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Nu-Blu: Giving Back in a Big Way

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 20:47

With a jam packed tour schedule that keeps them on the road over 200 days each year, Nu-Blu still takes time to give back and use their talents to further the music they love. Working with several partners, including Peterson Tuners, Saga Instruments, Daddario Strings, and The Foundation for Bluegrass Music, they are taking bluegrass music into the schools everywhere they can... and it's not just introducing kids to the music!

They have developed a system that not only allows them to get bluegrass in front of kids, but also gives back in a major way by working hand-in-hand with the schools to provide fundraising for those music programs. In some schools they have been able to help raise the funding to start a music program where none existed.

"It's all about community," says Daniel Routh, guitarist of Nu-Blu. "When you can get kids excited about the music, and then provide the needed funding, along with involving the community, you create something that going to continue year after year. That's our goal with our school programs."

The most recent of these programs just wrapped up in the Evergreen School district in northern California. Last week Nu-Blu visited 3 schools in the district, performing for over 1500 students in the elementary and middle schools. They ended the week on Thursday night with a fundraising concert held right at Evergreen Elementary School. Music Director Abbie Ehorn says, "We never thought that we would get a national band on the level of Nu-Blu to come into our schools! They were so gracious and so easy to work with, and they really connected with the students. Not only did they introduce bluegrass to our community, but there was enough money raised to purchase 22 ukeleles for the music program!"

Want to have Nu-Blu in your school? Contact them at nu-blu@nu-blu.com

Nu-Blu, based in Siler City in central North Carolina, is comprised of Carolyn Routh, who handles bass and vocals; Clint White, on mandolin and fiddle; T.G. Honaker on banjo & vocals and Daniel Routh, who is the band's Renaissance Man - guitarist, singer, manager, and tour coordinator, among many other roles. The group brings its lively and entertaining version of Americana-bluegrass music to audiences across the nation year-round. Their sound acknowledges the traditional institutions that have shaped it, yet is innovative and daring enough to bring a fresh sparkle to contemporary acoustic music that lands them squarely in the forefront of bands blazing the trail in acoustic entertainment. Influences range from the sounds of original bluegrass pioneers like Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and Lester Flatt to rock bands of the 1980's, and modern contemporary sounds such as Alison Krauss and Union Station. Carolyn's soprano vocal approach might be described as similar to Ms. Krauss, except she carries a phrasing and emotional elegance that shows a clear originality. Daniel and T.J. provide inventive singing to fill out the vocal sound, while all four members present instrumental prowess to impress.

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Tags: Nu-BluBluegrass in the SchoolsPromotionBusinessEducation

Balsam Range’s Music Video of “Eldorado Blue”

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 20:27
Asheville, NC -- Balsam Range is currently touring in support of Mountain Voodoo, their sixth studio album, on Mountain Home Music Company. With it, they are offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerise fans of bluegrass and beyond with elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music that are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It's five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience.

Mountain Voodoo, released last November, is like the book of life "Chapter Six" for Balsam Range; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with heavy, deep ballads overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.

Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members, who are celebrating their 10th year together this March, are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

"Fans who grew up in a small town will find plenty to relate to in 'Eldorado Blue,' a song that explores the dilemma of whether or not you even want to spread your wings and leave home. Balsam Range describe the song as 'a story of finding oneself and recognizing contentment in life is something we can all stand to do.'"
 --Amy McCarthy for The Boot's World Premiere of the Music Video for "Eldorado Blue"

"Already accomplished musicians, in a decade they've won ten IBMA awards (International Bluegrass Music Association) released five albums, toured nationally, made multiple Grand Ole Opry stops and, in general, have become icons in the world of professional bluegrass. The fellas can both sing and pick."
--Asheville Citizen Times, Carol Rifkin

For all tour dates for the Mountain Voodoo and other stops, visit the Balsam Range website as the most current and accurate list of dates.

Tags: Balsam RangeVideo PremiereMountain VoodooEldorado BlueThe Boot

Ray Cardwell’s “Tennessee Moon” Making an Early Splash

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 18:31

Nashville, TN - Ray Cardwell is having a big impact in the bluegrass world in the first weeks after the release of his debut Pinecastle Records album Tennessee Moon. The first single from the album, title track “Tennessee Moon,” is on Bluegrass Today’s Monthly Airplay Chart for January. Cardwell and his band along with Curtis Burch and producer Pat Flynn recently visited local television station WBKO in Bowling Green, KY for a live interview and performance which, can be viewed here.

Other examples of chart action include the title cut “Tennessee Moon” currently at #2 on the Roots Music Report’s Bluegrass Chart. Three other songs that have also charted are “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Think About Me,” and "His Will." The album has consistently been on the Top 50 Bluegrass Albums Chart for Roots Music Report. The album has ranked repeatedly within the top ten of Airplay Direct’s current Top 50 Bluegrass/Folk albums.

“Ray Cardwell is a man after my own heart, an extremely gifted soulful singer, a wicked bass player…and a hard working songwriter who understands not only the tradition of bluegrass music but the importance of having his own unique voice in the Amen Corner.”
  ~ John Cowan

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

Notable press interviews within the bluegrass industry include: WSM, live with the legendary Bill Cody; Big Al Weekley on WMMT (Whitesburg, KY); Jeff Miller, host of the Flashpoint Bluegrass Radio Show on WorldWideBluegrass.com; and Bob Webster's Bluegrass for Lunch on WLOE, with a simulcast on Bluegrass Country on 105.5 FM, WAMU 88.5 HD 2 and streaming at bluegrasscountry.org. Also, Nashville Lifestyle magazine showcased Cardwell in a full-page Spotlight section.

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

Tennessee Moon features Cardwell on lead and baritone vocals plus bass. Cuts from the album combine the sound of contemporary bluegrass with hints of blues and soul all elevated by Cardwell’s charismatic command of performance. Nine of twelve songs on the album are Ray Cardwell originals or co-written. Tennessee Moon was produced by famed guitarist/New Grass Revival member Pat Flynn who gathered a band of bluegrass elite to include: Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band); Danny Roberts (The Grascals); Andy Leftwich (Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder) and Rob Ickes (Blue Highway). Bluegrass Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry star Jesse McReynolds plays mandolin on the title cut, and contributing harmony vocals are Ronnie Bowman, Claire Lynch and John Cowan, the former New Grass Revival lead singer/bassist who sings harmony on nine of Cardwell’s tracks.

Tags: Ray CardwellTennessee MoonDebutCD Release

Carter Family Fold hosts Cabin Creek Boys Saturday

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 19:50

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, February 25th, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of old time music by the Cabin Creek Boys. The Cabin Creek Boys play old time hillbilly music from the mountains of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina, performing at area festivals, fiddlers' conventions, square dances, and other community events.

The Cabin Creek Boys are led by multi-instrumentalist husband and wife duo Chris and Erika Testerman of Lansing, North Carolina, the band also includes Jackson Cunningham of Grant, Virginia, on guitar; Trish Kilby Fore of Galax, Virginia, on clawhammer banjo; and Jerry Steinberg of Salem, Virginia, on upright bass.

Chris Testerman was raised in the Whitetop section of Grayson County, Virginia. While attending Mount Rogers Combined School, he became interested in fiddle playing and was a member of the Mount Rogers School String Band. After a lot of hard work, determination, and guidance from mentors Thornton and Emily Spencer, Chris has now become a strong Whitetop-style fiddler. Chris toured Canada in 2013 and the United Kingdom in 2014 with the Whitetop Mountain Band. Following in the footsteps of another legendary Whitetop fiddler, Albert Hash, Chris also builds fiddles. He learned much of his craft from Audrey Hash Ham and Archie Elmer Powers. Chris also sings harmony for the Cabin Creek Boys in the style of the early Stanley Brothers recordings.

Erika Testerman, originally from Mount Airy, North Carolina, grew up in a musical community and was taught and influenced by well-known Surry County musicians Chester McMillian and Mac and Steve Snow. Erika and Chris teach in the Sparta School's Junior Appalachian Musicians program and feel it is important to pass on the area's musical traditions to the younger generation. Many times during the Cabin Creek Boys performances, Erika will lay down her guitar, pick up a fiddle, and join Chris on a few toe-tapping tunes. Erika also brings a real talent for singing to the Cabin Creek Boys.

Jackson Cunningham, from southern Oregon, is no stranger to old time and bluegrass. He grew up around music and has been playing guitar and singing most of his life. He has toured in many different states and abroad, including both England and Australia. Like Chris, Jackson is a luthier and specializes in building guitars and fiddles. He learned most of his techniques from Wayne Henderson, Herb Key, and Audrey Hash Ham. Jackson does most of the lead singing for the Cabin Creek Boys and will happily pull out his mandolin for a tune on occasion.

Born and raised in the Lansing community of Ashe County, Trish Kilby Fore began playing the clawhammer banjo after suffering a knee injury playing softball. Trish was fortunate to be around many good musicians growing up and attended jam sessions and dances with her grandparents. Trish's banjo playing style was influenced by Emily Spencer, Enoch Rutherford, Harold B. Hausenfluck, and Larry Pennington. In 1997, Trish had the opportunity to tour Germany and France with the old time band Farmer's Daughters. Married to banjo player and maker Kevin Fore, Trish often plays a Round Peak banjo with a formica checkerboard design neck he made for her. Trish also sings a few songs with the Cabin Creek Boys.

Although Jerry Steinberg was not born in Virginia, he got here as quickly as he could, and he has made his home in Salem, Virginia, for most of his life. Jerry learned to play the bass in his mid-thirties and was lucky to get his start in old time with Kyle Creed and in bluegrass with Ted Lundy. Jerry's timing is the foundation for the Cabin Creek Boys' hard-driving, high-energy and danceable beat. Jerry can walk, slap, and chime the bass. A walking encyclopedia of old time, bluegrass and hillbilly music, Jerry is often sought out by fellow musicians, academics, and the Bluegrass Unlimited magazine to answer those "hard-to-answer" type questions.

The Cabin Creek Boys have fun entertaining audiences with their style of traditional music that includes old time hoedown instrumentals, bluegrass songs, two-step numbers and waltzes. They love to make people happy with their music. Go to FB at https://www.facebook.com/The-Cabin-Creek-Boys-549757691876035/ to check out the band. Come on out and join us for the group's debut performance at the Fold.

Fans of the Whitetop Mountain Band will love the Cabin Creek Boys. Bring your dancing shoes and all your friends and family for a carefree night in the place country music got its' start – at the foot of the beautiful Clinch Mountains. The Carter Family Fold is an alcohol and drug free facility, and we emphasize fun for the whole family. Concert admission is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

Tags: Cabin Creek BoysCarter Family FoldConcertEventOld-Time

East of Monroe Releases New Single

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 18:18
Up and coming, Virginia and Maryland-based Americana/bluegrass band, East Of Monroe is releasing a new single from their record By The River's Edge. The new single, "Say What You Mean", written by the band's guitar player and also one of the lead vocalists, Gary Alan Ferguson, was the winner of the 2015 DCBU Hazel Dickens Songwriting contest.

East Of Monroe records and plays mostly original tunes along with a few covers of some diverse favorites. The deeply experienced band members all have different influences and backgrounds that account for the many styles of music the group plays. This all creates a melting pot of pleasant and enjoyable music for the listener as it comes together in a unique and entertaining way. Their new release, By The River's Edge, has placed them in a position to be a force on the acoustic scene.

"While reviewing some new CDs and music for The Grass You Love, I happened upon East of Monroe. Before I realized it I had listened to the entire project! Great album! Above all else, a great listening album! Highly recommended!"
  ~ Kenneth Berrier, "The Grass You Love" on WEHC Emory, Virginia & WOPI Bristol, Tennessee

East Of Monroe showcases the talents of Billy Budd on bass, Gary Alan Ferguson on lead guitar, mandolin and vocals, Jackie Frost on guitar and vocals, Lisa Kay Howard Hughes on mandolin and vocals, Wally Hughes on fiddle, resonator guitar and vocals, and Terry Wittenberg on banjo and vocals.

East Of Monroe has a rescheduled CD Release party (due to a snow storm earlier in the year) on March 16th at The Kenmore Inn in Fredericksburg, VA. where you can hear this and the many of the other tracks from this terrific new acoustic record live and in person.

By The River's Edge, with new single "Say What You Mean", is available for radio programmers on AirPlay Direct and publicly on popular download sites or the band website.

Tags: East of MonroeCD ReleaseBy The River's EdgeSingleSay What You Mean

Eddie Adcock to Return for Neurological Update

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 18:55
Bluegrass banjo fans will remember that in 2008, Eddie Adcock went in for his first brain surgery to correct a condition that was impacting his playing. Since that time, he has gone in for additional surgeries to maintain his deep brain stimulation surgery. A battery powered device was installed and it is possible that the battery needs attention.

Martha Adcock announced that Eddie is going in again for some needed evaluation and procedures. Eddie will be visiting with his neurosurgeons next week to get things functioning properly again. Their upcoming event has been cancelled as a result of this new concern.

Due to the sudden onset of electronic difficulty with his DBS brain implant unit, Eddie Adcock must go "into the shop" to have it corrected!
 
It's likely the unit's main battery has run down, as we were told it eventually would. So he'll see his wonderful neurosurgeon early next week for evaluation, and we'll get things set right a.s.a.p.
 
Many will remember that Eddie's ground-breaking brain surgery is what has been enabling him to play for the last few years despite having a right-hand tremor. And if you're not familiar with Eddie's "bionic" status, you can even Google the information online. It's really something! Just search 'Eddie Adcock Brain'.

We'd been looking forward to seeing all of you, and we'll be looking forward to the next time we do! Thanks so much for all your support, and be sure to go have fun at the Shepherdsville Music Barn whenever you can. Your hosts Gary Brewer and all the folks there will take good care of you!
 
We appreciate your prayers in this --and always-- and we'll hope to see you there soon, so keep watch for a new date for Eddie & Martha Adcock at the Shepherdsville Music Barn!!
 
Your pals, Martha & Eddie Tags: Eddie AdcockMedicalBanjo

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice Release Single from New Album

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 19:56

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is excited to announce the release of new music from Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. "What Goes Around Comes Around" is the first single from the new album and is available to radio today. The Mountains Are Calling Me Home, Sisk's second album for Mountain Fever Records, will be released March 24th.

By now, every diehard bluegrass fan, and even those that are just now discovering America's music, has become enamored with the vocal talents of the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year, Junior Sisk. The native Virginian has become a staple among bluegrass festivals across the country and his latest recordings have been unbelievably well received by radio. Sisk's 2011 album, Heart Of A Song, led by the highly successful single, "A Far Cry From Lester And Earl," became a rallying cry for a resurgence of traditional sounds in bluegrass and received the IBMA's 2012 Song of the Year and Album of the Year. Further, Sisk won IBMA's 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year and he and Ramblers Choice were named the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America's (SPBGMA) 2014 Bluegrass Band of the Year. The string of successful ventures has continued with the band signing to Mountain Fever Records and releasing Poor Boy's Pleasure which delivered the IBMA's 2016 Recorded Event of the Year for "Longneck Blues." And earlier this month, Sisk won SPBGMA's Male Vocalist of the Year.

Music fans have come to expect nothing but the best from Sisk and his ensemble, and he has consistently delivered, this time with his new album, The Mountains Are Calling Me Home, due for release March 24th. The first single, "What Goes Around" is a fine example of Sisk's knack for finding great music. Penned by award winning songwriter Daniel Salyer, Sisk says, "'What Goes Around Comes Around' has never been recorded before. It's a saying that I have heard all my life and it rings true most of the time."

"What Goes Around Comes Around" is now available to radio via AirPlay Direct or a direct digital download by emailing a request to radio@mountainfever.com. The Mountains Are Calling Me Home will be released March 24th but consumers may pre-order the album now via iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play and will receive an instant download of "What Goes Around." For more information on the Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, visit www.JuniorSisk.us.

Tags: Junior Sisk & Ramblers ChoiceSingleWhat Goes Around Comes Around

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2017 Lineup Announced

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 21:35

Oak Hill, NY -- While deep snows have been falling all over upstate New York, plans are already set for this summer's world famous Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival held each year in the Catskill Mountains at Oak Hill, New York. This event really is a Who's Who of Bluegrass Music and people come from all over the country and from other countries to experience this gathering of music, learning, family & friends. Many personal reunions for artists, fans and pickers happen annually at this historic event. This year's four-day event takes place July 13 through 16, 2017.

Taking a deep breath, artists schedule to appear this year include Dry Branch Fire Squad, Our Host Band, The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas Band, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Gibson Brothers, The Travelin' McCouries, Jeff Austin Band, Grateful Ball, The SteelDrivers, Sarah Jarosz, The O'Connor Band with Mark O'Connor, Balsam Range, Michael Daves & Friends featuring Tony Trischka, Julian Lage & Chris Elddridge, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Billy Strings, Cabinet, Molly Tuttle, The Lil' Smokies, David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition, Trout Steak Revival, Jordan Tice & Horse County, Compton & Newberry, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, The Mike+Ruthy Band, and Bill & The Belles.

As you can clearly see, there is more than enough quality entertainment to keep you well satisfied and ensure your fill of bluegrass music for the entire duration of this outstanding festival.

Grey Fox is very much about learning. Learning to play better. Learning to sing. Learning how to jam. Learning to dance. Getting valuable advice from business professionals. Learning how to care for your instrument. Learn how to meditate. Even learning to be a clown. Fun and enriching learning activities abound from opening day through the weekend at several venues around the grounds:

SLOW JAMS at the Slow Jam Tent
If you’re a beginning player, check this out for beginning instrumental and vocal classes and the very popular slow jams on Friday and Saturday. Here you’ll find patient, knowledgable mentors who’ll lead you through the basics. Slow jams are slowed down and repeated enough so that everyone can keep up.
HANDS ON WORKSHOPS at the Grass Roots Stage
This venue offers a mix of hands-on workshops, mini-concerts, and Q&A sessions with bluegrass music’s top instructors and performers. Bring your instrument and expect to learn a thing or two that just might take your playing and singing to the next level. Or just come and enjoy!
LEARN TO DANCE at the Catskill Stage
Possibly our most varied stage, you can begin your day learning to meditate, breathe and stretch in healthful yoga sessions, then be expertly led through invigorating square and contra dances. Later the Catskill Stage presents some of your favorite bands in concert, and finishes late in the night with the best dance bands in the business.
KIDS STUFF at the Family Stage
Here kids of all ages enjoy learning to tie dye their own tee shirt, make instruments, do nature crafts, participate in yoga for kids, and more. And it’s here that Gary the Silent Clown (formerly with Ringling Brothers Circus) heads up the Grey Fox Clown College for 6th graders and up. All really fun. All really kid friendly.
BLUEGRASS ACADEMY FOR KIDS at the BGA Tent
Since 1999, Grey Fox has been teaching kids to play, sing and perform traditional bluegrass music for four days during the festival. Program info and registration.
BERKLEE & IBMA PRESENTATIONS at the Creekside Stage
While the Creekside Stage is an intimate tented concert venue for much of the day, workshops, discussions and presentations in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association and Berklee College of Music often start the day at the Creekside Stage. Check the schedule for upcoming sessions that can help aspiring musicians learn about the business side of bluegrass or find out about programs at Berklee.

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA), established in 1999, is a free four-day learning program held each year during Grey Fox. The program teaches children (age 8-17) to play, sing and perform bluegrass music. BGA consists of sectional instruction with their assigned instrumental teacher; ensemble sessions with the entire group; harmony singing lessons; and guest appearances by musicians who are performing at Grey Fox. The program’s grand finale is a ‘graduation gig’ Sunday afternoon on the High Meadow Stage. Approximately 100-120 kids participate in BGA each year. Students have fun, learn a lot, grow in confidence and make friends that can last a lifetime.

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is committed to keeping traditional bluegrass alive by passing it on to our younger generation. Several bluegrass festivals now have learning programs based on the Grey Fox model. BGA instructors and administrators have been invited to speak about youth education at the IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference, Leadership Bluegrass, and at the International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON). The Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA) has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, the IBMA newsletter, regional bluegrass association publications and in the Voice of America Radio online magazine. Above all else, we are most pleased to be connecting kids with bluegrass music.

Tickets are still available so head on over to www.greyfoxbluegrass.com to get yours and then start packing to head out to the Catskils of New York for one heck of a fine bluegrass festival.

Tags: Grey FoxBluegrass FestivalLineupEvent

Grammy Nominated Blue Highway Brings Concert Booking In House

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 21:30

Bristol, TN -- Sizzling hot off a Grammy Nomination on Sunday in Los Angeles, respected 23-year strong bluegrass powerhouse Blue Highway announced today it is bringing the band's concert booking in house. The five-member, award-winning Blue Highway writes their own songs, produces their own albums, and effective February 10, will book their own shows from within the Blue Highway family.

Before promoters start looking for a call from Blue Highway's force on the five Jason Burleson, the band is quick to relay they are adding Booking Agent to the hats currently worn by Sherri George, their Tour Manager and Publicist since 2014.

"We like the way Sherri represents Blue Highway," said Wayne Taylor, the newest member of Virginia's Country Music Hall of Fame. "We now feel like we have the right person in place to bring everything including booking under the Blue Highway umbrella. Sherri has become our right arm, and we are thrilled to have her serve as our Agent. I can assure you, if you're talking to Sherri, you have the ear of this band."

"Sherri George is our eyes, our ears, and our good right arm. I'd trust her with anything," echoes Shawn Lane, heralded high tenor and lead vocalist, explosive on both fiddle and mandolin, and a highly respected songwriter nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year.

It would appear the Sports Industry-trained PR pro won Blue Highway's trust from day one, as remarkably she's the first Publicist the band has hired in 23 years.

When it came time for a vote in the infamous Blue Highway democracy regarding booking, the band's newest member, Dobro phenom Gaven Largent, reportedly exclaimed, "Shoot, yeah!" Largent's official statement was more formal, but still glowing: "I think Sherri is one of the hardest working, most polite and driven people I've ever been around, and I'm looking forward to what she'll do as our Agent! We're all proud of the way Sherri represents us, and it was a unanimous decision."

Famous as the Blue Highway democracy is its sometimes slow decision making, but supersonic speed might best describe a literally overnight decision to bring booking in house and expand their tour manager's role in the band. Why?

Glance at her resume ... Sherri's first position was with the NBA League Office in New York within the marketing arm of the league, in a year that lucrative arm brought in a cool $1.2 billion. Fast forward from there to University of Kentucky Athletics, where she created what then UK Associate AD Kyle Moats called a model program throughout the country, adding Sherri had wonderful people skills coupled with a relentless pursuit of perfection and ability to succeed. The Celebrity Guest Coach Program at UK brought in over $70,000 in corporate sponsorships in three months, increased overall event attendance by 55%, and secured international publicity for Lady Kat Basketball. George also created and taught one of the first Sports PR courses of its kind in the nation while in graduate school at Utah State University.

Her Bluegrass resume sparkles just as bright, as her first role was as publicist for beloved Hall of Fame member Doyle Lawson. George created the Children's Hospital and Arena Tour for the bluegrass legend, sending Lawson and his band to visit children's hospitals throughout the Southeast, touching hearts of kids and their parents with their signature harmony and kindness. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's visibility also skyrocketed on the tour, as they performed the National Anthem from nationally televised NASCAR races to center court on the glistening hardwood of both NBA and NCAA Men's Basketball games.

Blue Highway's accolades have also sparkled over the past three years, with a sample including:

  • IBMA Album and Song of the Year Nominee 'The Game' was #1 for 7 consecutive months on Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart. June-Dec 2014.
  • Tim Stafford was honored as 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year and 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year. Shawn Lane was nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year, while Gaven Largent was nominated as 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Player of the Year.
  • Blue Highway was voted the 'Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time' by readers of Bluegrass Today. April 2016.
  • Wayne Taylor was the 2016 Inductee into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. Oct 2016.
  • Blue Highway's #1 album Original Traditional was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

Thinking of booking Blue Highway? Add to that list of accolades the dollar signs which accompany Blue Highway, as Sold Out shows accounted for half their concerts in 2015.

Also add to the list, a new agent inside the band with a goal of ensuring promoters feel like VIP family.

"One of the reasons Blue Highway is so loved and respected is the way they treat others," said Sherri George. "When promoters book Blue Highway now, we want them to be treated like family and the valued VIP's they truly are. Blue Highway's goal is a Win-Win scenario every time a contract is signed, and we'll back it up with the one of the best bands in Bluegrass and all we can do from a promotion standpoint, with Blue Highway social media, e-blasts, and even press releases if needed."

"I like how promoters will have a one-stop shop with Sherri booking our shows," said Gaven Largent. "She has her hands in all of Blue Highway's cookie jars, so she can book a show AND advertise that show heavily in Blue Highway social media. She can do it all."

Often the voice of the band, the Grammy-winning, highly respected vocalist, guitarist, producer, teacher, and author Tim Stafford summed up the band's enthusiasm as it embarks on a new phase in Blue Highway history: "We are excited about our new booking agent! Sherri George is a wonderful person, top-notch, professional and hard-working. Entering its 23rd year, the band couldn't be happier, and we look forward to seeing everyone out on the road!"

To book the award-winning supergroup Blue Highway, please go to http://www.BlueHighwayBand.com/Mgt-Booking for contact info for Blue Highway's new in house agent, Sherri George.

Tags: Blue HighwaySherri GeorgeBusinessBand Announcement

Grammy Nominated Blue Highway Brings Concert Booking In House

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 21:30

Bristol, TN -- Sizzling hot off a Grammy Nomination on Sunday in Los Angeles, respected 23-year strong bluegrass powerhouse Blue Highway announced today it is bringing the band's concert booking in house. The five-member, award-winning Blue Highway writes their own songs, produces their own albums, and effective February 10, will book their own shows from within the Blue Highway family.

Before promoters start looking for a call from Blue Highway's force on the five Jason Burleson, the band is quick to relay they are adding Booking Agent to the hats currently worn by Sherri George, their Tour Manager and Publicist since 2014.

"We like the way Sherri represents Blue Highway," said Wayne Taylor, the newest member of Virginia's Country Music Hall of Fame. "We now feel like we have the right person in place to bring everything including booking under the Blue Highway umbrella. Sherri has become our right arm, and we are thrilled to have her serve as our Agent. I can assure you, if you're talking to Sherri, you have the ear of this band."

"Sherri George is our eyes, our ears, and our good right arm. I'd trust her with anything," echoes Shawn Lane, heralded high tenor and lead vocalist, explosive on both fiddle and mandolin, and a highly respected songwriter nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year.

It would appear the Sports Industry-trained PR pro won Blue Highway's trust from day one, as remarkably she's the first Publicist the band has hired in 23 years.

When it came time for a vote in the infamous Blue Highway democracy regarding booking, the band's newest member, Dobro phenom Gaven Largent, reportedly exclaimed, "Shoot, yeah!" Largent's official statement was more formal, but still glowing: "I think Sherri is one of the hardest working, most polite and driven people I've ever been around, and I'm looking forward to what she'll do as our Agent! We're all proud of the way Sherri represents us, and it was a unanimous decision."

Famous as the Blue Highway democracy is its sometimes slow decision making, but supersonic speed might best describe a literally overnight decision to bring booking in house and expand their tour manager's role in the band. Why?

Glance at her resume ... Sherri's first position was with the NBA League Office in New York within the marketing arm of the league, in a year that lucrative arm brought in a cool $1.2 billion. Fast forward from there to University of Kentucky Athletics, where she created what then UK Associate AD Kyle Moats called a model program throughout the country, adding Sherri had wonderful people skills coupled with a relentless pursuit of perfection and ability to succeed. The Celebrity Guest Coach Program at UK brought in over $70,000 in corporate sponsorships in three months, increased overall event attendance by 55%, and secured international publicity for Lady Kat Basketball. George also created and taught one of the first Sports PR courses of its kind in the nation while in graduate school at Utah State University.

Her Bluegrass resume sparkles just as bright, as her first role was as publicist for beloved Hall of Fame member Doyle Lawson. George created the Children's Hospital and Arena Tour for the bluegrass legend, sending Lawson and his band to visit children's hospitals throughout the Southeast, touching hearts of kids and their parents with their signature harmony and kindness. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's visibility also skyrocketed on the tour, as they performed the National Anthem from nationally televised NASCAR races to center court on the glistening hardwood of both NBA and NCAA Men's Basketball games.

Blue Highway's accolades have also sparkled over the past three years, with a sample including:

  • IBMA Album and Song of the Year Nominee 'The Game' was #1 for 7 consecutive months on Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart. June-Dec 2014.
  • Tim Stafford was honored as 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year and 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year. Shawn Lane was nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year, while Gaven Largent was nominated as 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Player of the Year.
  • Blue Highway was voted the 'Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time' by readers of Bluegrass Today. April 2016.
  • Wayne Taylor was the 2016 Inductee into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. Oct 2016.
  • Blue Highway's #1 album Original Traditional was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

Thinking of booking Blue Highway? Add to that list of accolades the dollar signs which accompany Blue Highway, as Sold Out shows accounted for half their concerts in 2015.

Also add to the list, a new agent inside the band with a goal of ensuring promoters feel like VIP family.

"One of the reasons Blue Highway is so loved and respected is the way they treat others," said Sherri George. "When promoters book Blue Highway now, we want them to be treated like family and the valued VIP's they truly are. Blue Highway's goal is a Win-Win scenario every time a contract is signed, and we'll back it up with the one of the best bands in Bluegrass and all we can do from a promotion standpoint, with Blue Highway social media, e-blasts, and even press releases if needed."

"I like how promoters will have a one-stop shop with Sherri booking our shows," said Gaven Largent. "She has her hands in all of Blue Highway's cookie jars, so she can book a show AND advertise that show heavily in Blue Highway social media. She can do it all."

Often the voice of the band, the Grammy-winning, highly respected vocalist, guitarist, producer, teacher, and author Tim Stafford summed up the band's enthusiasm as it embarks on a new phase in Blue Highway history: "We are excited about our new booking agent! Sherri George is a wonderful person, top-notch, professional and hard-working. Entering its 23rd year, the band couldn't be happier, and we look forward to seeing everyone out on the road!"

To book the award-winning supergroup Blue Highway, please go to http://www.BlueHighwayBand.com/Mgt-Booking for contact info for Blue Highway's new in house agent, Sherri George.

Tags: Blue HighwaySherri GeorgeBusinessBand Announcement

Dolly Parton Wins 8th Grammy Award with Pentatonix Collaboration

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 21:11
World-renowned singer/songwriter/entertainer Dolly Parton continues racking up the honors! In 2014, The Recording Academy inducted Parton's self-penned hit "Jolene" into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Now, in 2017, that same song, released as a collaboration with Pentatonix, was awarded a Grammy in the Country Duo/Group Performance category. Watch the collaborative performance below.

"Oh my Lord I am so excited to have won the Grammy with Pentatonix on my old song 'Jolene'," says Dolly Parton. "I am so happy and am so very proud of Pentatonix. The song is one of my favorites. Thanks to the Grammys, but most importantly thanks to all the fans. I love you all."

The award-winning collaboration between Pentatonix and Parton happened through a partnership with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which has enjoyed success with both acts in the past with exclusive editions of albums from each. In Parton’s case, the partnership stretches back to her 2009 Backwoods Barbie Collector's Edition project, which was followed by the release of An Evening With…Dolly and became the first Gold album-ever certified by the RIAA for Cracker Barrel Music. That relationship has continued with her latest Dolly Records / RCA Records release Pure & Simple. Released in the summer of 2016, the album – which netted Dolly her first chart-topping album since 1991 – was released in a deluxe Cracker Barrel-exclusive edition that featured live performances of her classic hits “9 To 5” and “Jolene” from the Glastonbury Festival, along with a 48-page ZinePak magazine filled with photos and interviews highlighting memorable stories from Parton. The collaboration is not part of any of the packages, however, is available for digital download through these vendors:

“Cracker Barrel is thrilled to have brought these two extraordinary talents together, Dolly Parton and Pentatonix, as part of our Spotlight Music Program for the exclusive collaboration of “Jolene." We share in the celebration of their GRAMMY Award win as they are both a special part of the Cracker Barrel family,” said Don Hoffman, VP of Marketing at Cracker Barrel.

CTK Management CEO Danny Nozell said, "The collaborative video produced by Cracker Barrel between Pentatonix and Dolly has been viewed over 22 million times and has now won a Grammy. Dolly proves, once again, that she is making music that the fans will respond to."

Parton's 2016's Pure & Simple North American Tour was the highest grossing tour of her career, performing over 60 shows.

Tags: Dolly PartonGrammyPure & SimpleTourAwardPentatonix

I Draw Slow Joins Compass Records Roster

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 21:07

Nashville, TN -- Compass Records is proud to announce the signing of Dublin-based roots band, I Draw Slow. Their combination of compelling songwriting, exuberant live performances and passion for tradition make I Draw Slow a perfect fit for Compass Records, a label with a long history of working with Irish artists within their diverse roster of roots music. I Draw Slow coaxes the past into the present with original songs that draw from the best of Irish storytelling and American folk music.

The band is fronted by siblings Dave (guitar) and Louise (vocals) Holden who have been writing together for two decades. In 2008 the pair teamed up with violinist Adrian Hart, clawhammer banjo player Colin Derham, and double bassist Konrad Liddy to form I Draw Slow.

Dave says, "We are delighted to sign with Compass Records for our new album. An Irish band that plays American folk music doesn't always make sense to everyone, but we feel right at home on their roster. Their relationships and reputation in the industry will help us tell our story and take us to the next level."

The band has played to audiences in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and performed at many North American festivals including MerleFest, Pickathon, Wintergrass, RockyGrass, Grey Fox, Red Wing, Edmonton Folk Fest, Sisters Folk Festival and Mountain Stage. It was their 2014 performace at MerleFest that first put the band on the radar for Compass co-founders Garry West and Alison Brown, who were impressed with the band's performance and the reaction from buyers in the MerleFest merch tent.

"First, we noticed how they got the crowd involved in what they were doing. Their energy is truly infectious," says West. "Then we noticed that their CDs and merchandise were flying off the shelves in the festival store. That kind of immediate response is always going to get our attention! But more than anything we've been impressed with the strength of the songwriting, the sibling harmony and the musical proficiency of the band. They are truly dedicated to their craft."

Building on the success of their previous album, White Wave Chapel, which reached # 2 on the Irish charts, the band was able to capitalize on their dedicated fanbase to completely crowd-fund their new album, Turn Your Face to the Sun, which is schedule to be released on April 21, 2017 on Compass Records.

Tags: I Draw SlowCompass RecordsLabel NewsBand Announcement

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree Names Sam Stout as New President

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 21:01

The Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree has a new President and Coordinator. Born in Gainesboro and raised in the Bloomington Springs Community of Putnam Co. Sam Stout was elected to the position at a meeting of Jamboree board on Thursday night, February 9. Stout succeeds Jack Barton, who resigned as Jamboree President and Coordinator on February 2, after a nine-year tenure.

Born to James and the late Birdie Stout, Sam Stout grew up in a musical family that included two older brothers. At the age of 9, Stout began playing guitar and soon picked up the mandolin, as well. After high school, Stout started playing in country bands, and soon began pursuing music as a full-time career. Among his musical accomplishments during that time was serving as an opening act for guitar legend Chet Atkins and well-known Nashville songwriter Dean Dillon, who penned several of George Strait's number-one hits. Stout also worked in Nashville in the recording industry as a demo singer, in hopes of landing a major recording contract.

After several years of struggling to make it in the country music industry, Stout returned to his first love, which was Bluegrass music. While holding down a full-time job, Stout started a Bluegrass band called Stoney Lonesome, which enjoyed a great deal of regional success. It was during this time Stout, along with Randall Clemons and Chris Neeley, launched the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour in Granville, TN. In the beginning, the Music Hour was covered by one small radio station in Thompkinsville, KY. Today, after nine years, the weekly show is now broadcast by 45 radio stations worldwide, including AM 650 WSM Radio in Nashville, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Professional and semi-professional bluegrass bands are featured on the weekly show, which also goes across both the state of Tennessee and all across the country on PBS stations.

Stout says his love for music – and the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree – runs deep. "I can never remember not being surrounded by music," he said. "My father, James, plays the Dobro. He actually was the one who first brought me to the Jamboree before I could even play an instrument. I love the Jamboree and what it stands for. It is a true Tennessee tradition."

Stout has competed in various Jamboree competitions in years past, but most recently, he has served as a member of the "Jamboree House Band," a position he will resign with his new responsibilities with the festival. Stout was elected to the Jamboree board on February 2, and expressed an interest in the position of President and Coordinator with the Jamboree upon Barton's resignation.

In addition to his passion for music, Stout - still resides in Bloomington Springs – and works as Realtor in the Upper Cumberland area.

Tags: Sam StoutSmithville Fiddlers' JamboreeFiddleBusiness

The Best Bluegrass Album is “Coming Home”

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 20:03

The 59th Grammy Awards took place Sunday night and some of our favorite awards were presented. The award of most interest to our readers is the Best Bluegrass Album. The coveted Gramophone trophy was awarded to the O'Connor Band with Mark O'Connor for their album, Coming Home released on Rounder Records. Other bands nominated for the award include Blue Highway for Original Traditional, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver for Burdern Bearer, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands for The Hazel And Alice Sessions, and Claire Lynch for North by South.

The O'Connor Band, the family band led by acclaimed musician and composer Mark O'Connor, has announced the release their debut album, Coming Home, August 5th of last year. Throughout the 12-song album, the O'Connor Band draws upon a deep well of talent and tradition to make music whose sonic and emotional appeal transcends time and genre, demonstrating an effortless rapport that underlines the group's family roots as well as its prestigious collective pedigree.

The O'Connor Band's diverse musical interests and stylistic backgrounds are reflected throughout Coming Home, which is centered on uplifting, smart, and exploratory original vocal songs. From the evocative rural songcraft of the title track and "Always Do," to the haunting storytelling and colorful imagery of "Blacktop Boy," to the incisiveness of "What Have I Been Saying," the band's originals draw largely upon the writing style of the top country writers of the '80s and '90s, which is refreshing in this acoustic context.

The album is complemented by Mark O'Connor's arrangements of several classics, including a breakneck rendition of "Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man," the Bill Monroe-penned "Jerusalem Ridge," and his memorable original composition, "Fiddler Going Home." While family bands are not uncommon - especially in roots music - it's rare to find one so versatile, and with such a captivating backstory.

Mark O'Connor is a former child prodigy and national champion on the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin; an award-winning musician and composer with many CMA Awards and Grammys to his name; and the author of a groundbreaking instructional method for strings. He has performed with hundreds of symphony orchestras around the world, and collaborated with a who's who of iconic artists over the years. Hailed by The New York Times as having followed "one of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music," O'Connor's career has been unique and inspiring.

In the O'Connor Band, Mark is joined by his wife Maggie (fiddle, vocals), his son Forrest (mandolin, vocals), and Forrest's partner, Kate Lee (fiddle, vocals), all of whom are highly regarded young musicians who already have years of professional experience under their belts.

Forrest O'Connor, a graduate of Harvard University and the former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion, met Kate Lee, a versatile vocalist, fiddler, and frequent performer on the Country Music Association Awards shows, in late 2013, and the two have been writing songs together ever since.

Kate Lee is an award-winning songwriter who has performed with some of the biggest names in country music, including Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill, Jennifer Nettles, and Rascal Flatts.

Maggie O'Connor, a Master's graduate of the Peabody Institute, is a highly accomplished violinist and fiddler, and has performed duos with Mark around the world, including with the Mendelssohn Orchestra of Hungary, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

The lineup is rounded out by national flatpick guitar champion Joe Smart on guitar, and University of Miami PhD candidate Geoff Saunders on bass and banjo. O'Connor remarks, "Joe's playing on Coming Home has to be one of the best bluegrass guitar performances of the year, and our co-producer, Gregg Field, praised Geoff as having the best bass sound he'd ever gotten on record. Pretty amazing stuff for players who haven't been on the scene that long yet!"

All of the nominated artists have won numerous awards throughout their musical careers so the competition was among some of the finest artists to wear the Bluegrass label. Congratulations to the O'Connor Family Band and to all the nominees who gave us such outstanding music last year.

Tags: O'Connor Family BandGrammyBest Bluegrass AlbumComing Home

ETSU Bluegrass Band at Carter Family Fold Feb 18

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 22:09

Hiltons, VA -- The Carter Family Fold will preset the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Bluegrass Band Saturday, February 18th. Bands with the ETSU Bluegrass and Country Music Program have performed at the Fold since the beginning of the program at ETSU in 1982. Daniel Boner and Roy Andrade now serve as the program's directors. The ETSU program has grown so popular that students travel from all over the world to study there. There are now nearly twenty different bands maintained by the program. ETSU's bands have performed in Japan, Belgium, and Russia. Some of the finest students the Bluegrass and Country Music Program has to offer will be performing with the ETSU Bluegrass Band as well as some of the program's professors. The ETSU Bluegrass Band puts tremendous energy and drive into every performance.

Colleen Trenwith, an ETSU Bluegrass Band instructor on fiddle harmony and individual guitar and fiddle instruction, will be heading up the group. Colleen is from New Zealand. She began her musical journey on classical violin at Trinity College in London and went on to perform with the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra for six years in the 1960s. In 1966, she was introduced to bluegrass, old time, and celtic music. She has played in various bands and has performed at both the Grand Ole Opry and the Bean Blossom Festival that honors Bill Monroe in Bean Blossom, Indiana. A fan of Kenny Baker's, she teaches many of his fiddle tunes and considers him to be one of the major innovators of the bluegrass fiddle style. After graduating from the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program at ETSU, she joined the faculty in 2010.

If you like traditional bluegrass, don't miss the ETSU Bluegrass Band. Their instrumental work is outstanding, and their vocals are unbelievable. Don't forget your dancing shoes, either. In addition to Colleen Trenwith, there will be some other fiddlers and lots of fine musicians from the ETSU program. Saturday, February 18th, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the ETSU Bluegrass Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. For more information, go to http://www.etsu.edu/cas/das/bluergrass.

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

Tags: ETSU BandCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Song of the Mountains is Virginia's New State TV Series

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 21:02
Marion, VA -- Virginia is for Lovers and the state loves Song of the Mountains a syndicated music television series taped in Marion and aired nation wide on PBS. The state House of Representatives and the Senate have siged a resolution making the program the state's TV Series.

Virginia has many state symbols including the state songs, state folklore center and others. Song of the Mountains joins the list of official symbols and icons. The program features music with roots in the Appalachian Mountains and includes artists of bluegrass, old-time, mountain and Americana. Many of the performers also are from the region giving the program a unique opportunity to showcase a major cultural element of Virginia's music. Fans are always welcomed to the taping sessions which usually take place at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.

In August or 2015, Song of the Mountains transitioned from the Lincoln Theatre to the newly formed Appalachian Music Heritage Foundation (AMH), a Marion-based non-profit corporation. The program continues following its same traditional programming as before and AMH continues to rent The Lincoln Theatre for the show and television production.

Per the resolution, Virginia House Bill (HB-1927), Song of the Mountains is carried on at least 150 stations in 29 states reaching 75 different television markets with a potential audience of 93 million viewers. The program has run for eleven broadcast seasons generating 228 hours of broadcast content. The program promotes and preserves the music, heritage, and culture of the Southwest region of Virginia. Song of the Mountains is the first nationwide television program featuring the Bluegrass music of Appalachia. The program was founded in 2003 as a monthly stage concert series hosted by the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.

The next program will take place Saturday, March 4, 2017 and will feature John Cowan with Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Terry Baucom's Dukes of Drive and The Dave Adkins Band.

Song of the Mountains® is produced through an unprecedented collaboration between The Appalachian Music Heritage Foundation®, UNC-TV, regional bluegrass and old-time musicians, and the generous contributions of loyal supporters. Upcoming performances and ticket purchases can be made at Song of the Mountains.

Tags: Song of the MountainsVirginiaPromotionBusiness

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice Invites You to Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 20:52

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice is excited to welcome fans to the band's home festival, the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival, held at Chantilly Farm in Floyd, Virginia on May 26-28.

Sisk and his band began a partnership with Chantilly Farm in 2013. Since then, the special events venue and campground has served as an official touring sponsor of the group. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice is based out of nearby Franklin County, Virginia, making Chantilly Farm a natural "home" festival for the band. The group has been a frequent performer at the festival in the past, and is looking forward to what this year's festival has to offer.

The festival will celebrate its seventh year in 2017, and will also expand its musical lineup into a third day for the first time. Full days of music are planned for both Friday (12 PM - 11 PM) and Saturday (11 AM - 11 PM), while Sunday will feature an afternoon of bluegrass Gospel music (12 PM- 5 PM). Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice will perform both Friday and Saturday, and will be joined by award-winning bluegrass favorites like The Steeldrivers, Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, Band of Ruhks, the Grascals, Lonesome River Band, and Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers.

RV and tent camping are available on the festival grounds, and numerous food vendors will be on site throughout the weekend. The festival also features additional activities for the whole family, including a corn-hole tournament, hiking trails, kite flying, children's activities, arts and crafts vendors, and more. Plenty of jamming opportunities are available for attendees, as well.

Advance tickets are available until May 25, and can be purchased from the Chantilly Farm website (www.chantillyfarm.com/wp//tickets) or by calling 540-808-4984.

For the full festival lineup, ticket prices, or more information, visit www.chantillyfarm.com/wp/bluegrass-festival or contact Chantilly Farm lead promoter Jason Gallimore at chantillyfarm@gmail.com.

Tags: Junior Sisk & Ramblers ChoiceChantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ FestivalEvent

Doyle Goes Undergound; Great Moments in Caving

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 23:20

February 25th, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver return to The Volcano Room with Jenni Lyn. Opening the 1 p.m. show. Doyle's been a longtime favorite here at Bluegrass Underground, always putting on a dependably great concert, backed by a variety of great young pickers and singers. Like Del McCoury or Larry Sparks, at 72, Doyle is too young to be part of the First Generation, but he came along not long after. At 18, The Tennessee native was picking banjo with Jimmy Martin, before going on to play guitar and mandolin with J.D. Crowe, including the legendary lineup that featured Red Allen. He joined the Country Gentlemen in 1971, forming the second great lineup of that band, before leaving in 1979 to lead his own group. He's also featured on the incredibly influential Bluegrass Album Band CDs and tours. Suggested listening - J.D. Crowe, Bluegrass Holiday; The Award-Winning Country Gentlemen; The Bluegrass Album Band Compact Disc (compilation); and Doyle's mandolin instrumental collection, Tennessee Dream.

But all that was before he formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, for 38 years and almost 40 albums, one of the great bands in bluegrass, with all the soul and power of traditional bluegrass propelled by a high energy progressive spin that keeps things fresh and vital. In short, simply great, timeless bluegrass.

But it's easy to take these kind of artists for granted. Back in the late '70s and early '80s, I played bass in Ohio with bluegrass bands led by Katie Laur, one of the first women in bluegrass to run her own group, as well as living legend Red Allen and The Allen Lilly Band featuring

Red's son Harley and banjo master Mike Lilly. So just about every summer weekend, from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s, I'd be at bluegrass festivals. And just about every week we'd get to see folks like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt, the Osbornes and other icons. Hard to believe now, but it was easy to take them for granted as well. "Yeah, there's Ralph doing his early-show festival set, Curly Ray Cline will put down the fiddle and start selling those keychains any second now." Well, needless to say, I would give anything to hear Ralph play some old-time clawhammer in the middle of his set; or see Keith Whitley singing with J.D. Crowe, or Bill Monroe with Kenny Baker on fiddle. I wish I could still buy one of those Curly Ray Cline keychains.

But we still have greats with us today and the time to see them is now. Doyle's still here, singing and picking as hot as ever and with a fashion sense - from bus to boots - that no one would have guessed at in the polyester '70s. Don't miss your chance to see Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Take my word, you'll be telling your grandkids how you saw him way back in 2017. And in a cave, to boot

The calendar says we're in mid-winter doldrums, but things are heating up fast down in the Volcano Room. The Cavers Almanac forecasted "more" for 2017, and that seems an accurate prediction. In fact, the Bluegrass Underground TV show now has two more Emmy Awards to its credit, taking golden statuettes for Entertainment and Technical Achievement at the Jan. 21 Midsouth Emmy Awards ceremonies in Nashville. That makes a total of 15 won by the TV production. But anyone associated with the show would happily tell you awards are the last reason we do this. There's something special about live music underground and just about everyone who has made his or her way down for a show probably has their own story of why it is so special. The TV show is just a great way to share it with a lot more people in a lot more places.

BGU Season VII goes before the cameras on March 24, 25 and 26 and we are all pretty excited about it. We're got serious bluegrass with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, featuring the great Josh Williams on guitar and vocals, as well as IBMA Award magnets Russell Moore &

IIIrd Tyme Out. For Americana lovers, we've got The Mavericks, Kasey Chambers, Parker Millsap and Marty Stuart leading his aptly named Fabulous Superlatives. It's a big list and includes beautiful Southern gospel harmony by The McCrary Sisters, some of my most absolutely favorite singers and people in this world, and Southern soul man Don Bryant, who recorded for the great Memphis label Hi Records, and who will lead the legendary Bo-Keys. There's much more, so you just have to check it all out here. As I write this, we only have a few seats left for sale, so I'll let you in on a secret: Yeah, they gave us all those Emmys for the TV show, but it's still a whole lot better in person. You've just got to come and get some of that cave dust on your shoes. And come September, when BGU VII starts airing, you'll appreciate the TV show even more. You might even make an on-screen appearance or two.

Tags: Doyle Lawson & QuicksilverBluegrass UndergroundVolcano RoomConcertEvent

Bluegrass Band Flatt Lonesome Captures Three Top SPBGMA Awards

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 21:24

Flatt Lonesome claimed three Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Awards on Sunday, February 5th during the association's annual program held in Nashville, Tennessee. The band took home SPBGMA's Vocal Group of the Year and Bluegrass Band of the Year (Overall), and Charli Robertson claimed Female Vocalist of the Year.

Despite being stricken with the flu over the course of the last two weeks, resulting in band member Kelsi Harrigill missing the events, Flatt Lonesome made multiple appearances during SPBGMA's four-day conference, including an awards performance and a show for the SamJam Official Showcase. Since the band's first ever performance was at this same event in 2011, SPBGMA has become a "homecoming" for them and their growing fanbase.

Although only in their sixth year of professional touring, Flatt Lonesome has already gained an impressive list of accolades that include the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) 2016 Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year for "You're The One," and Album of the Year Runaway Train. Flatt Lonesome is currently in the studio working on a new album for Mountain Home Music Company due for release later this year.

For more information on Flatt Lonesome including a complete list of upcoming performances, please visit www.FlattLonesome.com. The Cybergrass article on the awards, including the winners list, is available here.

Tags: Flatt LonesomeSPBGMAAwards

The Farm Hands Come up Big at SPBGMA

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 20:47

The Farm Hands and members of the band have won six awards at the 2017 SPBGMA conference in Nashville, TN this past weekend. At the 2016 SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, The Farm Hands collectively took home four awards. This followed up an incredible 2015 when they received one of the SPBGMA's highest honors, "Entertainer of the Year." They are one of the busiest touring bands in bluegrass, performing over 150 dates per year. For anyone who has seen them in concert, none of this comes as a surprise. The group features four award winning singers, musicians and songwriters: Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley, Keith Tew, and Don Hill.

At this year's 2017 SPGBMA awards, the band captured Bluegrass Album of the Year for Dig in the Dirt on Pinecastle Records. The band also captured the Gospel Group of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and Song of the year honors. Songwriter of the year was awarded to Daryl Mosely of the band and Tim Graves took home the trophy for Dobro Performer of the year.

The group is putting the finishing touches on their third Pinecastle album to be titled Colors. The Farm Hands are one of the most exciting and talked about band in Bluegrass Music. At this year's SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, the Farm Hands were named Entertainer of the Year and for a third consecutive year bluegrass music's Gospel Group of the Year!

Since their inception in 2010, they have received over 50 national awards and nominations. Their YouTube videos, Facebook, and Twitter pages have thousands of followers. They are one of the busiest touring bands in bluegrass, performing over 150 dates per year.

For anyone who has seen them in concert, none of this comes as a surprise. The Farm Hands are one of the most exciting and talented bands in bluegrass music. The group features 4 award winning singers, musicians and songwriters, including two long time veterans of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

Tags: The Farm HandsSPBGMAAwardsPinecastle

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