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Bluegrass SuperPickers, Flashback, to Release Debut Album in April

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 20:12
Flashback, newly signed to Pinecastle Records, plans an April 21 release for their debut album, Foxhounds and Fiddles. Made up of a gathering of super pickers and entertainers in Bluegrass, Flashback members are Phil Leadbetter, Don Rigsby, Richard Bennett and Curt Chapman.

Members of Flashback were all a part of the original band which toured with J.D. Crowe in the 1990’s. The name comes from the Grammy nominated album “Flashback” they released with Crowe in 1994. Leadbetter brought the group and Crowe together again in 2015, when he was releasing a solo album. They had so much fun, they decided to tour. Shortly after the tour started, Crowe decided to retire, but the band wanted to continue to play together. With Crowe’s blessing, they adopted the name Flashback, added Stuart Wyrick on banjo and baritone, and continued to play festivals and other venues. Shortly thereafter they decided to record an album.

“I approached Pinecastle, because they had released several CDs on me in the past,” Leadbetter explains. “They welcomed us as a group and began planning for our first release.”

Flashback talks about their debut album, Foxhounds and Fiddles from Pinecastle Records on Vimeo.

"Foxhounds and Fiddles really has something for every listener. It's not surprising since each of the guys have been out on their own creating their own experiences and careers over the past 20 years,” says Pinecastle’s Ethan Burkhardt. “What is surprising is the passion and zeal that each one of them exudes when they all get in a room together. It's as if they are back to being kids, getting the opportunity of a lifetime; playing with J.D. Crowe for the first time."

The first single, “The Foxhounds and Fiddles,” was written by band members Bennett and Rigsby. Leadbetter comments, “The song has great flow and fun solos. It will remind you of the way things used to be to those of who grew up in the country.”

Foxhounds and Fiddles has that J.D. Crowe feel, yet the band members have found their own individual sound, which comes from their numerous influences. While they reach back to record several standards, they also looked to band members and songwriting pals to find new songs that fit their style.

“This recording went down easier than anything I’ve ever been a part of,” says Leadbetter. “Everyone in the group is so excited about this album, and we’re all looking forward to see what the future holds.”

“Bluegrass Today” will host a series called “Flashback Fridays” beginning today (March 24), at which time they will unveil a new video from Flashback every Friday leading up to the release date on April 21. The videos can be seen on the website, https://bluegrasstoday.com/.

Foxhounds and Fiddles will be released on April 21. The CD can be pre-ordered here.

Tags: FlashbackCD ReleaseFoxhounds and FiddlesPinecastlePhil LeadbetterDon RigsbyRichard BennettCurt ChapmanJ.D. Crowe

The Mountains Are Calling Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice Home

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 20:03

WILLIS, Virginia—Mountain Fever Records is excited to announce the release of new music from Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. The Mountains Are Calling Me Home, Sisk's second album for Mountain Fever Records, is available everywhere today!

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 (Jamie Harper on fiddle, Jason Davis on banjo, Johnathan Dillon on mandolin and Kameron Keller on bass) and he has consistently delivered, this time with his new album, The Mountains Are Calling Me Home. 11 tracks strong of everything from soulful ballads to barn-burners to heart wrenching gospel, this album perfectly weaves the fabric that is Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice.

"The Mountains Are Calling Me Home is another excellent recording from Junior in the strength of the material and traditional style we've come to expect. He doesn't disappoint with songs that provide sound advice for meeting life's sometimes bumpy road, and tells us stories of relationships and teaching our children. Junior delivers with conviction and that just-right touch of emotion in his vocals." —Bob Webster, Bluegrass for Lunch

"Junior's latest release is destined to be another classic in a long and distinguished series of recordings from an artist who knows how to deliver a bluegrass song. And, does he deliver? Yes he does. Tie your shoes tight. Junior can knock off your socks." —Bob Mitchell, Best of Bluegrass

"The opening cut What Goes Around Comes Around is the plaintive wait for mountain karma, done with Junior's always present humor. The entire CD is filled with great vocals and solid tasteful picking by Ramblers Choice." —Steve Martin, Unreal Bluegrass

The Mountains Are Calling Me Home is now available to radio via AirPlay Direct or a direct digital download by emailing a request to radio@mountainfever.com. Consumers may purchase the album now via iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. For more information on the Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, visit www.juniorsisk.us. For more on Mountain Fever Records, visit www.mountainfever.com.

Tags: Junior Sisk & Ramblers ChoiceCD ReleaseThe Mountains Are Calling Me Home

New Band "Running Blind" for Kristi Stanley

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 22:45
On the brink of releasing her debut album with Union House Records, Kristi Stanley is proud to introduce the new band, Running Blind, that will be backing her on tour. Compiled from years of experience, high skill levels, and polished stage presence, there is no doubt that this group will do a fine job supporting Kristi's powerful vocals.

Born and raised in Pikeville, KY, Kristi Ison Stanley was brought up among a rich history of bluegrass and country music, immortalized along the famous Country Music Highway. From her upstairs bedroom, Kristi recalls spending hours singing along with the legendary Dolly Parton and dreaming of becoming a big star. She recorded her own renditions of Dolly's songs, singing them over and over again until every note was perfect and then garnered the nerve to let her parents listen in. It was her Mom that convinced Kristi that she was good enough to consider singing for a bigger audience.

Guitarist, as well as Kristi's band-leader, Randy Blevins of Kingsport, TN is a self- taught musician, coming from a musical family learning to play bass and guitar at an early age, he performed with his family in church and with several local bands. Randy is no stranger to the bluegrass circle, he has received awards in NC, VA, and TN, individually as a guitarist and in band competitions.

Mandolinist, Tommy Austin, played guitar and sang with his mother in church growing up in Fall Branch, TN. Tommy has played and recorded with several bands including; The Horsecreek Mountain Boys, Clear Creek, The Rising Wind, Limited Edition, Tennessee Skyline, and The Hopsons. The past several years, Tommy has played with his wife, Vickie, in Appalachian Trail. Tommy has traveled across the United States, as well as done tours in Ireland, Scotland, and England playing bluegrass. Also, contributing songwriting talents, Tommy has had songs recorded by artists such as Mark Newton, Josh Williams, and the Daughters of Bluegrass. Tommy's song, "A Christmas Tear" was chosen in the top three in the Chris Austin songwriting competition at Merlefest.

Bass Player, Vickie Austin began singing at an early age with her dad in church. At age 13, her parents bought her an upright piano for her birthday. She sang and recorded two gospel music projects with her sister and won several talent competitions throughout her teenage years, including Kingsport Idol, where she continued to help judge for many years following her first place win. In time, Vickie joined and recorded a bluegrass album with the Twin Springs Bluegrass Band, singing lead and playing upright bass. She and her husband, Tommy, have performed and recorded with the band Appalachian Trail for the past twelve years. Vickie has also recorded vocals and bass on some commercials, and has been a musical extra in the upcoming biographical movie about the original 1927 Carter Family recordings, "Born in Bristol". Along with vocals and bass, Vickie is also an accomplished songwriter and has had one of her songs reach the top ten in the International Bluegrass Music Awards songwriting competition.

Fiddle player, Ashley Davis is originally from Fayetteville, NC. Her parents encouraged her to pursue music, teaching her piano and guitar as a small child. Ashley enjoyed listening to Bluegrass on WQDR FM every Sunday night where she first heard Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. At age 13, Ashley taught herself fiddle and was mentored by Mr. Leslie Sandy, a former member of Bill Monroe's band, The Bluegrass Boys. By the time Ashley was 15 she was performing with the local bluegrass band in Fayetteville, Bill Jordan and Southern Bluegrass. Ashley has been a member of The Parsons band, Sweet Potato Pie, and the Tyler Williams Band. In 2007, Ashley recorded her first solo album, "Fiddlin' with Les," which is titled in honor of her musical mentor. She is currently studying for her Marketing degree at East Tennessee State University.

Resonator guitar player, Travis Houck began his musical journey as a young teenager in Chilhowie, Virginia when he first started performing with his family's gospel band. He attended East Tennessee State University to join their Bluegrass program where he toured with the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band while pursuing a bachelor's degree in Advertising. He also began touring with Barry Scott and Second Wind prior to graduating. In 2010, Travis was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the band's debut record, In God's Time. Travis was founding member of Monroeville for which he received the Horizon Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Travis currently resides in Sevierville Tennessee with his wife Amanda.

Banjo player, Chad Love is a third generation musician from East Tennessee and like many, he grew up playing music with his family. Chad is no stranger to holding down the banjo duties in a band having shared the stage with The Holston Mountain Boys, Darrell Webb, Wildfire, Broke Mountain Bluegrass, Hit & Run, Long Road Home, and The Duty Free Band.

The band, in it's entirety, can be enjoyed for the first time out tomorrow at the Bristol Spring Bluegrass Festival in Bristol VA. You don't want to miss this event! Promoters can reach out to Melanie Wilson at Wilson Pickins Promotions to book this amazing up and coming band.

Tags: Kristi StanleyRunning BlindBand Announcement

Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer at Carter Fold April 1st

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 21:32
Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, April 1st, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of old time music by Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer – the Unique Sound of the Mountains. If you ever saw Larry Sigmon and the Unique Sound of the Mountains, you know the sound was unlike anything you ever heard before. Over the course of more than ten albums and several years of performing, Larry Sigmon and his late partner Barbara Poole continuously brought the house down with a variety of fast-paced mountain music tunes fueled by Sigmon's high-speed claw hammer banjo picking and Poole's infectious "heartbeat" bass plucking. While there were several groups out there that could get you onto the dance floor, no old time band could wear out your clogging shoes faster than the Unique Sound of the Mountains.

Both Larry and Barbara played mountain music from childhood, learning their craft from their families while growing up surrounded by the rich musical heritage and scenic beauty of southern Virginia. Larry first learned to play guitar at the age of 15, and he eventually taught himself to play the banjo and breath harp. His father, fiddler Lewis Sigmon, also taught him how to perform classic dance songs in the true raw southern style. As for Barbara, she was playing her stand-up bass as early as age 13 in her brother Jimmy's band. Both musicians spent several years playing in other groups before they first jammed together at a local fiddlers' convention. The more the duo performed together, the more their audiences grew until Larry and Barbara decided to work together long-term, dubbing themselves the Unique Sound of the Mountains. That partnership continued and flourished until Barbara's death in 2008 after a long battle with cancer.

Throughout their partnership, Larry and Barbara battled loss and sickness but nonetheless remained dedicated to their music and their fan base and never missed a show. They played alongside the likes of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Grandpa Jones, Mac Wiseman, Jim & Jessie, Porter Wagner, Mike Snider, and Johnny and June Carter Cash. In 2002, Barbara performed with Johnny and June Carter Cash on June's final album, the critically acclaimed Wildwood Flower. Larry also had the prestige of taking part in workshops at the Tennessee Banjo Institute, where his skills were cherished by banjo players from across the country. In September 2005, the Unique Sound of the Mountains performed live on the Grand Ole Opry (a life-long dream of Barbara's), leaving their audience screaming for more as the curtain lowered.

Larry Sigmon and Barbara Poole were truly an American treasure, delighting fans who often drove hundreds of miles just for a chance to dance to their rollicking and unforgettable mountain music. Proud craftsmen who knew hundreds of both classic and obscure musical treasures, they often left audiences wondering how so many sounds can come out of only two people.

After Barbara's death, Larry stopped performing publicly. He and his wife Linda cared for Larry's father during an extended illness. Never able to find anyone who could play quite the way Barbara did, Larry wasn't sure he would play again. Enter Martha Spencer of the Whitetop Mountain Band. Martha grew up surrounded by music at her Whitetop Mountain home. Her parents are Emily and Thornton Spencer of the Whitetop Mountain Band. With a voice like an angel, she could easily sing in an angel band. There aren't many instruments she doesn't play – guitar, banjo, fiddle, and bass are examples. A world-class dancer, she's truly a born entertainer. Her infectious smile lights up the room, and audiences are spell-bound by her.

Martha personifies old time, mountain music. Her love for what she does is unmistakable, and it shines through clearly in every performance. Martha grew up playing on the stage of the Carter Family Fold. The Whitetop Mountain Band is one of only two or three bands still playing on the Fold stage today who were there performing 42 years ago when Janette Carter started music shows in the old A.P. Carter Store. At our 2015 annual festival in August, Larry came mostly to jam. When a series of accidents on the interstate prevented Big Country Bluegrass from taking the stage, Larry and Martha stepped up and brought the house down. As the Fold's director, I have rarely seen an audience react as our festival audience did. I was moved to tears, and they received at least four standing ovations. Since that time, they have played the Albert Hash Festival and several other shows.

The Fold could not be more excited to welcome anyone back than we are to welcome Larry and Martha as the Unique Sound of the Mountains.

Don't miss the Unique Sound of the Mountains at the Carter Fold. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. This will mark the fourth Fold performance for the new Unique Sound of the Mountains – Larry and Martha. No one knows more old time music than Larry Sigmon. Martha Spencer may be as close to that as it gets. It is an honor and a privilege for the Fold to welcome back the Unique Sound of the Mountains. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes. It's impossible to sit still when Larry and Martha hit the stage! For more information on the duo, check them out on the internet at https://www.facebook.com/uniquesoundofthemountains or look them up on YouTube.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org or http://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 upcoming shows at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Larry SigmonMartha SpencerCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

It is Necessary to Spend a Fortune Recording an Album?

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 21:12

Recently I have read comments by several artists regarding the high costs of recording an album today. All the engineers, the super expensive equipment, all the digital elementa, time and, of course the talent. This got me to thinking about some of the best albums that I own. Albums on Deutsche Grammophon, albums by extremely talented artists like Mike Oldfield and, all those wonderful albums from the '60s through the '80s.

I worked with, repaired and restored vintage tape decks by TEAC, Roberts, Akai, Ampex and a world of others. In the late '70s when you bought a TEAC A3340 open reel, you often also received an LP titled Home Made on TEAC which included a descriptive book in the album jacket. The album was an illustration of what could be achieved with a consumer grade 4 track 4 channel tape deck. The book described how each of the album tracks was created. When consumers bought these, they would frequently also acquire an 8 channel to 2 channel mixing board and, in rare cases 16 or 32 channels. That was it.

Now, when I go back and listen to those albums cut using this basic equipment of 40 years ago, I hear some outstanding works. Much of it would easily compete with works being produced today using a room full of modern digital equipment of 128 channels to digital recorders to effects that weren't even dreamed of years ago.

Is all this fancy equipment, multiple engineers, digital manipulation, and all really necessary or, it is just something to talk about? Recently, Michael Johnathon and WoodSongs Front Porch Association proved the point when he recorded the entire SongFarmer album using just an iPhone 6. Cybergrass ran an article on that achievement last year.

We have written numerous articles in the past about music losing its soul from over production. Even Emmylou Harris commented years ago that "we've lost that living room sound" in the music. Its sterile, mechanical, over polished and technically perfect however, in doing so, we've lost the essence of the music. The people element isn't sterile or perfect and that is being scrubbed clean in many instances today.

When bands of the '60s and '70s went in to do an album, many times it was all members playing together in one set and frequently in one take. Often there were not a dozen microphones perfectly arranged for each voice and instrument. Tracks were often not built one upon another during different sessions. But, somehow, the music that was produced was excellent. Much of it Grammy winning works that are still in the top even today.

Today, we also have a totally different listening audience. Today's music listener listens from a low powered digital device -- often their phone through a set of $5 ear buds. They don't listen to entire albums and, in fact, many today don't even buy the music they listen to. Music has become a disposable commodity streamed from various sources much like a radio station plays their songs.

With CD sales falling and consumers no longer desiring the media itself, recording sessions for full albums costing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, the poor listening environments and lack of attention while listening, it is no wonder that artists are asking, "Is it worth it?" Frequently, the answer is "No!"

But, rather than giving up on those expensive elements, what if we went back to a simpler time? What if we got rid of the fancy digital elements, special effects, plug-ins, pedals and such and went back to just the music, a few microphones, a simple board and a quality recording device? Would the consumer ever hear the difference? I seriously doubt it in most cases. Listening to much of the home-made audio crossing my desk these days, there isn't a big difference even when pumped through a 100 watt per channel amp with the DTRs and L100s being fully driven.

Tags: RecordingtechnologyEditorialOpinion

I Draw Slow to Release “Turn Your Face to the Sun”

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 21:32
Nashville, TN -- Dublin-based roots band, I Draw Slow will release their highly anticipated new album, Turn Your Face to the Sun on Compass Records April 21st. Their combination of infectious high-energy songs, exuberant performances and a passion for tradition come together on this album to create the band's most cohesive offering yet. Fronted by brother/sister songwriting team Dave (guitar/vocals) and Louise (vocals) Holden, I Draw Slow coaxes the past into the present with original tunes that draw from the best of Irish and American folk music.

Their break out track "Goldmine" from 2012's Redhills was fueled by an add to a prominent Spotify playlist and its 20s themed video succeeded in introducing the band to a North American audience. Since then, they've gone on to establish themselves as festival standouts at MerleFest, Pickathon, Wintergrass, RockyGrass, Grey Fox, Red Wing, Edmonton Folk Fest, Sisters Folk Festival, Mountain Stage and more.

Building on the success of Redhills, the band released White Wave Chapel in 2014, which reached # 2 on the Irish charts. As their touring and press response grew in the years following, the band decided to capitalize on their dedicated fanbase to completely crowd-fund their new album, Turn Your Face to the Sun, their most ambitious project to date featuring a more expansive sound and palette.

I Draw Slow is a five-piece outfit comprising vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo, and double bass. Holden siblings Dave and Louise are supported by violinist Adrian Hart, clawhammer banjo player Colin Derham, and double bassist Konrad Liddy. The quintet uses strings and vocals to create what has been described as a "fully natural evolution" (Bluegrass Today U.S.) of Americana/Appalachian music and Irish song writing.

Dave says, "We are delighted to sign with Compass Records. 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".

Turn Your Face to the Sun will be released April 21st in the U.S., and the rest of the world on May 12th.

Tags: I Draw SlowCD ReleaseTurn Your Face to the Sun

FreshGrass Announces First Wave Lineup for 2017

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 20:55

North Adams, MA FreshGrass, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's (MASS MoCA) 3-day festival of bluegrass and progressive roots music, announces the first round of bands for its upcoming September fest, with Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band with special guest David Grisman, Del & Dawg, The Wood Brothers, Bill Frisell: Harmony, Alison Brown, Son Little, The Brothers Comatose, Carrie Rodriguez, Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, Hackensaw Boys, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, The Suitcase Junket, Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally Band, and 2016 FreshGrass Award winners The Last Revel, Victor Furtado, Julian Pinelli, and The Page Turners. FreshGrass, to be held at MASS MoCA on September 15-17, 2017, features bluegrass traditionalists and innovators on four stages and in every nook and cranny of its 28-building, 16-acre campus. 2017's festival will be the first FreshGrass held since MASS MoCA's Building 6 — slated to open in May of this year — has been open, with an additional 120,000 sq. ft. of expanded galleries and performance space.

FreshGrass, a 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards nominee for "Event of the Year," is three days of concerts, pop-up performances, instrument and industry workshops, and a bounty of Berkshire harvest-season food and spirits. The event takes over the entire museum campus, including courtyards, galleries, grassy fields, bridges, and every place in between. Berklee College of Music's American Roots Music Program returns to lead workshops in which festival-goers fine-tune picking skills and learn from bluegrass veterans about the inner workings of songwriting, producing, and marketing music — events that often erupt in wild, rollicking jam sessions with festival-goers strumming alongside main-stage talent. FreshGrass-owned No Depression — the quarterly journal for roots music and online roots music authority — sets up an eponymous stage in the festival's inner courtyard, Compass Records brings its pop-up record store back to the center of the festival, and local luthiers demonstrate their craft.

"Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, two sets with Del & Dawg, and FreshGrass-favorites The Wood Brothers — and that's just for starters. FreshGrass consistently presents one of the liveliest and all-encompassing lineups of any music festival in the nation. Musical chops, songwriting innovation, community participation, great food and drink in a really beautiful arts complex... all that makes for a special weekend, and we are so proud to host this flagship event in North Adams," says MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson.

Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band with special guest David Grisman, Del & Dawg, Bill Frisell, The Wood Brothers, and Alison Brown Lead First Wave of 2017 FreshGrass Festival Lineup

The festival continues to nurture fresh takes on the tradition of bluegrass music with the growth of its FreshGrass Award, a music contest for unsigned talent judged by industry professionals, featuring up to $25,000 in cash prizes and recording time at Compass Records' studio in Nashville for the winners. New this year, in addition to the annual categories of band, banjo, and fiddle, is the No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award. Recognizing and rewarding up-and-coming roots music singer-songwriters from across the country and beyond, five Singer-Songwriter Award finalists will join 15 other finalists as they travel to the festival to perform in front of a live audience and a panel comprised of No Depression editors and artist judges. All finalists will perform throughout the weekend on pop-up stages and in the galleries, and Award winners in each of the four categories will earn a mainstage slot at the 2018 FreshGrass festival. The FreshGrass Award prizes are funded by the FreshGrass Foundation, whose mission is to promote, produce, and create innovative grassroots music and support emerging artists.

"Great music, strong community, preservation, and advancement will always be the guiding lights of FreshGrass," says festival producer Chris Wadsworth. "With the success of the FreshGrass commissions, FreshScores, Awards, and the addition of the No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award, we offer our audience a singular festival experience and access to truly innovative ideas in grassroots music. The FreshGrass family has really grown over the last five years With No Depression and this festival at its heart; we have gathered one of the largest and most vibrant roots music communities out there. And we still have a few tricks up our sleeves."

FreshScores, a film and live music event commissioned by the FreshGrass Foundation to pair original music with enlivened silent films, returns in September with new screenings and performances during the festival, with the lineup to be announced this spring. In addition to the Award, films, workshops, and the festival's legendary jam sessions — during which professional musicians pick and play among the crowd, many of whom bring their own instruments —festival events include camping (located a short distance from MASS MoCA's campus) and children's programming. Art is on view all weekend, as admission to MASS MoCA's galleries is included with every festival pass, and festival-goers enjoy dozens of pop-up concerts set among dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art.

Early bird 3-day adult tickets are now available for $105, with student tickets priced at $89, $46 for kids 6-16, and free admission for kids 5 and under. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount on festival ticket prices. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event, as space allows. FreshGround camping is on sale now for $90 and $120 for RV spots at Camp Aggie. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website, freshgrass.com. FreshGrass is held rain or shine.

FreshGrass is sponsored by The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, Compass Records, American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, and Circle Strings. Additional support is provided by Berkshire Gas as part of its ongoing music series at MASS MoCA.

FreshGrass is committed to preserving, supporting, and creating innovative grassroots music. The FreshGrass Foundation, which co-produces the festival with MASS MoCA, funds the FreshGrass Awards and FreshGrass Presents, creates new music through FreshScores and the FreshGrass Commission, and operates the No Depression Fellowship for writers. The foundation operates No Depression — the roots music authority both online and in print.

MASS MoCA is one of the world's liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today's most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA will nearly double its gallery space in spring 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and James Turrell.

Tags: FreshGrassLineupDel McCoury BandDel & DawgAlison BrownRob Ickes & Trey HensleyHackensaw Boys

Rebel Releases Albums from Big Country Bluegrass and Larry Sparks

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 21:12
Charlottesville, VA -- Rebel Records is excited to announce the release of two new albums: Big Country Bluegrass' Let Them Know I'm From Virginia and Larry Sparks' Lonesome And Blue: More Favorites.

Big Country Bluegrass has been making music for 30 years, and Let Them Know I'm From Virginia is a celebration of the band's commitment to—and love of—traditional bluegrass music. Founded by husband and wife Tommy and Teresa Sells, Big Country Bluegrass performed its first show in January 1987 and since that time has made many notable contributions to the bluegrass community. This recording, the band's fourth with Rebel Records, does the same!

Big Country Bluegrass is known for its hard-driving sound and fine selection of material. The group has had a long standing and fruitful relationship with songwriting legend Tom T. Hall and his late wife Dixie—a combination that has produced such hits as "The Boys in Hats and Ties," "I'm Putting on My Leaving Shoes" and "Bluefield West Virginia Blues," all cuts that have reached #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited's National Airplay Chart. This album features two more Tom T. & Dixie Hall originals, "The Old Crooked Trail" and "If I Ever Get Home," as well as songs by such fine writers as the late James King, Glenn Alford, Marvin Morrow, Tracy O'Connell and Eric Marshall, among others.

Let Them Know I'm From Virginia is available at County Sales, iTunes, Amazon or wherever fine bluegrass music is sold.

Larry Sparks is one of the most respected and beloved figures in bluegrass music. Beginning his career in the 1960s with the legendary Stanley Brothers and then Ralph Stanley, he has carved out his own path in the music with his fine voice, his unique bluesy style of guitar picking and his uncanny knack for finding great material.

Lonesome And Blue: More Favorites is a 14-track collection spanning Larry's 40 year relationship with Rebel Records. The album features many songs that have never seen the light of day on CD till now along with others that were introduced in the digital age but have been out of print in recent years. Seven different long-out-of-print albums (Dark Hollow, Best of Larry Sparks, Sings Hank Williams, Blue Sparks, Lonesome Guitar, Travelin' and Special Delivery) provide the pool of material from which these 14 classic songs were culled. Long time fans will be excited to get their hands on this material once again while new converts will be thrilled to dig even deeper into his extensive catalog. This is a superb collection of old favorites at a bargain price!

Lonesome And Blue: More Favorites is available at County Sales, iTunes, Amazon or wherever fine bluegrass music is sold.

Tags: Rebel RecordsBig Country BluegrassLarry SparksCD ReleaseLet Them Know I'm From VirginiaLonesome And Blue: More Favorites

Live At The Bottom Line Series Releases Ralph Stanley Project

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 19:56

Nashville, TN -- With the release of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ralph Stanley cemented his place as an American music legend. His iconic voice became the voice of the mountains, and the last fifteen years of his life and career proved to be a celebration of this, with Grammy Awards, all-star collaborations, and induction into the Grand Ole Opry. In a unique piece of musical history, the legacy of Ralph Stanley can be witnessed for posterity's sake with the release of Ralph Stanley: Live At The Bottom Line, available now at all physical and digital retailers. The release is distributed exclusively by BFD through RED distribution.

The live set, recorded at the legendary New York City nightspot on June 12, 2002, features many of Stanley's signature songs, including "Man of Constant Sorrow," "Pretty Polly," and "O Death," which opens the set. For such a prestigious performance, Stanley carried nothing but the best line-up of musicians with him, with Stuart Duncan (violin), Mike Compton (mandolin), James Shelton (guitar), Dennis Crouch (bass) all lending their award-winning talents to the night's performance.

The evening marked the only time that Stanley played the venue, but the singer was one of many Country / Bluegrass to showcase their talents at the Big Apple hotspot, with others including Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Doc Watson, and Emmylou Harris.

The album's executive producers are Allan Pepper & Stanley Snadowsky, and Bob Frank. Pepper, who was co-founder of The Bottom Line with Snadowsky, remains mindful of the impact a performance there had on the musical world.

"You could get the New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and The Daily News, and The New York Post, all covering your gig," he states. "And the record companies would get celebrities to come to the shows, so suddenly you see Andy Warhol coming to see Dolly Parton, and there's a picture and a big story about that. There was a buzz factor that played heavily into building this scene nationally. An artist could be on a morning or an evening news show, and could even do a live radio broadcast. In that way, New York was pretty big for the country music scene. Plus at our place, you could sit, and it was comfortable and intimate, and that was very important for getting the fans and press to come out. It was all part of the star-making machinery."

Ralph Stanley: Live At The Bottom Line is the first album released featuring the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor inductee since his passing in June 2016.

Ralph Stanley: Live At The Bottom Line Track Listing:

  1. "O Death" (2:20)
  2. "Band Introductions" (1:17)
  3. "Girl from the Greenbriar Shore" (3:36)
  4. "False-Hearted" (5:11)
  5. "Henry Lee" (4:38)
  6. "I'll Remember You Love, In My Prayers" (1:59)
  7. "Lift Him Up" (5:16)
  8. "Wild Bill Jones" (2:26)
  9. "Hemlocks & Primroses" (3:26)
  10. "Look On and Cry" (3:53)
  11. "Calling You" (3:56)
  12. "Pretty Polly" (4:10)
  13. "Great High Mountain" (4:43)
  14. "Man of Constant Sorrow" (4:24)
  15. "Amazing Grace" (4:15)

BFD (Bob Frank Distribution) was formed in 2013 as the distribution arm of BFE (Bob Frank Entertainment). BFD is a boutique audio and audio-visual distributor with sub-distribution arrangements with Sony / RED Distribution in North America, Essential Music in Europe and The Orchard throughout the world. BFD currently distributes over 30 companies with thousands of masters including Magna Carta, Blixstreet, Tesla, DPTV, Big Deal Records, Synergy Records, Virtual Label Group, A-Train Entertainment, The Atlantic Screen Group (Filmtrax), REMT, UFO as well as artist owned labels and catalogs such as Dale Watson, Dave Davies, Don Williams, Renaissance and Charlie Daniels.

Tags: Ralph StanleyRalph Stanley: Live At The Bottom LineCD Release

"Warning Signs" from Breaking Grass Released

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 19:47

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce the release of the brand new album from fan and radio favorites, Breaking Grass. Warning Signs is available everywhere today! Throughout history, Mississippi has been a mecca of fantastic music. From Delta Blues artists B.B. King and Muddy Waters, to country crooners Tammy Wynette and Conway Twitty, and those who've bridged the gap between country and bluegrass, Marty Stuart and Carl Jackson, it would seem there's something in the water down south that just breeds great talent. Such is the case with Booneville-based Breaking Grass. Consisting of Cody Farrar (guitar, lead vocals), Tyler White (fiddle), Britt Sheffield (bass, vocals), Zach Wooten (mandolin, vocals), and Jody Elmore (banjo, vocals), the band is uniquely different in that they comfortably fit within all the sub-genres of bluegrass, offering a wide range of original material, but with one foot planted firmly in tradition.

Warning Signs is the band's fourth album and the second for Mountain Fever Records. Comprised of 12 tracks, all written by Cody Farrar, the album perfectly delivers on energy and a youthful approach to a genre of music that is nearly a century old. "Warning Signs is the sound produced when a generation who has grown up during the full collision of folk, gospel, popular to cosmic country, metal, and blues creates a bluegrass album for today," writes Jordan Laney in the album's liner notes. "These guys capture and synthesize the energy and tone of bluegrass here and now by wielding these unmistakable influences into something all their own, and our own, too."

Warning Signs is now available to radio via AirPlay Direct or a direct digital download by emailing a request to radio@mountainfever.com. Consumers may purchase the album via iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. For more information on Breaking Grass and Warning Signs, please visit www.BreakingGrass.com or www.MountainFever.com.

With their fresh sound, original material, strong vocals and innovative musicianship, Breaking Grass is doing exactly what their name implies. Although not quite traditional, the music they present is without a doubt steeped in the timeless genre they grew up listening to. Comprised of Cody Farrar on guitar; Tyler White on fiddle; Jody Elmore on banjo; Zach Wooten on mandolin; and Britt Sheffield on bass; this innovative band formed with one goal in mind - to make music that all ages could enjoy.

Warning Signs Track List:

  1. "Cold Rain" (3:11)
  2. "Stay" (2:53)
  3. "Nobody Knows" (3:30)
  4. "Sweet Ava" (3:28)
  5. "Warning Signs" (3:04)
  6. "House of Cards" (3:17)
  7. "The One She Adored" (3:02)
  8. "Short Shorts" (3:26)
  9. "Annie" (3:14)
  10. "Taking And Giving" (4:16)
  11. "Waking Up With You" (3:05)
  12. "Faith Moved A Mountain" (2:34)
Tags: Breaking GrassCD ReleaseWarning Signs

IBMM Receives Large Donation from H. Conway Gandy Estate

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:47

Owensboro, KY - The International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM) is honored to accept an incredible archival donation from the estate of the late H. Conway Gandy, which includes his rare and extensive collection of bluegrass LPs, CDs, cassette tapes, books, and recorded radio shows.

Gandy was a lifetime member of IBMM and a founding member of the Colorado Bluegrass Society. A long-time bluegrass connoisseur with a passion for educating audiences on the history of the music, Gandy's wish was for his collection to be archived at the Museum for historical preservation and education.

"It is immensely rewarding to provide a home for the extensive collection of Conway Gandy," said Savannah Hall, IBMM archivist, "He was a dedicated bluegrass advocate, and we will provide that collection with the same dedication in its preservation with museum-quality humidity and temperature control, handling, and maintenance. It is my hope that we can provide this service to the beloved artifacts of the bluegrass community in the years to come. We have been, and always will be, a devoted home for bluegrassers and their objects alike."

The collection includes over 2200 CD's, hundreds of LPs, recorded shows and Studio EPs, cassette tapes, books, and printed materials ranging from 1957 to the present.

Gandy was a banjo player and bluegrass aficionado. He wrote and edited many articles about bluegrass musicians, and acquired an incredible library of bluegrass and folk music, which he meticulously cataloged.

As one of the founding members of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, Gandy brought big names in bluegrass to the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival. It wasn't until his retirement that he pursued his longtime dream of becoming a disc jockey; incorporating his love of history with his passion for old time country and bluegrass music. His shows focused on the roots of bluegrass music and its origins in other genres, including jazz and early country. Many of Gandy's recorded radio programs from his show, "Where It All Began," are featured in the collection.

"The Bluegrass Museum is pleased to have Conway Gandy's collection, and to honor him in the process," said Chris Joslin, IBMM Director, "the fact that this collection also includes an archive of his many radio shows is priceless."

The International Bluegrass Music Museum is a 501c3 non-profit located in Owensboro, Kentucky focused on gathering, preserving, exhibiting and disseminating the artifacts, history, collection and performance art of the global history of bluegrass music through an educational experience.

Formed in 1991, the IBMM is currently constructing a new building in downtown Owensboro, KY along the Ohio River. Just three blocks west of the current location, this new facility will double the museum's exhibit space and incorporate a 450 seat theater, an outdoor performance area, expanded research library, rooftop restaurant and much more.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumIBMMDonationEstate

Tim Stafford to Host Workshops in South Africa

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:43

Blue Highway's Tim Stafford announced today he will host an elaborate Songwriting and Flatpicking Workshop in January 2018 in South Africa as part of MSWIA - Music Safari Workshops in Africa. Madikwe Flatpick & Songwriting Workshop with Tim Stafford is a 10-day dream vacation, running from January 5-14, 2018. Shopping and cultural activities kick off the event, while daily schedules will combine Game Drives, Master Classes, and a Positive Critique Session, coupled with meals and accommodations at luxurious lodges. All Lodging, Meals, and Drinks are included. Enrollment is limited to 12 people.

Participants will arrive in South Africa on January 5, with the first official day starting on January 6 at the Lesedi Cultural Village, then on to Madikwe on January 7, 2018.

Key Information Links include:

MSWIA is a Music Safari company combining a dream African Safari with world-class musical instruction. Five-star accommodations are included at the most distinguished lodges in Africa, selected with luxury, privacy, and pristine scenic beauty in mind. Instructors are hand-picked from the world's top professional musicians, highly esteemed for both their extensive careers as professional performers and their reputations as skilled dynamic instructors, to ensure the most memorable workshop experience on earth. MSWIA is a new company founded by Johannesburg-based promoter Wiam Otto.

Grammy-winning Tim Stafford co-founded the 23-year strong powerhouse band Blue Highway, and is a gifted songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, producer, session musician, collegiate instructor, author, and former member of the world-renowned Alison Krauss and Union Station. Tim was awarded as 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year and 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year. He was also honored as 2015 Distinguished Alumnus in the Arts by the National Alumni Association of East Tennessee State University.

Stafford and Blue Highway are just coming off a 2017 GRAMMY Nomination for Best Bluegrass Album, and are currently riding high in the #1 spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart for March with the heralded Original Traditional.

Tags: Tim StaffordWorkshopsBlue HighwayEducation

Hee Haw Star Lulu Roman to Cut Bluegrass Album

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:57
Poor Mountain Records is proud to announce the signing of Lulu Roman to the label, and will release her first ever bluegrass album later this spring.

Still going strong at 70 years young, Roman is excited to add bluegrass to her performing repertoire, and will record a new project with Chosen Road as her band. In fact she will be accepting dates for bluegrass shows with Chosen Road throughout this year and beyond.

Many long time bluegrass fans will remember Lulu from her mostly comedic appearances on the hit tv show Hee Haw.

Lulu spoke recently with Rick Dollar from Radio Dog Productions where she discussed her plans for this new venture...

Jonathan Buckner with Chosen Road says that they are looking for a May release date for Lulu's new album,and anyone interested in booking her bluegrass show should contact them at 304-952-8863.

Tags: Lulu RomanHee HawRick DollarCD ReleasePoor Mountain Records

Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out at Carter Family Fold Saturday

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 21:06

Saturday, March 18th, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. This concert is part of the group's 25th anniversary tour and celebration – Tyme for 25. Playing music is the easy part," says Russell Moore with an ever-so-slightly rueful laugh looking back on more than thirty years of doing what he grew up wanting to do. "By the time we put this band together" - he's talking about IIIrd Tyme Out, his musical vehicle for over twenty-five years now - "I was realistic enough to know that bands come and go. Being able to stay together is the hurdle that everyone faces. So I didn't have a preconceived notion that someday I'd be celebrating twenty-five years with IIIrd Tyme Out - but I did feel like I would be playing music for the rest of my life."

As it turns out, while many bands have come and gone since that May in 1991, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have endured. In the process, they've managed to climb to the top not just once, but twice - winning a slew of IBMA vocal awards, including two Male Vocalist of the Year honors in the mid and late 1990s, then persevering through rough times to see Moore recapture the Male Vocalist trophy for three more years. Along the way, they've made a whole new generation of fans, and with the release of Timeless Hits From The Past... BLUEGRASSED for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and their latest self-produced album, It's About Time, the quintet are poised to deliver their distinctive kind of music more widely than ever. For Moore, it's been a long journey from his childhood Texas home. Raised in Pasadena, near Houston, he heard a lot of country music growing up - "I was five miles from Gilley's right during the Urban Cowboy craze," he notes - but it was bluegrass that really turned his head as he moved into his teen years. "Bluegrass was accessible," he recalls. "The bands, the musicians, they were so approachable - and even though we weren't in the bluegrass mainstream geographically, I was able to see artists like Bill Monroe, Larry Sparks, and the Lewis Family, and you could just be around them. That was intriguing to me."

Within a few years, Russell was playing mandolin in a regional band, and by the time he was in his early 20s, he had teamed up with a couple of like-minded youngsters to create the band Southern Connection, making the move to North Carolina to pursue bluegrass success - though it turned out that when he first found it, it was actually as a guitar-playing sideman. Joining Bluegrass Hall of Famer Doyle Lawson and his now legendary band, Quicksilver, Moore quickly found himself in the bluegrass forefront, remaining there with Lawson through six years and as many bluegrass and bluegrass gospel albums. And though his time with Doyle & Quicksilver barely overlapped the establishment of the IBMA's awards, Moore shared in the first of many to come when the group took home the Song Of The Year crystal in 1990 for "The Little Mountain Church House."

Still, a desire to make his own mark impelled Russell - along with bandmates Mike Hartgrove and Ray Deaton - to take the bold step of creating their own group in 1991. Taking the name IIIrd Tyme Out - a reference to the number of professional bands they'd already been in, complete with a memorable twist on spelling - the group hit the ground running, releasing three well-received albums on the venerable Rebel Records label in just four years. "We weren't immune from the same things that any other band starting up has to endure," Moore recalls. "You have to prove yourself - you have to let people know that you're sincere, and that you're going to work hard. But once we were able to get enough show dates that we didn't have to have day jobs, we felt pretty good that as long as we continued to work hard, put the music out that we knew we were capable of, be personable and humble and appreciative - we felt that we could continue on if we chose to."

And continue on they did. In 1994, the group earned the first of an unsurpassed seven consecutive IBMA awards for Vocal Group of the Year, along with their first Male Vocalist of the Year title for Russell. For the remainder of the decade and into the new century, IIIrd Tyme Out was among the most important acts in the field, earning acclaim for the compelling artistry - especially vocal - they brought both to a string of well-received albums and to stages across the United States. Yet all was not well within the group, and in the early part of the new century, partnership tensions and personnel instability came to a head - and with them, the very real possibility of an end to the group. It was at that point that Russell Moore stepped up. "I was stubborn," he says with a smile. "I knew there was a lot that could be done with this group, and I was stubborn enough to say, I have put too much into this to let it just get away. So when everything came down to it, I knew that it was time. I could have started something brand new, but I would have had to give up everything that we had worked for. So I decided to stick it out. I kept hoping that everyone would start pulling in the same direction - and I kept praying, too."

With Moore in charge - and with his name now fronting the group, recognizing both his new leadership role and the group's single biggest musical focus - IIIrd Tyme Out began to rebuild. Signing with Rural Rhythm Records in 2007, the quintet solidified a new lineup, and the 2009 release of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, with its' hit single, "Hard Rock Mountain Prison," paved the way for Moore to take another Male Vocalist honor in 2010. Prime Tyme and its irresistibly catchy tune "Pretty Little Girl From Galax" followed in 2011, as did another Male Vocalist trophy, and Moore was called to the stage yet again at 2012's IBMA awards to accept further recognition of his preeminence as a singer.

IIIrd Tyme Out is hardly a one-man show, even with a frontman as spectacular as Moore. Wayne Benson, who joined the band over 20 years ago - just in time for the aptly titled Grandpa's Mandolin - and stayed for nearly a decade before taking a job with the John Cowan Band, returned in 2007; his tasteful, influential approach to the mandolin is a focal point of the group's instrumental prowess even as he continues to contribute in the vocal department. Behind him comes fiddler Justen Haynes; a member for over a decade, he's a second-generation bluegrasser who's earned the admiration of peers and fans alike for his supple melodic lines and tasteful vocal support.

Joining the veterans are two new members who, Moore says, have fit quickly and easily into IIIrd Tyme Out's signature sound. Keith McKinnon, who served memorable stints with his brother Kevin in singer Carrie Hassler's band and in their own Still-House, takes over on the banjo slot and Jerry Cole, a six-year member of the legendary group Pine Mountain Railroad, and a self-proclaimed Russell Moore fan, is the new bass player. Both men will also contribute to the group's award-winning harmonies. "As a band," Russell notes, "it's sometimes important to reinvent yourselves, your music and your show, to keep things exciting and fans engaged. Quite often a band member change can be the spark that lights that creative fire. I know the feel and excitement of being a new member of an established band, dating back to my days when I joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and it's great to see and feel that same excitement from Keith and Jerry."

The quintet's Cracker Barrel Old Country Store release, Timeless Hits From The Past...BLUEGRASSED, made Billboard's Top Five Best-Selling Bluegrass Albums of 2013. The success of that album, which was released separately from an established bluegrass record label, gave Moore the idea to release the band's next album on his own. So he started Break A String Records and released their latest album, It's About Tyme in September 2015. Recorded at Zac Brown's Southern Ground Studio in Nashville, TN, the album has been a record-breaking, career milestone for Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. To date, it's produced three #1 Hits; "Brown County Red," "CottonTown," and the Moore original, "I'm Leaving You And Fort Worth Too." And the album debuted at #2 on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top Fifteen Albums chart in November 2015 - then climbed to #1 in December 2015 where it lived for five consecutive months - a first for the band.

Add it all up, and the future is looking very bright for Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Indeed, if one measure of success is the degree to which younger and newer musicians look to a group for inspiration, then IIIrd Tyme Out is about as successful as any bluegrass group can be, for a whole generation of young pickers and singers can be heard across the country trying their hand at IIIrd Tyme Out classics. "It's one of the greatest compliments you could ever have," Moore acknowledges. "It's humbling to know that they think that much of what we're doing - and sometimes it makes you think wow, we really are making a difference. People are taking notice. All the awards, all the recognition, those things are just by-products of doing what we love to do - and of having everybody pulling in the same direction. So to get them is a little overwhelming, sometimes. But when you know that somebody else out there is getting something from you because of your music, well, that's the thing about music that got me into it - just the love of the music, and the way it made me feel. It always has been therapeutic, and it still is—and you can't ask for more than that."

Don't miss Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out at the Carter Family Fold. Admission to the concert is $15 for adults, with children 10 and under free. This will be their second performance. Their first at the Fold was part of Clinch Mountain Music Fest several years ago. The Fold is honored and extremely proud to welcome Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out back. For more information on them go to http://iiirdtymeout.com/www/.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. The Center is a family-friendly, alcohol and drug free venue. For further information on the center, go to our web sites at http://www.carterfamilyfold.org or http://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: Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutIIIrd Tyme OutCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

New Single from Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 20:09

Xenia, OH -- Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers are pleased to announce the release of a second single from their critically acclaimed album, Sacred Memories. The title track features special guests Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White Skaggs, and is the latest focus track for radio programmers.

The album was initially released last spring and instantly reached the #5 on Billboard's Top Selling Bluegrass Albums chart (May 2016), becoming a huge hit with bluegrass and gospel music fans. The first single, "All Dressed Up," was so well received that it won the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for 2016 and is still in the Top 10 nationwide despite being released over a year ago. Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers and Rebel Records are excited to followup that success with a second single, the title track, "Sacred Memories."

"I am so thankful that our band's second, all gospel recording has been so well received," says Mullins. "My faith runs even deeper than my lifelong love of quality Bluegrass gospel songs and recordings. So when we select songs and produce a gospel album, we hope the music will be 'soul food' for sure! I think something soul-stirring can be accomplished when Dolly Parton writes a sacred song and Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White Skaggs help sing it. Dolly put this song together in the 1970's and it was the flip side of a hit single. The song was perfect for a collaboration and needed male and female voices. Ricky and Sharon have been dear friends and mentors for me in so many ways, and they always sing from the heart. So I sing the first verse, then Ricky and I sing a duet. Ricky and Sharon each sing a verse and lead the quartet when Radio Ramblers' Mike Terry and Randy Barnes join them. We really go to church when we create an entire choir, with Charli Robertson and Kelsi Harrigill of Flatt Lonesome, adding harmony with all the Radio Ramblers and the Skaggs'! Hallelujah!"

"Sacred Memories" as well as the entire album are available to radio programmers via AirplayDirect and to consumers for digital download at iTunes and Amazon. For more information on Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers including upcoming performances, please visit www.radioramblers.com.

No matter the source, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers always put their distinctive stamp on a song, making it at once their own and a part of the chain of tradition that lies at the heart of bluegrass. JMRR's professionalism and successful, heavily played recordings have kept them in demand with a national audience. Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have been seen by thousands of fans across the continent through performances at a vast array of venues including the National Folk Festival, Bluegrass Underground, Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman, and regular guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Mullins' is a favorite broadcaster in Bluegrass, on radio over 30 years in the Midwest. He also hosts "Front Porch Fellowship," syndicated on air each week in 30 states and Canada to over 200 radio stations and to thousands of internet listeners.

Tags: Joe Mullins & The Radio RamblersSingleSacred Memories

Dailey & Vincent Inducted into Grand Ole Opry

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 21:01

Nashville, TN -- Multi-GRAMMY® nominees and three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year Dailey & Vincent were formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry last night by Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show and Jeannie Seely. The duo had been invited to join the Opry by Marty Stuart during their 100th Opry appearance in December.

Seely, who will celebrate 50 years of Opry membership later this year, presented an Opry Member Award to Jamie Dailey, while Old Crow lead singer Ketch Secor did the same for Darrin Vincent.

“I had the honor of introducing Dailey & Vincent for their first Opry appearance,” Seely began. “I thought to myself that night, ‘I hope one day I get to see them become members of the Opry one day because they epitomize everything the Opry is on stage and off.’”

“They honor the traditions and respect their elders, but most of all they entertain,” Secor said. “Tonight they join the ranks of country music’s greatest entertainers. … Welcome Dailey & Vincent to the first family of country music.”

“We love the Grand Ole Opry. It’s in our DNA,” Dailey said as he and Vincent recognized family, friends, their band, and members of their organization who’d helped make the night possible. The duo closed their Opry segment with “I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You,” a hit by one of their musical heroes, The Statler Brothers.

“We are very excited to welcome Dailey & Vincent into the fold,” said Opry General Manager Sally Williams. “Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent have been proclaimed the best in their field across the board, winning awards and media acclaim for their songs, their musicianship, and their one-of-a-kind live performances. Over the past 10 years and more than 100 Opry visits, they’ve brought crowds to their feet both with country, bluegrass, and gospel standards as well as their brand new material. We look forward to Dailey & Vincent being active, beloved Opry members as the Opry looks toward the century mark and beyond.”

Among artists scheduled to play the Opry later this month are Opry members Charlie Daniels Band, Del McCoury Band, Rascal Flatts, and Carrie Underwood, along with special guests Brandy Clark, Chris Janson, The Mavericks, and Scotty McCreery. Opry Country Classics continues throughout the spring at the Ryman Auditorium with upcoming Spotlight Artist appearances by Brenda Lee, Lorrie Morgan, Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, and more.

Five-time GRAMMY® award winners individually, three-time GRAMMY® award nominees collectively, four-time DOVE Award winners, and winners of 35 IBMA Awards altogether (including 3-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award winners and 3-Time Vocal Group of the Year Award winners), Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, backed by one of the best bands on tour today, are some of the most reputable and elite entertainers in American music; bluegrass, traditional country and gospel music. The concoction of the fantastically instinctive vocal blends of Dailey’s tenor and Vincent’s reedy harmonies has gained them well-deserved praise for their own distinctive style and worldwide recognition as American Music gold. Dailey & Vincent has garnered world-wide attention with their first national, top-rated television series, “The Dailey & Vincent Show,” on RFD TV and over 500 airings of their PBS special “Dailey & Vincent ALIVE - In Concert.” Their most recent CD, Dailey & Vincent ALIVE, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and remained at the top position for over 15 weeks. For more information, visit daileyandvincent.com.

The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Humana®. Opry performances are held every Friday and Saturday of the year, and Tuesday Night Opry shows will return February 14, 2017. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit opry.com. The Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn. Marking more than nine decades of entertainment, the Opry can be heard at www.opry.com and www.wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP). For more information, visit www.opry.com.

Tags: Dailey & VincentGrand Ole OpryInduction

Nu-Blu to Release “Vagabonds” April 28th

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 18:38

Nashville, TN -- Bluegrass/Americana breakout stars Nu-Blu are gearing up for the release of their upcoming project, Vagabonds. The album will serve as the award winning band’s sixth studio album, and is set for release on April 28. The album is fueled by the latest lead single, “Still Small Voice” featuring Country Music Hall of Fame Statler Brothers member Jimmy Fortune. The project will be released via Voxhall Records, and made available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever music is sold.

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

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

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

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

Vagabonds Track Listing:

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

You can learn more at www.nu-blu.com

Tags: Nu-BluCD ReleaseVagabonds

Dave Adkins Trio Releases Single from New Album

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 18:32

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is happy to announce the release of new music from Dave Adkins. Adkins' latest offering is an all-gospel trio release with the first single, "House Of Gold" available to radio and consumers today. Turn To Jesus will be available April 7th.

If you've ever met Dave Adkins, you might find yourself surprised to find the larger-than-life persona on stage is exactly that off stage, as well. He's a powerhouse of talent and his vocals, songwriting, and excitable stage presence simply astound audiences, drawing them in almost instantaneously within the first few moments of a live performance experience. New fans of his music soon learn that behind Adkins' immeasurable talent is a heart of gold, sincere in his approach to his music and with his fans.

Since signing with Mountain Fever Records, Adkins has released three projects, including two solo records, all achieving much success with fans, reviewers, and radio programmers. His latest self-titled album produced four charting singles including "Change Her Mind" which has been on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs for over 10 months.

Last year, Adkins partnered with two close friends, Richie Rose and David Taylor to sing in a small local church. The result was something even Adkins could not have predicted. A cell-phone video of the stripped-down, guitar and vocals-only performance, was posted on social media and captured the attention and hearts of so many, that the demand for more suddenly became very apparent. And thus, the Dave Adkins Trio was born.

The trio's first album, Turn To Jesus, will release April 7th. The first single, and the song that was the catalyst for it all, "House of Gold," is available to radio and consumers today. Radio programmers may download the single via AirPlay Direct or a digital download by emailing a request to radio@MountainFever.com. Consumers may pre-order the album now and will receive an instant download of "House Of Gold." For more information on Dave Adkins and the Dave Adkins Trio, visit www.DaveAdkinsMusic.com. For more on Mountain Fever Records, visit www.MountainFever.com.

Tags: Dave AdkinsDave Adkins TrioCD ReleaseTurn to JesusSingleHouse of Gold

Ken Irwin Honored with "Iconic Innovator" Award

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 20:47

Nashville, TN -- AirPlay Direct is honored to announce that Ken Irwin, Co-Founder of Rounder Records, has been honored with AirPlay Direct's "Iconic Innovators" Award - 2017. AirPlay Direct's "Iconic Innovators" Award honors the visionaries who have openly embraced digital innovation in the music industry. The AirPlay Direct "Iconic Innovators" Award is presented annually to the member of AirPlay Direct that has proven vision and best executes upon the opportunities that digital innovation in the music industry has and continues to create.

"Ken is a very unique combination of savvy business man and artist; a true music impresario'," stated Lynda Weingartz, CEO - AirPlay Direct. "His accomplishments and awards speak for themselves; and the man that Ken is. We look forward with great anticipation to our continued successes and creative future with Ken and Rounder Records."

As an integral component to the "Iconic Innovators" Award, AirPlay Direct is honoring Mr. Irwin with a $50,000 AirPlay Direct "Marketing & Awareness" Campaign to accelerate his on-going brand development and global radio distribution footprint for Rounder Records new releases and catalog.

"It is truly an honor to be receiving this recognition from AirPlay Direct. I've recently enjoyed working with Lynda and Robert on two of their showcases and always appreciated their love and respect for catalog titles," stated Ken Irwin. "Receiving this prestigious award will enable and encourage me to go back through our catalog of over 4000 albums, and select some of my personal favorites, which might not have received attention from radio when they came out or which might be new to those in radio today."

Irwin further adds, "I've always enjoyed sharing quality music with others and this is a great opportunity to do so on a large scale. I' m looking forward to working with Lynda and Robert over the next year and hopefully introducing some music to radio and beyond which will touch people in the way that these artists and their music have touched me."

About Ken Irwin: In 1970, Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton Levy started Rounder Records, with the simultaneous release of albums by old-time banjo player George Pegram and young old-timey Cambridge stringband the Spark Gap Wonder Boys. With such modest beginnings and equally humble goals, Rounder started to build up its catalogue, documenting what one reviewer of that period referred to as "roots music and its contemporary offshoots."

Irwin was actively involved in signing and discovering new artists. He was responsible for signing previously unsung talents as Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Mark O'Connor, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, George Thorogood, Buckwheat Zydeco, and, more recently, The SteelDrivers, Sierra Hull, JD McPherson, the Time Jumpers and the Lonely Heartstring Band among others.

Although he has produced and facilitated recordings by artists ranging from Cajun legend D.L. Menard to rockabilly human jukebox Sleepy LaBeef, Irwin works most often with bluegrass artists, in pre-production, recording, and mastering -- or some combination thereof. Among the bluegrass and old-time artists he has worked with are Hazel Dickens, James King, Del McCoury, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Longview and many more.

He also helped to raise awareness of bluegrass's first generation, producing and licensing a series of crucial reissues by some of the music's legendary early figures, including Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, Jim & Jesse, Flatt & Scruggs, and others -- keeping this essential music in print when few other labels did so. Irwin has also created many illuminating and best-selling compilations drawn from Rounder's archive of over 3,000 albums, among them the remarkable O, Sister: A Women's Bluegrass Collection (which doubled as a document of Rounder's extensive efforts to promote female bluegrass musicians), Blue Trail of Sorrow, and Bluegrass #1s. Outside of bluegrass, Irwin has been involved with producing a string of Grammy-winning polka records with bandleader Jimmy Sturr.

AirPlay Direct is the premiere digital delivery / distribution company, brand and platform for engaging radio and airplay worldwide. AirPlay Direct is a professional B2B music business environment for artists, labels, publishing companies, radio promotion firms, PR / Media firms, etc.

AirPlay Direct currently has over 10,000 radio station members in 92 countries. AirPlay Direct also serves over 40,000 artist / label members globally on a daily basis. AirPlay Direct currently operates and services the largest global independent radio distribution network in the world with respect to Americana, Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Alt. Country, Roots Music, etc.

Collective Evolution is a boutique, high-end entertainment and media consulting firm. Our clients include recording artists, record labels, record producers, management companies and radio promotion / PR firms. We deliver creative consultative services and customized business solutions to our clients based upon their specific needs and goals.

Tags: Ken IrwinAirPlay DirectAwardIconic Innovators Award

Noam Pikelny's "Universal Favorite" Released

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 19:03

Nashville, TN -- Universal Favorite, the fourth solo album by renowned Punch Brothers banjoist Noam Pikelny, was released today. While Pikelny, a seven-time Grammy nominee best known for his work as a founding member of Punch Brothers, has three previous solo efforts, Universal Favorite is truly his solo debut.

The new release features only the man himself, recorded live in the studio without accompaniment, coaxing a wide array of sounds and colors out of a variety of instruments, and for the very first time, he also sings, revealing a resonant baritone that conveys humor and melancholy in equal measure.

Noam announced the release of his new project commenting,

Noam, here, with some news that will surely change your life.
 
I'm thrilled to announce that my new album, Universal Favorite, is no longer available for pre-order! Translation: My record has finally been released. It is now available for purchase at large corporate retailers such as The Official Noam Pikelny web store but it can also be found at your favorite mom-and-pop streaming services.
 
I kicked off the tour last night in Bellingham, WA and will be stopping in 27 other non-Bellingham cities over the next five weeks. Next week, I’m in Colorado with special guest Courtney Hartman opening the shows in Denver, Beaver Creek and Aspen. I'm tickled to finally return to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Alas, there are just too many shows to call out individually. Can we agree that the concert listed below that is closest to you is by far the most important and deserves your most immediate action?
 
Rather than continuing on with more of my life story, I’m going to keep this email brief and instead point you to a short film I made that essentially tells my Entire life story and offers some insight into the record making process behind Universal Favorite:

Pikelny, the recipient of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo, calls Universal Favorite "my musical manifesto. It's the most personal statement I've put forward. The setting couldn't be more stark, and I think it lays bare my musical core. At times it's autobiographical, as these songs I gathered illuminate the path I've traveled so far. Most importantly, it's an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me."

Universal Favorite also marks Pikelny's debut as a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to his 1941 Gibson Banjo, Pikelny plays a carefully chosen assortment of vintage and exotic instruments that includes a four-string resophonic guitar from 1928, a 1953 Telecaster, and a 1938 Kalamazoo flat-top guitar. An obsessive collector of vintage instruments, Pikelny is fascinated by the insights they provide into bygone days-the way these objects connect the present with the past.

The album is receiving great review from across the acoustical music spectrum.

"In a genre filled with top-notch pickers, Pikelny is a truly stunning instrumentalist. This isn't your grandpa's banjo album...the track list reaches far beyond the old-school roots of bluegrass and folk." Andrew Leahey, Rolling Stone Country

"A purely solo/unaccompanied work that stands firmly on the stunning abilities and eclectic tastes of one of the undisputed contemporary masters of the banjo." Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter

"The heart of the album, though, is its original tunes, on which Pikelny's delicate fingerwork generates gorgeous webs of sound that are sometimes brittle, sometimes glowing...the performances feel more fragile, heartfelt, and honest than anything he's previously done on his own." Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

"Pikelny's new album delivers true banjo artistry, a big canvas with colors from a broad palette, executed by a master." John McEuen, founding member, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, writing in Elmore Magazine

"Pikelny's distinctive baritone and varied instrumentation allow each track, including the album's four cover songs, to take on a vulnerable, deeply personal quality. His voice is particularly haunting on the rendition of Josh Ritter's "Folk Bloodbath," a gothic tale of three folk singers' ends." Dacey Orr, Garden & Gun

"Listening to Noam Pikelny's new album, Universal Favorite, is almost a cinematic experience. The notes that float and fly out of Mr. Pikelny's instrument seem to catch and reflect light as they move past, making way for the next series of notes, while ultimately gathering to form unforgettable aural landscapes." Gregory Victor, Parcbench

Tags: Noam PikelnyCD ReleaseUniversal Favorite

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