agreement with Buddy Lee Attractions for worldwide representation. The deal was solidified yesterday in advance of the award-winning Bluegrass/Country duo's September 2 CD release, The View, on Rural Rhythm Records.

"We're very excited," says Elaine Roy. "Nobody knows this business better." Lee notes, "They've broken some of the biggest acts of all time, handled Bill Monroe throughout his career, and continue to represent some of today's biggest entertainers. We're thrilled to join their roster."

Established in 1964, Buddy Lee Attractions is Nashville's largest privately owned talent agency. Throughout the past 50 years, the company has developed and represented George Strait, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and the Dixie Chicks. Currently, Gwen Sebastian, Steve Holy, Jason Michael Carroll and Duck Dynasty's Mountain Man make their home at BLA.

BLA Senior Vice President David Kiswiney comments, "The entire BLA Team is excited to sign The Roys! We look forward to representing them for Festivals, Fairs and Performing Arts Centers. We know that they will be a welcome addition to any event marquis."

Currently, The Roys are at #3 on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Chart with The View'S first single, "No More Lonely," and are gearing up for a special Labor Day weekend CD release party on SiriusXM's Bluegrass Junction channel.

Massachusetts natives raised in Canada, The Roys draw on a wealth of family musical talent and heritage. Their incredible sibling harmonies, clear-as-a-bell lead vocals and contemporary musicianship have seen them rise to the forefront of the Bluegrass scene in recent years. The reigning ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Awards' 2013 Bluegrass Artist of the Year, The Roys were named Top Bluegrass Artist at the 10th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) earlier this year. Lee and Elaine were previously honored with the following ICM Awards: 2012 No. 1 Inspirational Country Single, 2012 & 2011 Bluegrass Artist of the Year and 2010 & 2009 Duo of the Year. They have performed throughout the U.S., Australia, Canada and Europe and have shared the stage with Chris Young, Doyle Lawson, Rhonda Vincent, Neal McCoy, Lady Antebellum and The Oak Ridge Boys.We

Tags: The RoysBuddy Lee AttractionsBusiness

Pages